Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Let it snow!

With the forecast of 3-5 inches of snow on the way, I thought I would reminisce about another particularly snowy day in 1988.  The story has been told and retold countless times in countless places, but it still goes down as one epic day in cycling history.  There are many iconic photographs in the rich culture of European road racing, but relatively few from the 80's involve an American.  This is certainly one of them:

Of course this is Andy Hampsten on the Passo di Gavia, stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia.  The date was June 5, 1988 and the morning was grey.  The forecast was for freezing rain over the pass which sits at 8600 feet.  But it was already snowing in the valley before the start....and it got just a little bit worse.

With vaseline slathered over his uncovered legs, and a pair of neoprene driving gloves, Andy attacked the field in the midst of a mountaintop blizzard on a dirt road.  He finished 2nd that day to Erik Breukink who passed him on the descent, but he ended up in the maglia rosa.

If you've never seen footage of this stage, the following is a must see.  Also - watch closely at the 6:44 mark for a nearly unconscious Bob Roll being revived by the crowds:

Andy remains the only American to have ever won the Giro.

Be careful out there today...

Pedal on!

1 comment:

  1. A very timely post... I wonder how many Columbia cyclists are braving the cold this week? Sadly, I'm not one of them.