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Showing posts from October, 2012

Old school victory salute: The Barry Hoban

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Here's an old-school victory salute for ya cafesupporters.    

Barry Hoban.  And the heads-up scream.  YeeEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!  

No hands in the air required.  And no Forrest Gump, Hulk flex or fake phone calls.  Nope, just a head thrust up in joy over locked arms, and the simultaneous, gutteral release of a primal victory scream.   And that wide open mouth acting as an air-brake.   Even in old B&W stills, the look on the face said it all.

It was enough.  Perfect even.  Kids these days should take note:  Less is more.  

Way before there was Cav, there was Barry.  Going over with a few hundred quid to his name. Tom Simpson's understudy.  Gent dwelling expat.  Longtime member of old school Tonin Magne's Mercier stable, soldier in PouPou's inner circle.

Won a sprint royale to take a Gent Wevelgem away from Merckx, Verbeeck and co.  And eight Tour stages.   One may have been gifted the day after Tom Simpson died on the Ventoux, but the others were no gift, make no mista…

Hearing the Lion's lament...

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I was not the lion, but it fell to me to give the lion’s roar. 
 ~ Winston Churchill


Sad weekend cafesupporters.   
Fiorenzo Magni is overleden.   The Monza colossus, the lion of Flanders, roars no more.  
Friday, a day when pro cycling continued its free-fall turmoil, a day when the sport's most loyal corporate sponsor pulled the plug in despair... a day when it seemed like the body-blows will just keep coming and coming... to make matters worse, cycling loses forever a great senior Senator.   
Magni was a last living connection to the golden '40's and '50's.  The 'third man' rival of the great post-war campionissimi, Coppi and Bartali.   The passing of 'il terzo uomo'  leaves us with only a rapidly fraying thread as a last connection to those sepia toned times.  And when the precious living few silver haired champions of that generation -  Ferdi Kubler, Raphael Geminiani and Alfredo Martini - go to join him in that great Giro in the sky, our abili…

Merckx mania.

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I got a fever, and the only prescription is...more Eddy Merckx!
                          "The" Bruce Dickenson
Whoa, this just in!  Nike sacked Lance.  Thanks for the revenue kid, we'll just isolate ourselves from you now.   (It's not personal Sonny...just business.)  

And many more in the profi-wielerworld are getting similar reality slaps, and scrambling for cover.  The great purge of 2012 continues.  Purge = Good, methinks.  Good for the soul of the sport.

When a machine goes haywire, you fix it by setting the dials back to zero, and starting over again.   That means a return for a moment to the original cycling icon of my generation:  Eddy Merckx.

Over here in the good 'ol US of A, it's hard for many to comprehend the level of passion Belgians had - and still have - for Eddy Merckx.

I'd grown up hearing about it.  Seeing old grainy black and white clips from his first Tour win and triumphant Beatlemania-esque entry into Brussels Grand Place, back i…

The day Omerta died

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"A long, long time ago, I can still remember how Molteni used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance, that I could do that pedal dance.. and maybe I'd be flying for a while.

But today's big news made me shiver, with every e-news page delivered...

Big news on the website...just can't absorb no more o' this shite...


Yer surer than hell I didn't cry 'oer years and years of sordid crime,
But something touched me deep inside... 

the day Omerta died."
October 10.   10-10.  My late Ma's birthday.
Marilyn, God bless her, was one tough Irishwoman. One who always called a spade a spade, no matter what.  She didn't suffer fools, and my siblings and I never got anything past her.  God knows we tried.  Eyes in the back o'her head, she had herself. Along with unparalleled BS sniffing radar. (Miss ya Ma).

Find it appropriate that yesterday, her birthday, the shite really hit the fan.   Was glued to the USADA revelations for an hour or so last night, …

Providence? Nee...een dag een beetje belgisch.

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Hey Velominati guys - came up with some more 'rules' for you

Rule 151:  If you're lucky enough to have a UCI level cross weekend in your home town, you pin a number on, and go to battle.   

No question.  Even if you've been hitting the beer a little too much lately, or put on 10 pounds from your summer form. There's nothing like a good kick in the pants to get the competitive season extension going.

Saturday the sun was out.  Hmmm...sure doesn't feel like cross weather.  The 45+ race was at 11am and it was a warm, kinda gross and humid morning.. heck, I was sweating just walking to registration!

On the way there, I saw my teammate Jay lined up on the front row of the Cat 4 race.  Jay made an awesome start, almost got the hole shot, and installed himself in the top 5.  Perfect position for this ex-motocrosser.    But one lap, two crashes, and a broken rear derailleur dropout later, the always good-humored Jay was warning Marc T. and I that the grass was pretty s…

Photos of the day: Trofeo Baracchi

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Here's a poster from those not-so-long-ago days when a team time trial had a little less to do with technology..and a little more to do with some improvisational 'just getting on and going for it.'


And of course, some old school (ahem) 'preparation.'

1975:  Freddy Maertens and Michel Pollentier in the Trofeo Baracchi.

From 1949 until 1990, this two man time trial marked the end of the professional road season.   The Baracchi winners list is a who's who of cycling stars:  Magni, Coppi, Baldini, Anquetil, Gimondi, Merckx, Moser, Hinault, Fignon.

The Flandria duo were second in '75 behind Francesco Moser and Gibi Baronchelli.   (Didn't stop the Claeys clan from printing the publicity poster though...)

But no worries, the west vlaanderen duo would come back to win in 1976, this time with Maertens in the world champions jersey.  They probably felt right at home in the discipline, as the two were daily training partners throughout the year.

Being compatibl…