The Changing Face of Cycling

Imagine you’re the manager of a cycling team and you’re looking for a particular type of rider. But instead of finding one guy that fits the job description, you find several, all with very similar physical attributes and identical salary demands – how do you decide which one to sign? The answer might be, whichever one you’re able to remember the most.

Listening to Daniel Friebe’s recent interview with Dan Craven on The Cycling Podcast would certainly lend credence to this assertion. Craven, who has just completed the Vuelta a Espana, his first ever Grand Tour, is one of the most remember-able riders in the peloton due to the considerable facial hair that he’s been cultivating for the last few years. In a sport where beards and moustaches are not all that common, Craven stands out immediately, a fact not lost on the Namibian rider when he spoke to Friebe about how he ended up signing for Team Europcar:

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Morbid Curiosity and the Redemption of Chris Froome

cycling-los-lagos

The This Week in Cycling History podcast began as exactly that. I attempted to find three stories for each show, from any year in cycling’s past, but the stories needed to have taken place in the week of the year in which we were currently in. Simple enough. But one winter of research was enough to turn me away from this idea. It was just too bloody hard to find stuff that happened in cycling over the winter months! There’s only so much track cycling a guy can wade through.

These days, thankfully, the stories are plucked from any time throughout the year although they tend to maintain some kind of relevance to whatever race is currently going on. But that one winter of desperate searches for something, anything, that happened, due to the complete lack of racing, inadvertently led me to writing about rather a lot of rider deaths.

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Punch-ups, bike changes and a stolen Tour of Flanders

Farrapona

The gloves were off on Stage 16 of the Vuelta a Espana. Gianluca Brambilla and Ivan Rovny took issue with each other and had a boxing match while on the bike. Meanwhile, according to Philip Deignan’s daily diary in the Irish Independent, Joaquim Rodriguez bust his lip open with a punch during the stage.

While Rodriguez got away with his pugilistic misdemeanor, Brambilla and Rovny were not so fortunate, caught as they were in plain sight of a race commissaire, who took the unsual step of disqualifying them while the stage was still in progress. Unusual, but not unprecedented. For there has been a similar incident in cycling before, although one with an altogether more bizarre outcome.

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