The PEZ High Heroes of All Time!

The PEZ Heroes: Once we have been youthful all of us had heroes, however because the years move that adjustments to an admiration of an individual’s fashion, persona and on this case, biking skill. Ed Hood has taken a ballot of his friends and the PEZ crew to search out the ‘High Biking Heroes of All Time’ (in our humble opinion).

‘We may very well be heroes’ – David Bowie

What was it David Bowie stated? ‘We may very well be Heroes, only for someday?’ Nevertheless it’s not like that. Your heroes are your heroes, as David added; ‘without end and ever.’ Mine haven’t modified over some 50 years – however extra of that one other time. Not for the primary time it was my mentor and Biking’s reply to Nostradamus, Vik who gave me the thought for this piece. He was happy to see one in all his Heroes, Guido Bontempi featured in our, ‘trackmen who transitioned to the street’ piece.

He advised me that Large Guido was quantity two on his listing of three Heroes – all Italians, with not a Belgian in sight – let’s begin with quantity three:

‘Cipo’ bigger than life

Mario Cipollini: Large, loud, brash, filled with himself, politically incorrect – how might you not love the person? There have been the loopy outfits, each on and off the bike, the color matched machines, infinite UCi fines – however what a showman and what a sprinter, 192 or is it 201 wins? I’ve to agree with Vik that the game misses the massive guys from Lucca.

Guido Bontempi
Guido Bontempi – ‘The Buffalo’

Aforementioned Guido Bontempi, aka ‘The Buffalo’ was certainly a beast of a boy on a motorbike, not solely did he transition from monitor to street he additionally re-invented himself as a winner from the breakaway when his dash prowess started to say no – as they inevitably do for all riders. Few riders have appeared extra spectacular when in full flight than this man.

Vittorio Adorni

Vik’s best choice lies on the different finish of the persona scale from Cipo, one of many sport’s gents but in addition Italian, tall and really elegant – Sen. Vittorio Adorni. We might have included him in our transition piece, he was Italian Pursuit Champion in 1958 however he’s finest remembered because the 1965 Giro winner and 1968 World Skilled Highway Race Champion at Imola the place the rising star, Eddy Merckx didn’t give chase to solo escapee Adorni. Adorni was Merckx’s mentor at Faema, educating him about preparation, weight-reduction plan and race craft. The final time I noticed Sen. Adorni on the Giro he appeared one million {dollars}, he might have been a visiting film star.

Adorni – Wanting like one million {dollars}

However what of my different biking pals?
I went all the way in which to Japan to get the alternatives of Nakata Takashi, a person with whom I’ve collaborated on interviews with the likes of Masahiko Mifune, Damien Monier and Masatoshi Ichikawa.

Winner Masatoshi Ichikawa

Nakata’s man in third spot is aforementioned Masatoshi Ichikawa, an comprehensible selection as a real pioneer and Japan’s first Grand Tour finisher, within the 1990 Giro d’Italia, his full story will be learn within the interview, HERE.

Chris Horner – Vuelta’13

His second selection is Chris Horner, the oldest ever winner of a Grand Tour by a substantial margin, the 2013 Vuelta at a exceptional 41 years and 328 days, he continued to race into his late 40’s after a professional profession which lasted greater than 20 years.

World champion Bernard Hinault on the street to Roubaix

His important man is a reputation which is bound to crop up once more, Bernard Hinault the feisty Breton. ‘Le Blaireau’ is second solely to Eddy Merckx by way of Grand Tour wins, 10 in complete, 5 Excursions de France, three Giros and two Vueltas; Baron Eduoard has 11 notches. Hinault received the Tour of Lombardy, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Flèche Wallonne twice every in addition to 5 Grand Prix des Nations – and wasn’t averse to a scrap if he didn’t like what the roadside followers have been getting as much as. . .

The ‘Badger’ was robust

Jakob Hansen-Schwartz is ‘my man’ in Denmark, I’ve missed seeing him beside the boards at Copenhagen these final couple of years because of the type workplaces of Mr. Covid. However I hope to meet up with him at le Tour, this 12 months.

Jan Ullrich – A flawed diamond

His third selection is flawed diamond, Jan Ullrich; World Champion on the street at 19, Worlds iTT medallist a 12 months later, beating the likes of Erik Breukink and Abraham Olano, two years after that he was second in le Tour to crew mate Bjarne Riis, using a blinding last time trial beating no much less figures than Miguel Indurain and Abraham Olano.
His ’97 Tour win appeared inevitable and appeared like the beginning of a brand new reign as King of the Tour. However one other 4 second locations adopted; Pantani then ‘Large Tex’ denying him what had appeared like his for the taking. There was a Vuelta, an Olympic Highway Race title and two world particular person time trial championships earlier than it began to go flawed. Nonetheless, a really human and simpatico man.

Bartali was an actual hero

A wee bit earlier than even my time, Gino Bartali does qualify for the ‘legend’ label, 4 Primaveras, three Excursions of Lombardy, three Giri and two Excursions with the second credited with drastically easing civil strife in his native Italy. He’s revered in Israel for the Resistance work his did throughout the Second World Battle, aiding persecuted Jews. Legend certainly.

A Spaniard in pink – Alberto Contador

Jakob is an Alberto Contador fan to the core; the person from Pinto, the geographic centre of Spain divides opinion – the best stage race rider of his era or without end ‘tainted’ by the ‘clenbuterol affair.’ I’m going with the previous definition, personally, he received all three Grand Excursions and between 2007 and 2011 he received six consecutive Grand Excursions that he entered. And he deserves respect too for refusing to have the dreaded. ‘one season too many,’ which so many stars topic themselves and their followers too – going out in nice fashion with a win on the fearsome Angliru on his second final day as a competitor.

Etna - Italie - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Giro D’Italia 2011 - 9e etappe Messina> Etna - Alberto Contador (Saxobank) - foto Cor Vos ©2011
Contador on Etna Giro’11

The person I reply to on the Six Days, soigneur Kris has the person who ended Eddy Merckx’s reign as ‘Roi de le Tour,’ France’s Bernard Thevenet as his third selection. Regardless of his ‘legend’ standing in France, two time Tour winner Thevenet stays a really humble, approachable and pleasant particular person; he was the person who ran the Grenoble Six Day for a few years, the very reverse of the dictatorial Six Day ‘Tsars’ of the North. There was additionally a Tour podium along with his two wins, two Dauphines, Romandie and Catalunya. And an epic Worlds trip in 1974 was thwarted by winner, Merckx with the Frenchman ‘man of the match’ in fifth place.

Bernard Thevenet – The person who beat Eddy Merckx

His second selection is the person he sorted throughout the 1981 Tour de France, Belgium’s enigmatic Freddy Maertens, written off by many, Freddy received 5 phases and the inexperienced jersey in that Tour with the cherry on high of that season the world street race title in Prague. After that? Sluggish decline however on his day within the mid to late 70’s – a drive of nature.

flanders 77
Maertens within the race he ought to have received – Flanders’77

As a person of the sixes it’s maybe no shock that Kris ought to select a monitor rider as his numero uno. Denmark’s Hans-Henrik Øerstedt got here off a bronze medal on the 1980 Moscow Olympics within the 4,000 metres pursuit to win a medal at each skilled pursuit World championship from 1980 to 1987 – three golds, three silvers and two bronze medals. A perfectionist, a stylist, a pursuit legend.

Hans-Henrik Oerstedt
Øerstedt in Rotterdam ‘6 Days’

Lastly, my Amigo, Dave Chapman, veteran of many a Tour and Giro de PEZ. His third selection – the person whose 2005 Worlds win and Classics successes boosted Belgian Biking Federations ‘novices’ membership ranges to unprecedented ranges – as each boy in Belgium needed to be like Tommeke. Tom Boonen, 4 Paris-Roubaix, three Excursions of Flanders, three Gent-Wevelgems, 5 GP E3, two every Paris-Brussels and Scheldeprijs plus extra stage wins than a stick will be shaken. Charismatic, simpatico and sorely missed.

roubaix boonen
‘Tommeke’ – Tom Boonen

His second selection is a person within the Adorni mould, Italian, immaculate, elegant, a Worlds and Tour winner, like Adorni; but in addition a Primavera, Lombardy, Roubaix, Tour and Vuelta winner. The late, nice Felice Gimondi.

Gimondi – Italian class

And to shut the Capo di Capo, the person who by any measure is the best ever, Eddy Merckx. The winner of each Grand Tour; each Monument, together with Liege 5 time and Sanremo seven occasions and a last complete in extra of 500 wins. It’s all been stated. . .

What didn’t ‘Large Ted’ win

I requested a few of my Amigos about who their biking Heroes are however I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t take a look at with our very personal PEZ CREW who their Heroes are.

The PEZ Workers Heroes:

We begin with the Capo di Capo, Richard Pestes himself:

Hinault in Paris-Roubaix

Bernard Hinault: He was on the high of his recreation after I got here into biking as a fan. At all times appeared robust as nails, that decided grimace on his face – successful Liège in a snow storm, then vowing to by no means race it once more – “badgering” LeMond into his first Tour win in ’86. Legend. After I lastly noticed him at a Tour stage as a reporter, I used to be afraid to method him.

fignon tt
The Prof – Fignon

Laurent Fignon: I liked the wire framed glasses, blond hair and pony tail – so cool and with such a French (might care much less) perspective. Such a trendy rider, fluid, relaxed, assured. I want he’d received extra and want we’d interviewed him earlier than he was gone.

Contador on the assault in la Vuelta’16

Alberto Contador: He proved his mettle when he not solely stood as much as, however beat Lance at his personal Machiavellian video games by successful the ’09 Tour. Nobody within the peloton had the center, brains or expertise to tackle The Boss, however Bert did it – and with such humble fashion – He confirmed us how successful with class was purported to be accomplished.

Etna - Italie - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Giro D’Italia 2011 - 9e etappe Messina> Etna - Alberto Contador (Saxobank) - foto Cor Vos ©2011
Giro’11 motion for Contador

As we’d count on from our Literary Editor, his decisions are thought-about ones – over to you, Leslie Reissner:

Okay, biking heroes. That is difficult given all of the historical past I’ve learn however I determine that will probably be vital to call an Italian, a Belgian and a Wild Card choice. Right here they’re:

coppi gravel
Coppi main Koblet and Bartali

1. Italian: Fausto Coppi – Grand Excursions, Monuments, the One Hour Report using round bomb craters on the Vigorelli. Somebody who used trendy coaching strategies. Whole fashion on the bike (how are you going to miss with a Bianchi anyway?) and off the bike. “A person, alone, within the lead, whose jersey is white and blue…”

Gilbert – He by no means offers up

2. Belgian: Philippe Gilbert – He in all probability received’t win Milan-San Remo to spherical out his palmarès with every of the Monuments however an important report of wins anyway, from the Worlds to Classics to Grand Tour phases. A rider who by no means offers up, as proven by going over a wall on the Tour and smashing his knee and nonetheless ending the stage. Or per week after successful Flanders he was within the main group at Amstel Gold, crashed out, obtained again on and even with a torn kidney caught as much as the others and received the race. I used to be current for a Philippe Gilbert Fan Membership trip and he was actually completely satisfied to hang around with the children.

Cancellara – Greater than only a TT man

3. Wild Card: Fabian Cancellara – one other biking fashion icon. A beautiful time triallist but in addition somebody who might win a dash on the Tour, astonishingly. A pal was using at a sportif and Cancellara was taking part, saying he was there, ‘so folks might get pleasure from my presence.’ They usually did, significantly when he stopped to assist somebody with a mechanical. To combine a metaphor, I believe the Swiss have punched above their nationwide weight in biking and are all the time good worth.

But in addition a high TT man

Mr. Chuck Pena our Technical Evaluations Professional: If by “biking heroes” you imply from the skilled ranks:

Coppi – The primary huge hero of professional biking?

Fausto Coppi – As a result of Coppi is Coppi. A legend. And on the subject of biking, I’m an Italophile at coronary heart.

Lemond – The ‘solely’ US Tour winner

Greg LeMond – First (and solely) American to win the Tour de France. His second two wins got here after his being close to to loss of life. And people eight seconds – maybe the best Tour finale ever? Plus I’ve truly met him and he’s a genuinely good man.


Andy Hampsten – The primary American to win on Alpe d’Huez. His bike set-up (STI rear shifter and downtube entrance shifter) was the inspiration for a way I re-configured my Hollands within the 90s. Plus he’s additionally a genuinely good man.

Giro D’Italia, foto Cor Vos ©1988 Andy Hampsten
Giro winner and good man – Andy Hampsten

PEZ man on the Iberian Peninsula and our Editor, Alastair Hamilton stays true to his North European roots however his first selection is an fascinating one:

‘El Tarangu’

José Manuel Fuente: Sadly, not with us, he was often known as ‘El Tarangu’‘a phrase within the Asturian language for a person reputed for his energy and character,’ however may also be translated as, ‘the Tiger.’ A ‘pure’ climber, afraid of nobody, not even Eddy Merckx with whom he fought a bitter battle within the 1972 Giro – ultimately succumbing to the Belgian however not earlier than inflicting some fraying to Eddy’s ‘cloak of invulnerability.’ He twice received the Vuelta, was 4 occasions King of the Mountains within the Giro and completed on the Tour podium in 1973. And he did like a cigarette.

de vlaeminck roubaix
Mr. Paris-Roubaix – Roger De Vlaeminck

Roger De Vlaeminck: with Eddy Merckx and Rik Van Looy is the one winner of all 5 monuments. In the event you verify the results of the 1969 world newbie cyclo-cross championships you’ll see that ‘Le Gitane’ – a reputation he didn’t like, as a real Flandrian he wasn’t a fan of the French – was second to countryman Rene De Clerq. Legend has it that Roger might have received that race, ‘along with his fingers up his nostril,’ as they are saying in Flanders BUT the foundations of the day dictated that he needed to stay newbie for one more 12 months if he took the rainbow jersey. He needed to show professional and begin making a living. His first professional race? Het Volk 1969. The winner. Roger De Vlaeminck. Legend.

Double World champion – Freddy Maertens

Freddy Maertens: Additionally chosen by my amigo Kris in his ‘Heroes’ decisions.

The stats are exceptional:
1972: 15 victories
1973: 15 victories
1974: 32 victories
1975: 32 victories
1976: 56 victories
1977: 61 victories
1978: 22 victories
1979: 2 victories
1980: 1 victory
1981: 13 victories – together with 5 Tour phases and the Worlds
1982: 0 victories
Tough figures to elucidate however the man stays a Legend.

Hoogvliet - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - archief - archive - stock - Freddy Maertens wint Gent - Wevelgem - foto /Cor Vos ©2008
Freddy successful in Wevelgem

What’s that?
What about me?
Ah, sure, proper. . .

Fastman towards the clock – Alf Engers

Not a professional or a reputation well-known on the worldwide stage however one of many coolest dudes I’ve ever recognized in our great sport: Alf Engers the English monitor and time trial specialist, the primary man to finish a 25 mile [40 kilometre] time trial inside 50 minutes – 30 miles per hour. His persona was as a minimum of as huge as his chain rings. . .

Merckx on the Alpe

Eddy Merckx: Martin and I had simply dropped off the rent automotive in Sanremo having been working the Primavera. I ended in my tracks as if hit by a lightning bolt; ‘Martin, see that man strolling in direction of us – it’s Eddy!’ Madame Merckx smiled tolerantly as one other two grown males became little boys within the presence of her husband. The most effective, the good.

1965 World champion Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson: Harworth & Bircotes Sports activities and Social Membership is an nameless trying constructing, one in all 1000’s of such locations all around the UK. However inside there’s a shrine, a memorial to the person who’s ‘Biking is my Life’ autobiography I’ve learn and re-read so many occasions through the years. Ivan, Davie and I made the pilgrimage some years in the past. The same old ‘inquisitive native’ requested us who we have been and why we have been there, upon explaining we have been handled as prodigal sons and needed to ‘move’ on many presents of, ‘a pint.’ When Simpson took his financial savings out of the financial institution, left Harworth, crossed the Channel and settled in Brittany there was no Federation ‘Plan,’ no improvement crew, no web, no cellphones and little or no English spoken; there have been solely two methods it might go. Skulk house with tail between legs; or win, make a reputation, catch the attention of a professional crew and signal on the dotted line. Simpson did the latter: Milan – Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, The Tour of Lombardy, Bordeaux – Paris, the Worlds. Nobody higher, braver or with extra persona than this man. At all times the best for me – my Hero.

Simpson – An actual gentleman

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter to obtain updates and reminders on what’s cool in street biking?

Related Articles

Back to top button