Cipollini, the showman

Mention the word “Cipollini” and a warm smile appears on my face. No other rider I’ve known has combined excitement, style and charisma like Mario Cipollini. I’ve been following pro cycling since 1988 so that’s practically a quarter century of riders. If some dress for dinner, here was a man who would don a cream … Read more

White socks

White socks are the default choice for road riders, although a few riders have used black and other colours. Why? Well in the late 1920s Charles PĂ©lissier decided his legs were so tanned and impressive that he felt a pair of white socks would help him show off. Until then black and brown, yes, were … Read more

Marginal gains

The English bicycle manufacturers were highly conscious of the publicity value of a victory in the longest road race ever held. For that reason they left no stone unturned to give riders who were using their bicycles every advantage. Sound familiar? Is this a quote about Team Sky’s “marginal gains” methods, searching for every advantage … Read more

Roger de Vlaeminck – one sneaky gypsy

Do the maths: sideburns + Brooklyn jersey + Gios bike = total class Roger de Vlaeminck is one of only three riders to win all five monuments, along with Rik Van Looy and Eddy Merckx. They called him “The Gypsy” and also “Monsieur Paris-Roubaix”. His family were not travelling folk, although his parents did sell … Read more


Some footage from 1994. The current forecast says dry weather but look what happens when it rains. In the past edition Franco Ballerini and Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle had entered the velodrome together to end in a photo-finish sprint. Now they struggle with mud, punctures and rivals in a sporting contest that at times looks like fight … Read more

Top secret: Koppenberg and Arenberg

Amazing as it might seem, the hardest cobbled sections of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix were not “discovered” until the late 1960s/early 1970s. In other words, these crucial sections belong to the sport’s modern era and are not necessarily part of the glorious history of the sport. The KoppenbergMany would say the Koppenberg is … Read more

Slippery when wet

I hate lists… but here’s a top-10 of the most used bergs from the Ronde van Vlaanderen, since the race began in 1913. 1. Kruisberg (used 43 times)2. Oude Kwaremont (37)3. Bosberg (36)4. Taaienberg (35)5. Eikenberg (35)6. Geraardsbergen-Kapelmuur (30)7. Molenberg (27)8. Paterberg (25)9. Koppenberg (20)10. Volkgemberg (17)

The Brits are coming (back)

With the confirmation of Team Sky’s selection for the Tour de France one thing is almost July already: Sky will do better than the last British team to take part. Blue Peter greenhorns(image from Cycling Weekly) Back in 1987, for near-inexplicable reasons, the Tour de France invited British team ANC-Halfords. Allied National Couriers was a … Read more