Anatomy of a Photo: Pascal Lino 1990

Aero, but not as we know it. Photo: Michael Hinkins

As Frank mentioned in his response to the Evanescent Riders piece on Pascal Lino, there is a modicum of research that accompanies the relics of my memory to bring the riders and races of the 90s back to life.  Whilst trawling the interwebs for usable images, I came across this awesome shot of our latest subject matter from the 1990 Tour de France.

Usually, poaching an image is pretty simple, and while we try to credit the source wherever possible, sometimes there is just no information available and we take our chances and post away, fearing the knock of the Copyright Reaper on the door of the V Chapel at any moment.  But to secure this particular image, there was no way we were getting it from the Flickr account of its owner without going through the proper channels.  An email exchange ensued, and with no fanfare or drama we had our photo, and the back-story of how it came about.

Canadian Michael Hinkins was backpacking through Europe in 1990, and managed to witness a couple of Tour stages, including the Stage 12 Time Trial.  He takes up the tale:

I started the day in Fontaine watching the riders leave the start, and looked around the pit area. I met a group of fellow Canadians who were doing a cycling tour and hitched a ride with their support van to a small village part way along the route. Unfortunately, I have no idea of the village name, though looking at a map it could have been Lans en Vercors. I took a few photos as the riders raced through the village (this is one) and then wandered past the village into the adjacent farm lands just in time to catch Greg LeMond (I think he was 3 in GC at the time).  Ronan Pensec was wearing the Maillot Jaune at the start of the day. [For the record, Erik Breukink won the stage from Delgado and Indurain, with Lino in 59th.

At the end of the stage I had no idea where I was but managed to hitch a ride back to Fontaine. Being the days of film, I had no idea what the photos were going to be like and it wasn’t until about  3 weeks later when I was in Stuttgart, were there was a Kodak lab, that I had the film processed and was able to check the images.

We think you’ll agree that he got a great shot with this one.  The feeling of pure speed, the sense of a hot day as Lino squeezes the last liquid from his bidon, and of course the great symmetry between rider and machine, and the equipment choices of the era.

No fancy carbon fibre aerofoil bikes, just a simple steel frame with a radically forward-sloping top tube, a shorter fork for the 650c front wheel, and a strategically bent seat tube and ultra-short chainstays to tuck the rear wheel in as far as possible under the rider.  Standard road bars shod with an early example of aero bars, positioned so high that any wind-cheating advantage given by the low front end is almost seemingly nullified.  No helmet, no gloves, cool shoes (Time, Carnac?), big shades (Oakley, Carrera?), Rolls saddle, skinsuit, matching yellow socks; the look is pure pro, pure class, pure awesome.

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19 Replies to “Anatomy of a Photo: Pascal Lino 1990”

  1. Speed and flexibility: when you’re tucked so deep and rolling so hard your knees finish a TT before your shoulders do.

    Yoga can suck it.

  2. This photo is one of the best examples of Cycling Cool that I can come up with. That groupo is the very cool Mavic SSC group; the sedond most beautiful ever to grace a bicycle. While the breakset and levers are second only to Campy’s Record, the SSC crankset displayed here is the most beautiful ever, even better than the Record crank of the same era. That headset is worth killing over; after all, what a little jail time if you’ve got that puppy locked into your 1″ steerer?

    The rear cluster is tiny, the skewer positioned perfectly…this is what we are all talking about. And look at that Magnificent Stroke! The position! Even the handlebar wrap is of the finest grade, second only to the Benotto tape of the day.

    Shallow rims, metal spokes. It doesn’t get cooler than this.

    Those could be Oakley Blades, but I think he might have worn the Carreras made popular by his team mate Charley Motet.

  3. @frank
    Yeah, wasn’t sure on the Blades or the shoes, but I knew someone (more than likely you, big fella) would come up with the goods.

  4. @Brett
    Ah, the shoes. I’ll let Jarvis chip in here, but I’m not sure Time ever made a grey pair; I have a feeling he’s riding Carnacs, a pair of shoes I always coveted, but never owned.

    I think that might also be a rare aero Coca-cola waterbottle he’s sipping from from, not the usual round ones.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. 1990 was the cresting of the cool wave, if you ask me. Great piece, great photo!

  5. @frank

    In my original draft, I stated that he was squeezing a Coke bidon; but then I noticed the aero cage, and how the bottom of the bidon is not round.

    Some edits on glasses and shoes coming up!

  6. Time did make grey shoes, the “Classique” which was the ’92 shoe in all grey. But those aren’t Time as they only have one strap over the tongue. Fairly certain that Lino rode Carnac shoes, a brand that I’ve had a loathe/hate consideration of since the start, until I saw Sylvain’s shoes, but that’s for another time. Michaels suggestion has given me some doubt, but until I have full evidence I’ll stick with Carnac.

    The gasses, I think they’re Razor Blades, although the shadow of doubt is that kink of the hammer-arm looks too close to the lens.

  7. @Uli
    Awesome link, mate! Thanks for that. Those new Carnac’s graced these pages recently and that new shoe is definitely worth a resounding chapeau.

    I share your comments about the blue/yellow Carnac’s LeMond wore. Those babies were sweet. Around the same time, Sidi came out with their first blue shoe, the Royal Blue Sidi Genius. That thing was money. After I met my Velomihottie, we went for a ride together and she appeared clad in that specific pair of Sidis. Add that to the fact that she also owned the Star Wars trilogy and I was done.

  8. @frank
    I owned a pair of Sidi Genius 2 in blue, but only because the white ones weren’t available in the UK. But they weren’t Sidi’s first blue shoe:

  9. @frank

    After I met my Velomihottie, we went for a ride together and she appeared clad in that specific pair of Sidis. Add that to the fact that she also owned the Star Wars trilogy and I was done.

    It’s late on Sunday evening. I had a good 90km / 1,000m ride in light drizzle today where my legs finally answered some questions I’ve been asking them for a while. I’ve had a bottle of really good burgundy with some homemade pesto. Although I have to get up at 5am to catch the Eurostar to Brusselles and I want a good nights sleep, I check in online… And then I read this. Sidis and Star Wars… was there ever two such star-crossed lovers? Always a sucker for boy meets girl, I salute you. A perfect Sunday. Awesome photo Brett. Truly awesome.

  10. @Uli

    They might be Look shoes. As a long time Carnac wearer I’m not convinced Lino’s are, in that photo. Carnacs usually have two wide straps(except for later tri models).

    When I first bought my black Lemonds I thought I had died and gone to hebben. From the floppy soft Diadoras I own previous, the Carnacs were stiff like ski boots and fit like a kangaroo skin condom(?). I found a yellow and blue pair in a dusty box in a shop and was Chris Boardman for a while. I wore the shiet out of two pairs and only put the second pair down in about 2008. snifff.
    Why did I take this photo? I can’t imagine, maybe because I loved my Carnacs.

  11. Interesting bike geometry in particular when one now sees more vertical seat tubes on TT bikes… Totally the opposite here.

  12. OK, so I’ve heard from the man himself, Pascal…

    The shoes and glasses in the photo are…

    Carnacs and Oakleys.

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