Stars and Watercarriers

SandW
My nostalgia for the classic era of cycling continues into the weekend and I thought I'd share this 1973 Giro d'Italia documentary for those who haven't seen it. Back in a time when men were hard, and bikes were steel. Merckx, Gimondi, Ritter, Motta, Moser, and climber Jose Manuel Fuente. Nails!

To all you Americans reading, have a great Thanksgiving. To the rest of you, enjoy your weekend and ride safe.

Directed by Jorgen Leth, who also directed Sunday in Hell and a number of other documentaries.




SIMILAR ENTRIES

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  • Craig

    I love this old stuff

  • bdj

    Amazing how today we are so caught up with carbon this, aero that, lighter this…..and these guys would still smash everyone on these old machines.  I’m hanging my head in shame.

  • Notso Swift

    Hmmm, 1973 Roger De Vlaeminck’s bad year, only 3 stages and missed the points so he can’t make the title para!

  • Chris

    They weren’t ‘old machines’ back then. They were cutting edge. They were the ‘carbon this, aero that, lighter this’ of the day. And who were they smashing? Guys on the same bikes. These guys would have loved to get a bike that goes faster for less effort.
    But yeh, respect to them.

  • Chris

    They weren’t ‘old machines’ back then. They were cutting edge. They were the ‘carbon this, aero that, lighter this’ of the day. And who were they smashing? Guys on the same bikes. These guys would have loved to get a bike that goes faster for less effort.
    But yeh, respect to them.

  • Timo

    Surprisingly enough the average speed of the 71 Tour De France was only 2.8 kph slower overall than in 2010.

  • Chris

    It was a strangely fast year, yes. It was 2 1/2 kph faster than the ones before and after it. It was ten years before they went faster.

  • Adam

    Also no race radio!! How often do you see the pro’s these days study the course profile during the stage?

  • Marcus

    Dont forget the element that was added to the periodic table by cyclists of the time – drillium!

  • http://facebook.com/brad.priest1 Priestie

    They do actually, they scour the race book for each stage the night before and may have certain sections of a stage on their stems/bars.

  • Timo

    If the commentator is to be believed: Ole Ritter did that TT at over 47kph!

  • http://twitter.com/jamescbdunn James Dunn

    Good to see that these guys are pros, they know how to do “The Fan”!

  • http://twitter.com/jamescbdunn James Dunn

    Good to see that these guys are pros, they know how to do “The Fan”!

  • J_Lo

    The director, Jørgen Leth, still does the commentary for cycling in Denmark, and he’s by far the best sports commentator I’ve ever heard. The man is a poet (meant as a compliment to his commentary technique, but also quite literally – he is a published poet).  If you haven’t seen some of his other films (The Impossible Hour, A Sunday In Hell), check them out.

  • Slhaydon

    just finished film 2. i am exhausted and dont know if i can go on.

  • Hardo

    Fantastic… I was wondering what to do with my Friday afternoon at work! Thanks Wade. ;)

  • JC

    Cycling really is such a noble sport as shown in this film. Only a true hard man completely dismantles his “cycle” personally for maintenance on the morning of a Grand Tour stage

  • Robert Merkel

    Mind you, 2.8 kph is bigger than you think. 

    According to some calculations on analytic cycling, on a flat good road and windless day, the difference between 40 km/h and 42.8 km/h is about 50 watts (240 vs 290 – an underestimate in my view but we’ll go with it).

    Not saying the riders of today are 50 watts better than the riders of that era.  Obviously, better equipment, better roads, and different tactics play a big part. 

    But it’s a big gap nonetheless.

  • Rob

    Pushing hard gears, too. Merckx pushes those hard gears at a lower cadence than today’s riders all the way up those hills on the front, in the lead, and keeps pushing harder. What a bloody machine.

  • Steve

    The drugs must have been good that year.

  • Justin

    Fantastic film. I’d left the sport for running at that time. But it all came back…. the woollen shorts, jerseys, 5 speed blocks, servicing a BB with the loose balls and of course the white socks.

    Love the look on Ole Ritter’s face sitting up in bed like the boy who got up to mischief and got no supper.  Notice the bar end shifters on Fuente’s bike, the fist of seat post showing on the frames of the era and the inexorable force of Merckx.  Hard men, hard races, now old men with memories. All things must pass….. 

  • http://www.happyfamilies.com.au Justin Coulson

    Had to laugh when I watched Part Two at the 20 second mark as the rider reviews the route… For a second I thought he was reading a text on his iphone 4!

  • Khaliad

    You should stop riding

  • Khalid

    The modern cyclists are girls, always complaining about how their bike is not light enough or not enough computer functions on their cycle computer. Maybe these guys will give them some aspiration and motivation.

  • Mars

    Brilliant, bravo e grazie mille.

  • Paul

    Seeing those guys go up Monte Carpegna on steel frames & 5 speed blocks really put my own effort up that mountain into perspective. And not in a good way! It is a brutal, unrelenting wall of tarmac whose only purpose is to dish out suffering.

  • http://twitter.com/2wopint Jez Hart

    Epic.  “Laps”, “fanning out”, “breaking out of the flock” I reckon the commentator changed every single cycling term.

  • LindaLoo

    Thank you for this, it is truly beautiful. Poetry.

  • http://9monthstonewyork.blogspot.com/ Grace Mimmo Fitzpatrick

    Thank God for Phil Liggett – that commentator was as exciting as listening to my primary maths teacher reciting the 7 times tables. That aside, the visuals were great. 

  • http://9monthstonewyork.blogspot.com/ Grace Mimmo Fitzpatrick

    Thank God for Phil Liggett – that commentator was as exciting as listening to my primary maths teacher reciting the 7 times tables. That aside, the visuals were great. 

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant Stuff CT. I’m pumped.

    Looks like your coming to the Giro next yr then ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant Stuff CT. I’m pumped.

    Looks like your coming to the Giro next yr then ;-)

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