For many of us February 14th marks Valentine’s Day – the day to remember and be with someone special. For cycling fans; this year also marks the 15th anniversary of Marco Pantani’s death – a spectacular and controversial rider still loved by thousands of fans today. Ale Federico was one of these fans, and remembers that day his hero started to fall...
The roads, fields and forests of France that are today the perfect picnic spot to set up camp and awaiting passage of the world's greatest cycling race, were once fields of fire where killing the enemy was the only thing that mattered. As time claims the last survivors of the Wars and rob us of their living memories, remembrance of the sacrifices of those thousands is even more important.
The Dutch are pretty protective of their only classic - the Amstel Gold Race - of the first 21 editions the home nation took 11 wins. But in 1987 it took three of Holland’s finest riders to stop a handsome, blond 25-year-old from Sheffield taking the honours across the North Sea to England.
"If there had been the Poggio back then, they wouldn't have seen me until the finish!" So says Brian Robinson, who in 1957, became the first English-speaker to stand on the podium of the Primavera. But for the cycling politics of the time, Robinson might well have pre-dated Tom Simpson as the first Englishman to win this legendary race, but let's go back to '57 and hear it from Brian.
The experience of Saturday’s traditional Classics season opener of Milano-SanRemo is never complete without soaking in the history that makes ‘the Sanremo’ a cycling monument. Three hundred kms from Milan to San Remo, passing so many points on the corsa integral to its life… Although no longer decisive in the outcome, the Passo del Turchino remains key to the heart of this race…
The squat man on the Pinarello monocoque is fastest, no question, there are only a couple of hundred metres to go past the palm trees on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. It’s the 1998 Giro d’Italia prologue, seven kilometres out and back, pan-flat, nothing technical; just the light breeze off the sea and the lactic burn to worry about.
Come la vediamo un poco tutti… The Milano Sanremo is not a common race. It’s something different from any other one and this fact has not really an explanation just looking to her superficially. It’s not the oldest. It’s not the hardest. It’s not for sure the most interesting. The route is nothing special.
‘La Doyenne’, a French term of respect meaning, ‘oldest member’ – it’s how we refer to Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the oldest of the five ‘monuments’ in cycling. First run in 1894 the roll of honour reads like a ‘who’s who’ of cycling – Ferdi Kubler, Rik van Looy, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Moreno Argentin, Michele Bartoli and of course Eddy Merckx.
Sean Kelly... “has been Pez'd!! I spoke to him this lunch-time, and he was cool. Like a budgie with 2 beaks in fact, as he talked virtually non-stop for 45 minutes!!” So read the email from Gord after connecting with the great Irish cyclist. In Part 1 we asked Sean about his getting started with his early career, and how he sums up today’s top pros…