Urs Freuler, Moustache World Champion

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Several pro riders are taking part in “Movember” the sponsored charity attempt at growing a mustache. It’s hit many of the Aussie bunch including honorary members like Koen de Kort and more. For a good view of their progress, head over to Cycling Tips.

But these pros have a long way to go if they want to rival Urs Freuler, a man who made the ‘stache his trademark. In fact he’s still got it today.

Freuler (say Froy-lerr) is Swiss and started winning early on the track with two junior titles for the sprint and kilometre before turning senior and winning the national sprint title. He turned pro quickly in 1980 and within weeks won the European omnium title on the track, a title he won the following year whilst also winning his first world title in the points race, again on the track.

By now you should get the picture that he was a fast sprinter but he was branching out into longer distance events. First came Six Day racing but in 1981 he won a stage in the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de Romandie prologue too before collecting a stage in the Tour de France after he was hired as a guest by the TI-Raleigh team to ride in France. In the space of a couple of years he’d gone from junior sprint titles to international stage races.

Solid wheels, solid rider

But this was only the start for Freuler. The facial hair was clearly no aerodynamic brake as he took three stages of the Giro in 1983 and ended up with a career total of fifteen stages as well as one cyclamen points jersey in the 1984 Giro, helped perhaps by the flatter course designed for Francesco Moser and the cancellation of a crucial mountain stage. May seemed to be Freuler’s best month on the road as he’d regularly win stages of the Tour de Romandie and the Giro. He’s stayed in cycling and was a manager at Phonak, no doubt exploiting his Swiss connections to get the job but left in the wake of repeated doping scandals, presumably the low of his career. Although he copped a six month ban for testosterone in 1991. Perhaps his natural machismo tripped the test?

The others?
Freuler is know for the distinctive moustache but of course there are others. The first ever winner of the Tour was Maurice Garin and he sported, appropriately, a handlebar variety. But it was unremarkable given this wasn’t just en vogue but widespread back in the day, after all Tour creator Henri Desgrange, a generation older, had one too.

Modern Era
In more recent times they have been rare, even in the 1980s when the ‘tache made a brief fashion comeback. 1980s Tour contender “Jeff” Bernard sported a shifty shadow and German classics specialist Rolf Gölz did too. The moustache made a flirting comeback with Steve Cozza who used to be at Garmin and he inspired team mate David Zabriskie to copy.

But surely none can rival the brushed beauty and whiskered wizardry of Freuler? He wasn’t just a moustache on wheels, he collected wins and also had a great style on the bike with tree-trunk legs and a low tuck. Today he runs a bike shop in Switzerland. In the month of Movember, who can rival Freuler?

Urs Freuler Rainbow Jersey

Iain November 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

I always remember Lech Piasecki and his lip furniture in the 1987 Tour.

The Inner Ring November 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

Good pick and another world champion too. I think he still has the ‘stache today but it was never as imperial as Freuler.

Grease Monster November 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I love the use of “imperial” as an adjective for a moustache. Bravo!

Danny November 20, 2012 at 11:38 am
Kjetil November 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

Great moustache, big man.
Curiously: Today, if you buy a Colnago frame larger than ca. size 61, you get a “Freuler” style frame with extended head and seat tubes.

The Inner Ring November 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Nice detail, thanks.

Boz November 20, 2012 at 11:59 am

that guy has an erection in the first picture.

Great uncle bulgaria November 20, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Hardly surprising in the presence of such irresistible facial hair

Sebastiaan November 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Isn’t that l’uomo del Gavia?

ds November 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Danny Clark was partial to “lip furniture”

brndll November 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

So its Frueler on the right, and that is definitely Eric Vanderaerden in the middle… that guy on the left looks familiar but I cant place him. Anyone else?

Sebastiaan November 20, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Johan van der Velde?

Igam Ogam November 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Yeah, looks like Johan van der Velde.
Freuler had a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ and the Atala team kit different, kinda cool.

Igam Ogam November 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Brings back memories – not a ‘tash but a beard, Barry Davies an inspiration a long time ago…
http://www.cyclemania.ca/2009/12/interview-ex-cyclo-cross-professional-barry-davies/

Duncan November 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I can’t help. The image was labelled by the agency with Freuler and Vanderaerden but the third man isn’t named.

that guy November 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Freuler’s mustache was made possible by Tom Ritchey, which came into existence in the 70’s.

Eb in AZ November 28, 2012 at 4:12 am

don’t know about the enabling but good reference to a pioneer, of cycling hardware more than facial accoutrements

regsf November 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Wasn’t Urs also running the “blue train” on the six day circuit for some years?

DB downunder November 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Danny Clark, Don Allen & Shane Sutton were also part of the aero impeded upper lip brigade if the sepia photos in the dusty vaults of my memory bank are correct.

Freddy Mercury …. or was that a non UCI sanctioned bicycle race ….

Duncan November 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm

There’s a podium photo of Freuler with Gary Sutton, no facial hair, but a medal beside Freuler.

Dave November 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm

US mountain biker Ned Overend had an impressive one and if we’re getting really desparate Kevin Coster in American Flyers…..ok, ok, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Dieter November 21, 2012 at 10:44 am
gilbert November 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm
Gregg December 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm

More on Alex Revell here:

http://www.thechainstay.com/blog/2012/10/the-story-behind-the-mustache/

He is a very nice guy and super humble. He’s also on the lookout for help in getting to the US to race Worlds, so if you want to help him out, check out the article …

Benj November 23, 2012 at 6:49 am

There can be no mention of cycling facial hair without Sean Eadie making an appearance. Incremental gains be damned!
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/40/Sean_Eadie_WM_2001.jpg/220px-Sean_Eadie_WM_2001.jpg

Julie (@julesmpg) November 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

As a newer fan of cycling, I love reading stories about old riders that I’ve never heard of before. Thanks for schooling me.

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