Just when we thought that winning two Grand Tours in a season had gone out of fashion like denim-look cycling shorts and helmet-and-ponytail combinations, Alberto Contador popped up this year to become the ninth, and hopefully not the last, to join the double Grand Tour winners’ club
Archive for September, 2010
Marco Pantani was a legend; a climbing genius; an extraordinary and complicated character; a painfully shy and awkward individual whose extrovert riding style was inversely proportionate to his inability to relate to people; a doper; a cheat; and a victim.
In taking enough EPO to transform himself from an already gifted climber into a double Grand Tour winner during the late
Miguel Indurain’s Grand Tour-winning method was a more generous, less explosive version of the template Lance Armstrong used for his seven Tour de France wins.
Both used the long time trials to kill off the opposition, then rode at the front in the mountain stages. But while Armstrong had a big appetite for stage victories, Indurain was happy to spread the
Irishman Stephen Roche distilled a career’s worth of big wins into one season, winning the Giro, Tour and World Championships in 1987.
Roche took the first part of his Grand Tour double in Italy, amid scenes which walked a fine line between drama, farce and comedy.
The Giro organisers showed they had both a sense of humour and a flagrant disregard for health
Compared to every other rider to have won two Grand Tours in a single season, Giovanni Battaglin is relatively unknown. Perhaps it’s because he never shone in the Tour de France — in five starts, he finished only once, in sixth place in 1979 (when he also won the climbers’ classification).
But he was the Grand Tour rider of 1981, and
Fausto Coppi’s legend was created as much by the florid language of the newspaper journalists and the radio broadcasters of the day as the legs and lungs of the man himself.
That is not to say that Coppi was not an awesome man, of course he was, the first modern champion and first to win the Giro and the Tour in
Bernard Hinault’s Grand Tour record was nothing short of phenomenal. On three occasions, he doubled a Tour de France win with either a Vuelta or Giro victory, and injury robbed him of a fourth double in 1983. He’d already won the Vuelta, but overreached himself in doing so, strained his knee, and he missed out on a Tour he’d undoubtedly
The greatest cyclist who ever lived did the double more times than anyone else. In 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974 he won two major tours.
In 1970 Merckx had unfinished business with the Giro. He had been expelled from the previous year’s race while wearing the pink jersey after testing positive. He denied taking drugs and vowed to come back.
Jacques Anquetil was the first rider to win a career grand slam of Grand Tours. Having already won the Tour three times and the Giro once, the 1963 Vuelta completed the set.
Many of his victories were forged in the time trial stages, where he was virtually unbeatable.
Although he already had a string of Tour victories to his name, it wasn’t
Broomwagon: The satirical column that puts the bile into bicycle. Broomwagon appears at the back of Cycle Sport magazine every month.
By the time you read this, the Landis Affair (as nobody is calling it) will have taken more twists and turns than an EPO-fuelled 33-minute ascent up Alpe d’Huez (that’s a reference to the 21 hairpin bends, fact fans).