Photo of the day: Charly Gaul 'Bergauf Mont Ventoux'
Once was on a business trip in Nice, France. (Nice alright... I know!) It was June 1999, and I was driving to the airport, listening to the radio. The machine-gun rapid fire French broadcaster relayed a quick update from the prior day's Dauphine Libere - the hillclimb Time Trial up Mont Ventoux. The news was that US Postal American Jonathan Vaughters had won the stage, breaking the record Charly Gaul, set during the Tour de France in 1958. Thanks to JV's integrity, we all know now where some of the turbo boost came to win that one.
Here's an interesting, different photo of Charly Gaul during his record setting Time Trial stage win in '58.
Take a good long look at his bike, his position. How super low the saddle is, how bent the knee is at the bottom of the stroke. How high the bars are. How he's sitting bolt upright. Hands relaxed on the hoods. A vision of relaxed souplesse. Bike a steel Guerra with a pie-plate for a cluster. You can almost hear the chain and rear derailleur brushing against the spokes as it scallops out the teeth on that 26.
Those 40 years were marked by quantum leaps in training and bike technology and weight improvement. The bike is steel. The cranks are steel with cotter pins. The saddle a brooks leather model, not very light (although it probably got drilled out by his faithful master mechanic Ottusi.)
Ottusi had fitted Charly with a 44/49 up front, and a 5 speed screw-on freewheel: 15, 17, 19, 23, 26.
No light touch shifters with one tooth differences on an 11 speed rear cassette for Charly. None of that mattered, and probably doesn't matter as much as folks believe now when you think about it.
Stick it in the 26, and spin those legs like a ceiling fan.
Greatest climber of all time? Greatest climber of all time.