Didi Thurau, front and center

Didi Thurau, front and center

Son of a Gun

by / / 21 posts

I have gone off before about choosing your parents wisely. I wish I had been paying more attention as a youth when those options were discussed.

When I saw Bjorn Thurau in the break in Amstel Gold I thought, damn, that kid is tall, he is like mini-Phinney. He is in more ways that one; his dad is Dietrich “Didi” Thurau. This is another kid who has chosen his parents well, certainly his dad. Didi Thurau was the golden boy from Germany on the mighty TI-Raleigh juggernaught of the 1970s.

Both the professional men’s and women’s squads have riders with famous parents. Roxanne Knetemann, I assume of noble birth. There are a few Van der Poels, a Roche, a Van Hooydonk, a Battaglin (?) and from the US, besides the mini-Phinney, Peter Stetina. It makes perfect sense, many kids go into the the family business. And probably no better or no worse than other parents encouraging a child to do what they did. Son, you could do worse than accounting…thanks, Da.

Lord knows being Axel Merckx can’t have been a lot of fun. He had a solid professional career but it would have been impossible to ride out from under that huge shadow no matter how good he was. Mini-Phinney, with his super-hybrid genes, should be out-riding everyone in a road race then adding another 100 meters with a terrific solo sprint. That is, if genes were everything. Sean Kelly may have had some genetically endowed fast-twitch legs but it was the single minded willingness to sacrifice all parts of a comfortable normal life to be a serious professional cyclist. Was that handed down or just there, waiting to blossom?

I’ve got no answers, as usual, but as much as I would love to have ass kicking genes, I don’t, but I can’t let that deter me from always enjoying riding, training and suffering. That’s what any cyclist does, it doesn’t get easier, some just go faster.

// Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. not forgetting the slightly disappointing Rick Zabel

  2. ..ooooh, and the slightly disappointing Gary Wiggins.

  3. the only genes i got were used Levis. and they didn’t even fit.

  4. @Kay_Jay

    Indeed, slightly disappointing Zabel, I put him in a VSP and he DNF’d on me. I guess there is a Duclose Lassalle out there too. It would be tough to have a badass cycling dad.

  5. Look at those riders in the photo. Regard the arms and legs; fucking guys were built like bulls. Power to weight, bahhhh!

  6. Matthieu van der Poel, ridiculous gene doping:

    Born in Kapellen – located in the Antwerp province of Belgium – Van der Poel comes from a family of professional cyclists; his brother David is also prominent in cyclo-cross racing, winning the 2013 national under-23 championships in Hilvarenbeek.[5] His father, Adri, was a six-time national champion and won the world title in 1996; he was also a two-time stage winner at the Tour de France and a winner of severalClassics during his career.[2] His maternal grandfatherRaymond Poulidor,[6] a French cyclist, was a Grand Tourwinner at the 1964 Vuelta a España and finished the Tour de France in a runner-up position five times during his career.[7]

  7. @Gianni

    Look at those riders in the photo. Regard the arms and legs; fucking guys were built like bulls. Power to weight, bahhhh!

    Strength, strength and more strength. Just don’t put any hills in the way.

  8. There is also the very disappointing Roche and the even more disappointing Hinault. Bet that kid copped some punches to the head, but has never been pushed off (or near) a podium, much to dad’s disgust.

  9. @Bossanove

    Yes, it IS gene doping, innit?

  10. @Gianni @brett

    Genes and heritage are one thing. The will and mind set to follow it through are a completely separate issue however intrinsic to making it big.

    Both my parents were/are excellent sportspeople, Tennis in particular, at which I also excelled, however my mindset held me back from a serious career.

    Maybe the ones that make it on the world stage also have a single focused and insular mindset whereby nothing else matters. (insert clip of Metallica )

  11. @brett

    Are you talking about Sébastien Hinault? If so, he’s no relation to Bernard. I’m fairly confident in saying that neither of the Badger’s boys are bike racing in any sort of serious fashion.

  12. @Oli

    @brett

    Are you talking about Sébastien Hinault? If so, he’s no relation to Bernard. I’m fairly confident in saying that neither of the Badger’s boys are bike racing in any sort of serious fashion.

    Damn, trust someone to prove me wrong with facts.

  13. @Oli

    @brett

    Are you talking about Sébastien Hinault? If so, he’s no relation to Bernard. I’m fairly confident in saying that neither of the Badger’s boys are bike racing in any sort of serious fashion.

    Well, I’m pretty sure it IS his son, and he was so ashamed of him not winning anything he disowned him and denied any knowledge of his existence, and forbade the other two from going anywhere near a bicycle, unless they wanted a punch in the head.

  14. Maybe kinder Zabel was being held back by the shame associated with that yellow thing around his wrist.

  15. @brett

    Okay, we’ll go with that then.

  16. Or how about the two brothers Danny and Boy van Poppel? Both professional cyclists; both sons of the mid-eighties-to-mid-nineties sprinting missile Jean-Paul van Poppel. As for their mother, Leontine van der Lienden? An Olympic cyclist in 1984, FFS. Genetic doping indeed.

    Nice one, Gianni!

  17. @ErikdR

    ..and Jean Paul and Miriam Melchers have some gene dopage potential for sure.

  18. @Oli

    @brett

    Are you talking about Sébastien Hinault? If so, he’s no relation to Bernard. I’m fairly confident in saying that neither of the Badger’s boys are bike racing in any sort of serious fashion.

    Hinault’s sons are called Alexandre and Mickael. Smart boys who chose other professions than the one their father pursued. Impossible to live up to what their pere accomplished. Nigel Kelly also picked another profession.

  19. @Barracuda

    @Gianni @brett

    Genes and heritage are one thing. The will and mind set to follow it through are a completely separate issue however intrinsic to making it big.

    Both my parents were/are excellent sportspeople, Tennis in particular, at which I also excelled, however my mindset held me back from a serious career.

    Maybe the ones that make it on the world stage also have a single focused and insular mindset whereby nothing else matters. (insert clip of Metallica )

    Lucky you. me: father-accountant, mother-mother, thus my constant cursing of the gods of genetic-doping.

    @ErikdR

    Or how about the two brothers Danny and Boy van Poppel? Both professional cyclists; both sons of the mid-eighties-to-mid-nineties sprinting missile Jean-Paul van Poppel. As for their mother, Leontine van der Lienden? An Olympic cyclist in 1984, FFS. Genetic doping indeed.

    Nice one, Gianni!

    Shiet, of course, I forgot about the van Poppels. Especially, Boy. What do we name this one? I dunno, what is it? Boy. Close enough.

  20. My dad was an excellent sportsman; playing decent amateur standard football, rugby, cricket etc etc. Think he was also alright at golf. I sadly, inherited none of his co-ordination and dexterity, but what I did get were the fast-twitch muscles that also made him a good sprinter.

    Unsurprisingly, I’m good at sports which require explosive strength but not too much of an emphasis on co-ordination; rock climbing, cycling.

  21. I didn’t realize until just last week that Stetina is from the gene doping pool. Was reading an article on the Mini Indy 500 race.

    My father grew up working and had little time for sports. Welding and working on cars from his early teens. He did make a pretty good athlete later in life, took up tennis in his 30s and played ice hockey well into his 60s. I think I got solid genes and maximized what I was given to work with. That said, when you play against truly blessed folks, you realize that if you were considerably taller and stronger…things would be even easier.

    Oh well, now that my favorite sport isn’t nearly as size-related, I’m fine being Gerrans-sized.

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