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Showing posts from November, 2010

Joaquim Agostinho. A soldier's story.

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I live right smack in the middle of a Portugese-American community.  My wife is the proud granddaughter of hard-working Portugese emigrants, and I've been happily assimilated into a fantastic and very close Portugese family.

Soccer (Futbol) is embedded into the local sports culture in these parts... you see Sporting Lisbon stickers on cars, and green-white hooped replica shirts on the faithful of all ages.  A nice bonus is RTP International on cable TV.  In August, just when post-Tour withdrawl syndrome is at it's maximum, I can detox gradually by recording daily multi-hour live stage coverage of the Volta a Portugal - a perfect antidote for Post-Tour-TV hangover.    Portugal's national tour has some great classic climbs. The annual summit moutain stages finishes of Torre (Sierra Estrela) or the circular road up to the summit church at Santa Maria de Graca have had battles that sometimes rival the other national tours.

Portugal's greatest cyclist was Joaquim Agostinh…

Koerstrui!

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What's better than cycling team jerseys?  

Jerseys - I would argue even more so than bikes - are the defining emblem of our sport.   Part billboard,  part primary visual rider-recognition device, part clothing, part style icon -  the jerseys is the 'kit' element that tends to leave an indelible impressions on your brain.  Jersey designs define eras, providing visceral recall of great races, champions and moments.   They're our flags, our heraldry.

Here's a must-have book to add to your collection.  Dutch collector Henk Theuns has accumulated what may arguably be the worlds best jersey collection, and has assembled them into this great paperback book, called Koerstrui!  (Racing Jerseys!)

As a true mailliot-phile from way-back, I just bought a copy.  A fantastic book.  Highly recommended.  It's like a one of those color birding field guide, only this one is a guide to cycling history.  Laid out in sections (Track races,  Dutch classics, Belgians classics, Grand…

The look? Lance's wasn't the first on the Alpe...

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1977 Tour de France.  The Alpe d'Huez stage, and a clash of titans.

'75 Tour winner Bernard Thevenet was in Jaune, but '76 winner and best climber Lucien van Impe had made his bid for victory on the Col du Glandon, and was away and keeping a healthy gap up the finishing climb to Alpe d'Huez.

It looked like two-for-two for the man from Impe-Mere.

Behind him, a select group had already shelled the cannibal Eddy Merckx who was riding his final Tour.  Thevenet was left with the two Dutch favorites - Hennie Kuiper and Joop Zoetemelk - glued to his wheel, and not taking any pulls.  "Your jersey, your responsbility meneer."

Professionally appropriate tactics that  didn't set too well with Thevenet, who gamefully led the chase behind Van Impe.   Hands on the tops, grinding a giant gear around with all the effort of his rocking shoulders.   With Thevenet, cycling was a full body effort.


Check out 'The Look.'     He gave it more than once.  Probably with a f…