Anatomy of a Photo: Fausto Coppi

Anatomy of a Photo: Fausto Coppi

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A lot has been made lately of the fact that riders today are lacking a little bit of the V. It’s not so much a criticism of how they conduct themselves during a race (although that has also been called into question lately), but in their general demeanor towards their life as a cyclist.

It doesn’t surprise me much; historically, riders chose a life on the bike as an escape from their other occupational choice which typically involved hard manual labor in a dark pit or on a cold field whereas today’s riders generally come from more privileged backgrounds and find their way into this world from a life of relative luxury.

A life of hardship went beyond their working-class roots, it applied to their life on the bike as well.  They scaled the same passes we do today, except they did it over dirt roads aboard heavy, flexy bikes with relaxed geometries, wearing what amounted to little more than leather loafers. Hardness wasn’t something to aspire to; it was simply the way it was.

This is one of my favorite photos of a cyclist, and the bicycle is nowhere to be seen. From the look on his face, Coppi just ate himself a Schlecklette and, based on the gesture he’s making, is preparing to drop trou and shit ‘im right back out.

To put Cipollini’s sentiments above into Coppi’s words:

Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.

To todays generation of riders, I offer this advice: take no prisoners, fucktards.

// Anatomy of a Photo

  1. In 2008 I remember going crazy at the TV when Cadel’s best hope for support, Popovych went all the way in the break on Stage 16. The next day he was AWOL when Cadel got worked over by the Schlecks and lost all that time to Sastre on Alpe d’Huez. Cost him the Tour in my opinion.

    In 2009 it was Van den Broeck’s turn – going up the road on Stage 15 while his team leader lost something like 3 minutes in the GC. I think that was a DS call but not sure.

    There’s no question that he wasn’t well supported. But there’s a lot to be said about being an appointed leader and actually being a leader. He’s got better at faking social skills now so maybe the crew at BMC will lay it on the line for him…

  2. Nice piece frank.

    this “Hardness wasn’t something to aspire to; it was simply the way it was.” sums up for me the difference in era’s.

    Does anyone else feel that the commercialisation of the sport, while necessary in allowing it to develop and morph into what it is today, has also played a part in the decline of the Hardman?

    Oh yeah, I’m in – cuddles, cuddles, cuddles

  3. But what is that paddle thing in jacket man’s pocket?

  4. @frank
    C’mon man, just compare their palmares. Being the TT champion of Luxemburg, wearing yellow for a few days, and being gifted a few stages in the tour doesn’t stack up to what Cadel has done. Yes, Cadel is/was probably capable of more but he’s way more accomplished and way more fun to watch race.

    The Schlecks are hyped up a bit and now with team management responsibilities on top of team leadership responsibilities they need results that haven’t happened. The most fun I’ve had watching Andy race was stage 3 last year when he made the selection on the pave, thanks to Faboo. But who else was there on his own? Yup, Cuddles.

  5. @Marko
    Three Grand Tour second places, the biggest classic win, Amstel, and stage wins is quite a list (both brothers wore yellow, btw). Sorry, but Cuddles doesn’t have anything more than that, despite a much longer career. I’m not saying the Schlecks are tactical geniuses – if they were there would be more wins. I’m just saying that if anything, the Schlecks/Cuddles are rowing the same boat…

  6. @frank
    Lets not forget Andy has a LBL win under his belt.

  7. @Marko

    @Mikeweb
    A couple of weeks ago there was a article where he was bemoaning his AGR2 days. He was also saying it was the team that held him back. Thor needs to be re-educated in The V.

  8. great foto Frank!

    sorry for the belated entry, work is killin me.

    I look at this and see a man who is pissed beyond measure. other passer byers asking ‘what happened’…he doesn’t even hear them. He’s pissed. Missed opportunity, perhaps Gino cooked him, perhaps he had a mechanical, whatever… it mattered none because he’s pissed, didn’t hit pay dirt and won’t be taking anything home despite the suffering…and missed opportunity.

    when those MEN didn’t win, they didn’t eat.

    Beautiful foto, i have never seen that one frank.

  9. frank :
    @MarkoThree Grand Tour second places, the biggest classic win, Amstel, and stage wins is quite a list (both brothers wore yellow, btw). Sorry, but Cuddles doesn’t have anything more than that, despite a much longer career. I’m not saying the Schlecks are tactical geniuses – if they were there would be more wins. I’m just saying that if anything, the Schlecks/Cuddles are rowing the same boat…

    Not to be too argumentative but Cuddles has the rainbow bands on his sleeve. And when did Andy win Flanders or Paris-Roubaix (you said something about winning the “biggest classic, right? :)

  10. @Buck Rogers
    He has a LBL win in 2009. That is pretty big.

  11. @SupermanSam
    GREAT photo! I had not seen that one! Thanks for posting it!

  12. RedRanger :
    @Buck RogersHe has a LBL win in 2009. That is pretty big.

    Yes, I know that. My point is that Flanders and P-R, in my opinion, are the #1 & #2 (in no particular order) “biggest classics”. Mostly said in jest as it would be a worthy thread to discuss which ONE classic is the “biggest” to win. L-B-L might be the oldest but I would rather have a Flanders or P-R win than 2+ L-B-L wins!

  13. @Buck Rogers

    Not to be too argumentative but Cuddles has the rainbow bands on his sleeve. And when did Andy win Flanders or Paris-Roubaix (you said something about winning the “biggest classic, right? :)

    That would be Liege; La Doyenne. Cuddles won the Worlds, but so did Ballan, Astarloa, Vainsteins, Brochard, Leblanc, and Dhaenens. Winning the bands doesn’t make you a good rider. Riding the way he did last year while wearing the bands does. And he put in quite a ride today.

    At the end of the day, both Andy and Cuddles are riders with potential who have not yet reached it. They both have good results under the belt and both are lacking the goods to really put their name on the map.

    Beyond that, it’s a pissing match between mancrushes and nationalists who are eager for a GT win; both parties try to turn a good rider into something they’re not. That is all.

  14. Not to add fuel to the Schleck/Cuddles debate here (though it is an interesting two-on-two discussion (good C, bad C)), but do any conspiracy theorists see money being exchanged at LBL for the Schleck-express to the line for Gilbert?

  15. @Buck Rogers

    Yes, I know that. My point is that Flanders and P-R, in my opinion, are the #1 & #2 (in no particular order) “biggest classics”. Mostly said in jest as it would be a worthy thread to discuss which ONE classic is the “biggest” to win. L-B-L might be the oldest but I would rather have a Flanders or P-R win than 2+ L-B-L wins!

    I agree with you, but I think conventionally LBL is considered the most prestigious race, though I would take RVV or PR any day and think they’re much better/cooler/harder races.

    LBL arguably has the most competitive field, with far more riders who compete for the win, as compared to RVV and PR in particular, which only suits a small number or riders.

  16. G’phant:

    Netraam :
    Tell me how you beat Cunego in an uphill sprint without tactics, especially if your name is Fränk Schleck.

    EUR 5,000 ?

    Masterclass. Funny as fuck. Cunego could do a handstand and steer with his feet while pedaling with his hands and beat Fränk in a sprint.

    Note: Fränk attacked way before the sprint; he left him behind on the slopes a few kms from the line. Cunego ain’t that kinda climber. The cash payment I’m sure helped, but avoiding the sprint helped make it more believable.

  17. @frank
    Yeah, I was just throwing some gas on the fire to enliven things a bit! But Cuddles not only has the bands, he has two GT second place finishes as well, unlike “Ballan, Astarloa, Vainsteins, Brochard, Leblanc, and Dhaenens.” (Just a little more fuel :)

    Time for a RIDE, BABY!!! See you in 3 hours.

  18. Speaking of Cuddles

    Something I whipped up in Photoshop a few months back.

  19. holy crap…

  20. @Cyclops
    Well Cuddles does have a thing for doggie’s….

  21. But the cock ring is on the wrong appendage??

  22. @Oli Brooke-White
    AHHHHH, MY EYES!!!!! This thread has gone SOOOOOO WRONGGGGG on so many levels!!!

  23. Is there a huge stitched gash running on the inside of Coppi’s left leg in this photo? I wonder if some recent fall or injury explains why he is striding in a coat instead of with a bike. The guns and attitude conveyed in the photo are a wonder to behold. Any idea when and where the photo was taken?

  24. @David
    No gash. That’s V-juice from firing off his glorious guns. It happens, sometimes.

  25. I’m thinking Hoogerland displayed plenty of The V today. Thrown into a barbed wire fence at 60km/h and still finished the stage? That’s an application of rule V even Coppi would appreciate.

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