coppini

The Weight of a Moniker

The Weight of a Moniker

by / / 41 posts

Young riders rise through the ranks with such promise. We all know the story; the rider who borrows a bicycle and enters a local race and wins. He decides he might be good at going batshit fast on a bike. Mom and Dad buy him a klunker for his birthday and he takes out a license. He starts winning most races he enters locally and rises to the regional level, then the national.

He has learned to deal with pain in a way most people could never imagine, and has come to understand that this – not his ability to smoothly turn the pedals – is his true talent in Cycling. To reach the next level, it’s time for sacrifice. He first stops eating cakes, then stops eating most things as he comes to the conclusion that every Cyclist comes to at one point or another: being heavy makes this sport even harder than it already is.

Then it’s off to the international level where he gains the attention of a Pro team and lands a contract. He takes well to Pro life and rises through the demanding ranks quite quickly. At a young age, he learns to look into the cold, deadly eyes of Bernard Hinault and stare back. He learns to hold the wheel of the most ruthless competitors in the world; he learns to drop them. He suffers like he’s never suffered before and thrives on it.

Then, in a flash, he finds himself on the world stage, in the limelight of one of the biggest races in the world. The public adores him for it. Then they predict his future success, and as quickly as it came, his greatness is crushed under the weight of expectation and he disappears first into the bunch and then into retirement.

Such was the case for poor Franco Chioccioli, cursed the moment his adoring fans named him Coppino, Little Coppi, after winning the 1991 Giro d’Italia

// Awesome Italian Guys // Folklore // Nostalgia

  1. That is a great photo.

  2. Better that reality than a drug-fueled Flandisy.

  3. Kinda like Axel M, no?

  4. @co-mo he was actually never touted as the next Merckx.  He chose that life willingly, which is one thing I really admire about him, that he knew the pressure coming in and that he’d never meet that expectation. But he wanted to be a cyclist for the love of it. Respect.

    Franco, otithe other hand, was a great rider with a magnificent stroke who happened to look like Coppi. Fucked.

    Ricco being touted the next Pantani.

    Any manner if Belgians being called the next Merckx.

    Ullrich the next great GT winner of his generation. That sort of thing.

  5. Nice article Frank. The photo is stunning, good find. I love the glint of the Rolls saddle in the gloom, and the sign on the right, in case the riders hadn’t figured it out, that this is teeth clenching steep.

  6. Excellent photo  frank. While certainly not a Coppi expert, he does look like him from behind. Long, skinny and a little awkward looking.

    It doesn’t seem to matter which sport, there is always someone or something (thinking of horses here) being touted as the next ……. Why do people do that?

  7. Aha…you beat me to it @Frank!  I read the Rouleur article last night about the Giro and he was mentioned in this context.  I was going to look him up because I am not familiar with him.  Perfect Timing!

  8. Sagan

  9. @il ciclista medio

    Excellent photo frank. While certainly not a Coppi expert, he does look like him from behind. Long, skinny and a little awkward looking.

    It doesn’t seem to matter which sport, there is always someone or something (thinking of horses here) being touted as the next ……. Why do people do that?

    We do that because there is no more powerful a communication device than the telling of stories. Heroes and villains, winners and losers, these are the characters that represent the forces of good and evil – the oldest stories that we know. Hopes and expectations. Disappointment and redemption. Comedy and tragedy. Life and death.

  10. @The Grande Fondue Andy Schleck.

  11. ‘its time for sacrifice.’

    Just don’t sacrifice that apostrophe for some weight savings.

  12. @TBONE

    ‘its time for sacrifice.’

    Just don’t sacrifice that apostrophe for some weight savings.

    Nice. And do, to indicate “ownership” That error is rampant. Rules are Rules!

  13. @Sauterelle A Schleck was supposed to be who? The next Charley Gaul? I’d say he achieved that. I don’t think anyone every said he’d be the next Merckx or anything. When he was young Contador was supposed to be the next Armstrong.

    Now, of course, he’s riding like a crybaby.

  14. Then and still today he seemed to me a rider of other times, not at ease in the years in which he competed.

    And this has nothing to do with its resemblance to Fausto Coppi.

  15. He runs a Bed and Breakfast now by the looks of it:

    http://www.agriturismolagreppia.it/

  16. When looking at the era in which he was competing, one can only wonder if he was less crushed under the weight of expectation, and more did not jump on the doping train.

  17. @frank This article photo was defiled with a crappy Photoshop job. Duplicate mud tracks all over!

  18. @motor city Look closer. Photoshop!

  19. @frank

    Ullrich the next great GT winner of his generation. That sort of thing.

    Side note, I’ve secured a short sleeved 1998 Telekom jersey to compliment my long sleeved one. In the late ’90s when I turned up a local road races sporting said jersey I’d be asked if I was related to him, sometimes I played along.

    We don’t need another Merckx or Coppi, we need another Anquetil. Sorely.

  20. @unversio

    @frank This article photo was defiled with a crappy Photoshop job. Duplicate mud tracks all over!

    Where does it say he is leading the stage? There may have been several gruppetto through before him. There is a least one up the road and plenty of spectators who may have ridden up.

  21. I think what universio is referring to are the obvious photoshop artifacts where another rider or two were erased from the image using the clone tool. To the right of Coppino, and at the bottom right of the photo, there are duplicated areas, repeating patterns of what should be random.

  22. for instance:

  23. Wow, yet another cyclist I hadn’t yet heard of. Thanks, Frank! Wonderful lead photo too.

    It would be interesting to talk to a person who has hit such highs (If I win a Grand Tour, I’m calling it a career) and yet is probably mostly remembered as not living up to his talents & potential. Or, had he in fact already punched beyond them and should be remembered for doing as much as he could with what he had? I wonder if he feels proud or has regrets?

    Probably like all of us, some of each. My college sporting career didn’t go to plans, through what I think were external forces, and I think I’ll always wonder how I could have done more to reach my own potential.

  24. @pistard no entirely sure how that ‘ruins’ the photo…granted it may not be the original version but it still looks pretty awesome. Quick google image search does indeed show he could easily have been Coppi’s doppelganger.

  25. @Mikael Liddy It’s not that something like that ruins a photo but it changes your perception.

    I don’t know where this one came from or who altered it and why – but when I look at it in the context of this article I see a man alone, chasing another, maybe catching him, maybe losing him, dealing with his own demons and angels, facing the mist of uncertainty.

    Put other rides in the photo and the context is very different – he is one of a number, maybe he only gets there by riding on their wheels, perhaps it calls his success into question or maybe he still stands out as the patron in the maglia rosa and we think of what might have been.

    It’s more a matter of knowing and understanding why something like that has been done. What if that photo of Merckx and de Vlaeminck on The Rules was photoshopped to add the dirt and cobbles. Would it be the same if they were riding on tarmac ?

    This photo may have been used unknowingly and innocently here but certainly when it comes to professional/commercial magazines and websites personally I think they should make alterations clear, otherwise they are deceiving the reader.

  26. @Mikael Liddy I wasn’t suggesting that it ruined that photo. I didn’t even think much of it until @universio pointed it out. Same photo is on Cyclingnews.com, so perhaps that’s when/where it was photoshopped. May not have been to remove another rider, maybe just hamfisted cleanup… Here’s another shot from what looks like the same climb.

  27. @ChrisO agree, having the other riders, surely someone has the original shot, in the picture changes everything, why the hell you’d remove ‘em? WTF? I wanna know who was there? Was it a Sky Train helping him along, or a posse of challengers forcing a selection?

    Broke my heart when National Geographic was caught out photo shopping…

    Right from the very beginning of photography we have altered the images I wonder why?

  28. @piwakawaka

    @ChrisO agree, having the other riders, surely someone has the original shot, in the picture changes everything, why the hell you’d remove ‘em? WTF? I wanna know who was there? Was it a Sky Train helping him along, or a posse of challengers forcing a selection?

    Broke my heart when National Geographic was caught out photo shopping…

    Right from the very beginning of photography we have altered the images I wonder why?

    It might just have been the head of the moto driver that was removed…

    I think the photo is from ’88 on the Gavia, just before things got really bad, so maybe that’s Hampsten in front of Chioccioli?

  29. Remember, a hero is always just an upgrade away from a zero.

  30. Here is a photo of me (with the hair) circa 1986…

    …If you look at the ground/shadows in between the “doubles” (the two mounds that we are jumping from and to for all you non-BMX types out there) you can see the same “cloning” as in this article’s header image so the photo was obviously Photoshopped.  Yes it was.  In fact, it was I who did it.  Why?  Well, the original print version of this photo was taped to the peg board of my workbench when I worked at a bike shop bitd and there were all these little white marks on the photo where a crescent wrench that was hanging over the photo had banged around on it.  I just wanted to get rid of the marks. Also, if you look really closely to the left of my back wheel you can see where I “shopped” out my ex-wife who happened to be standing in the infield of the track when this photo what taken.  So unless we have another version of the article’s header photo for comparison we really don’t know why the image was shopped and are left with speculation.  Just my two cents.

  31. @piwakawaka

    @ChrisO agree, having the other riders, surely someone has the original shot, in the picture changes everything, why the hell you’d remove ‘em? WTF? I wanna know who was there? Was it a Sky Train helping him along, or a posse of challengers forcing a selection?

    Broke my heart when National Geographic was caught out photo shopping…

    Right from the very beginning of photography we have altered the images I wonder why?

    Because we want reality to be better than it is?

  32. Only problem that I noticed was that Franco’s image had had a bad Photoshop retouching. Shame.

  33. 1988 Gavia. Incredible.

  34. @unversio

    All I can think of when I see that is how much that poor frame must have been flexing under the weight of Bernard churning that big ring over like that! AWESOME!

  35. first: sorry for falling off the back, its been a while since running with group, so I for one am glad to be able to simply read a little…damn work…

    second: great article Frank.  It reminds me of a few things.  First, as cyclists we are really an optimistic group, and we like it that way, for instance, we all see at various distances in the future (some dare say now) & see a PRO peloton that is racing clean…thats optimisim.  We all suffer like our Father, with a glimpse of hope that we too will for just one day, ride flying on the Muur and perhaps, just perhaps do something special one day.  That friends is optimism.  The neo-PRO, we are optimistic just the same, however, I must interject that there are Rules and exceptions to the Rule.   The Rule is: nobody will ride like Merckx ever again nor win 525 times.   Many come up the ranks like mentioned, with subtlty and a purity of talent only to be swallowed up by expectations and what I term the ‘game’.   It is exceptional when one does rise and takes it, with an iron fist, a slam of the beer on the table and the panache of Pantani rising. 

    How many times indeed we set up the neo-PRO as the exception when really they are the Rule

    We are optimistic however, and cannot nor will not change this.  I hope.

  36. @unversio

    Only problem that I noticed was that Franco’s image had had a bad Photoshop retouching. Shame.

    Maybe Stalin and Kim Jong Little Un could learn some lessons off this.

    Mind you one of them would have to be not dead to learn the lessons.

  37. @the Engine

    @unversio

    Only problem that I noticed was that Franco’s image had had a bad Photoshop retouching. Shame.

    Maybe Stalin and Kim Jong Little Un could learn some lessons off this.

    Mind you one of them would have to be not dead to learn the lessons.

    I have a great book at home: The Commissar Vanishes. It’s basically a survey of all the “photoshopping” Stalin did during his reign of terror. By today’s standards it’s often crude, but you have to remember most of the images in question were produced in B&W, on cheap paper and to a population to ignorant or scared to bring the issue up. “Hey, whatever happened to Trotsky? Wasn’t he standing at the foot of the lectern when Lenin spoke in St. Petersburg?” was not a question that could be asked without repercussions.

    Interestingly, in one picture taken in Red Square, not only do a couple of people “disappear” but some trash lying around goes too!

    Stalin, Kim Jong Il, Mao and the rest of those scum would have had a field day with photoshop.

  38. 1991 Giro d’Italia.


    Inspiringly awesome.

  39. @Cyclops +1 for rad BMX stylin, +1 for elegant explanation for ‘shopping

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