The early eighties saw the tide change in the European Peloton. Components were taking on a new, curvy shape as they left their boxy forms behind. The glint of toe clips in the sun would become a rarer sight as the move towards clipless pedals would take hold in 1985. English speakers were winning the big races classically won by continental Pros.
The 1984 Tour could be my favorite edition of the race. In 1983, the rookie Laurent Fignon had won in the absence of Le Patron, Bernard Hinault. The 1984 race saw the two go head-to-head, with Fignon becoming the one and only person in history to have laughed at Hinault and lived. He did more than live, he won. The new guard was here, and they were making their presence known.
This photo is from the stage to l’Alpe d’Huez. LeMond was riding in support of Fignon, and Robert Millar, in his second Tour, was leading the King of the Mountains competition, which he would eventually win. Millar wrote an account of this stage in Issue 13 of Rouleur, which everyone should make an effort to find a copy of. He describes the attacks that come fast and furious on the penultimate climb in such vivid detail, it makes my guns ache. But worse than that is his and LeMonds effort to hold on to Fignon and Hinault’s wheels in the ride through the valley to Le Bourg d’Oisans and the base of the final climb. It is the perfect description of the suffering of the Cyclist. LeMond, in service to his leader, is on the front one moment as he reels Hinault in after an attack, before being cast into the gutter and the back wheel a moment later when the next attack comes.
Just as 1984 was a watershed moment in the Pro peloton, 2013 is a watershed year for the VSP. This year we are offering five amazing prizes from five amazing partners.
First prize is a Veloforma Strada iR road frame, painted in an exclusive Velominati color scheme with the newly-designed Velominati Super Prestige logo. Please note that this is a brand-spankin’ new frame for Veloforma. The geometry can be reviewed here.
Second prize is a pair of Café Roubaix carbon tubular wheels. The winner of this prize will be given the choice between the sub-1000g Haleakala wheels or a road version of my beloved Arenberg wheelset. As an additional incentive, anyone who enters their picks in the Tour VSP will get a $200 discount on any wheelset at Café Roubaix.
Third prize is a pair of Bont cycling shoes. The winner of this prize will be assisted in selecting the size, color, and model of shoe.
Many thanks to each of our sponsors for providing such exciting prizes.
Enter your picks for the top five riders on G.C. by the time the countdown clock goes to zero; Grand Tour scoring rules apply. Check the mapping of your picks by the end of Stage 1 and use the dispute system should it be mapped incorrectly.
We will be enforcing Piti Principle rules much more closely. We will be accepting pick disputes through the start of Stage 2. After that, it will be at The Keepers’ discretion as to whether or not we allow the dispute. If your pick is ambiguous and we map them to the wrong rider, make sure you check your disputes before the deadline; we may reject the dispute after that time. For example, should both Tony and Dan Martin take the start and you enter “Martin” as your pick, we will pick one for you and you will have to live with it if you forget to dispute it before the deadline.
Good luck, and Merckxspeed.
Update: This is the same paint scheme that the winner will have, except the VSP Winner’s Badge will be replacing the V-Lion.