Anatomy of a Photo: Allez le Douze

Anatomy of a Photo: Allez le Douze

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A mechanical of any kind thrusts a professional cyclist into a kind of paradoxical isolation; swarmed by cars and motorcycles, yet they are often left alone to find their way back to the peloton by their own strength.

But this isn’t their first rodeo, and these aren’t cowboys. Put it in the Big Ring, set the lazy-lever to 12, put your head down, and get on with it. The downside is that when the legs are yelling “Allez le Douze”, the eyes have a tendency to check out the guns instead of paying attention to the direction of travel. A pity, that.

The irony that Davis Phinney’s isolation was ended by the rear glass of a car bearing the logo of a company called “Isoglass” is not lost on me.

// Anatomy of a Photo

  1. I have a photo of this crash in a French “Year of Cycling” “yearbook” from 1988 that I bought in France in 1989 when I lived there for a month. It is slightly different as it shows Phinney looking up a bit with the blood streaming down his face and between his fingers. Supposedly the car stopped DEAD in it’s tracks right in front of him, without warning and Phinney was pretty pissed about it. Here is a simliar photo to the one in my book. (see if I can load this thing).

  2. Might be because I ride a compact, but that is a big fucken chain ring. Had to be going some when he hit the car. Ouch.

  3. @roadslave

    Might be because I ride a compact, but that is a big fucken chain ring. Had to be going some when he hit the car. Ouch.

    I was thinking the same thing. I run a 53t for my big ring and Phinney’s looks larger than that. And L-B-L is NOT a flat race!

  4. AS I recall the 7-11 Team Huffy’s were actually rebadged Serotta frames.

  5. There was a guy that pulled this stunt in CA a year or so ago. Decided to “teach those cyclists a lesson.” Passed some riders on a downhill, got in front, then slammed the brakes. Fucked one of them up bad. Blew the rear window out, but the driver dude was a rich doctor, and didn’t care. And as they say in Scooby-Doo, he’d gotten away with it except a neo-pro recognized the driver dude from the news report and called the cops to say that same driver did it to him a few weeks before too.

    Driver tried to claim innocence, but lots of witnesses and now a documented past as well. He went to jail for a significant period of time.

  6. @michael
    Thanks Captain Obvious!

    I was adding to your comment rather than correcting it…

  7. @Oli

    You’re welcome. I wonder if the wheel was only damaged because it ran into the bb.

  8. @KTB
    That’s right.

  9. I remember that same photo from Winning. I really wish I hadn’t got rid of those…

  10. If I ever own a car, maybe it’ll be a Renault Nevada!

  11. If I ever own a car, maybe it’ll be a Renault Nevada!

  12. Frank,
    Not sure where I should post it so I’m firing it in here. I’m planning on being in the San Juan Islands shortly. Any good resources for riding on the islands? I hear there are some great routes and thought you might no of them since you live in the area.
    Thanks in advance,
    Neil

  13. Wow, I did just this two weeks ago. 35 stitches to the face later and I’m back on the bike!

  14. @cantona

    Frank,
    Not sure where I should post it so I’m firing it in here. I’m planning on being in the San Juan Islands shortly. Any good resources for riding on the islands? I hear there are some great routes and thought you might no of them since you live in the area.
    Thanks in advance,
    Neil

    Neil, just saw this. I’ll see what I can drum up. I’ve done some riding on Whidbey island and I know a guy who has the routes on that particular island worked out completely. Whidbey is quite a bit farther south than the official San Juan Islands, but San Juan island itself is a great, big island with lots of bike shops. I haven’t ridden on it myself, but I’ll do some investigation and see what I can find, at least to give you a starting point.

    You’re heading into one of the most beautiful parts of the world, by the way. Pack some raingear; even though it rains here, the beauty of the place is not diminished at all with some wet – you’ll still want to get out and do whatever it is you’re planning to do.

    Cheers mate!

  15. @brothersbutler

    Wow, I did just this two weeks ago. 35 stitches to the face later and I’m back on the bike!

    OUCH!!!! I did the same back in highschool. Bolting down the road and a car passes, then slams on their brakes to turn into a parking lot. These people aren’t trying to be malicious, they just don’t have a clue about cyclists. Glad to hear you’re back on the bike!

  16. @Pedale.Forchetta

    In contemporary cycling a rider like ‘Thor’ would never take part in a race like LBL,
    but those were different times with different riders.
    I’m happy to see his son in the peloton.

    Yeah, it’s amazing what the specialization has been doing. Back then, the Super-Prestige and other rankings meant a great deal more to the peloton than they do now, which encouraged riders to ride all the events.

    I haven’t seen Phillipe racing Roubaix (at least not at the front), but he does do the other cobbled classics as well as the Ardennes (and the Tour and the Summer classics and the Fall classics). But it’s a different class of rider.

    Even in 1985, Sean Kelly was third overall and won the green jersey. I’d like to see Cav get third overall. It’s hard to say what’s better for the sport and what’s worse for it, but this specialization doesn’t seem to do much for me. I’d rather see these guys battle it out, like they did in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s.

    Of course, I didn’t watch those races on the tele, so we’re back to reading about them and the distorted (if more magical) account of the events that brings. I have every reason to believe I wouldn’t have been a Merckx fan. I certainly wouldn’t have been an Anquetil fan. Louison Bobet, on the other hand? Yes, please.

  17. I have that photo up in the shop (er garage). Never know when shit’s going to happen.

  18. Davis has taken it in the face more than once:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFbSnACJA54

  19. @scaler911

    Davis has taken it in the face more than once:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFbSnACJA54

    I remember that…Mike Zanoli was an orangoutang. Phinney’s arms, man…you just don’t see guys built like that anymore, huh? Phinney was a big Nordic skier as well; I met him many, many times training on the Birkie trail in Wisconsin. LeMond, too. Both of them the nicest people on the planet.

  20. @frank
    Too cool! I would love to meet Lemond. I’ve only heard great things about him.

    As for Phil-Gil, he has “only” ridden P-R once and says that he will wait a few more years until he tries to win it. That is a tough one for me. I love him as a rider but cannot completely get behind him as he refuses, at presnt and for the last 4-5 years, to ride P-R.

    He says his next goal is to win MSR. For a Belgian, you’d think he’d want to win Flanders or Roubaix next.

  21. @frank
    Kelly never finished higher than 4th.

  22. Although of course he did win the Vuelta once…

  23. @Oli

    @frank
    Kelly never finished higher than 4th.

    How could I have possibly made that mistake? ’85 was the other badass Irishman’s chance for the podium…

    That fact doesn’t, however, change the point in the slightest. The Green Jersey was better this year than in a long time because Gilbert was fighting for it. Ever since it became the domain of the sprinters, it’s been as meaningless as the polka-dot jersey.

    Kelly, while a superbly fast finisher, was nowhere near the same kind of specialist as the Green Jersey contenders these days.

  24. @frank

    Thanks, Frank.
    I used to live in Vancouver so I know the beauty of the Pacific Northwest very well — can’t wait for the trip. Thanks for your help — don’t make too much of an effort. I was just wondering if you knew of anything offhand.
    Thanks again.

  25. @cantona

    @frank
    Thanks, Frank.
    I used to live in Vancouver so I know the beauty of the Pacific Northwest very well — can’t wait for the trip. Thanks for your help — don’t make too much of an effort. I was just wondering if you knew of anything offhand.
    Thanks again.

    Vancouver Canada, or Vantucky US of A? Just wonderin since I live in the latter.

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