Friday, January 06, 2006

Jacques Anquetil

Let me just start by saying that I'm no expert on cycling history. As a matter of fact, I bet 9 out of 10 people would know more about it than I do. I do, however, find the "golden era" to be very interesting and fascinating, for better and for worse.

Anquetil's merits on the road are unquestionable and very impressive. I know what you are thinking - wasn't he riding around in a constant drug induced haze? Yes, probably. But like it or not, he did shape the history of cycling for a very long time.

Today, I wanted to address his merits off the road. His family and love life was very unusual, even for a French Tour star. He had an affair, and eventually married, his doctor's wife. Now, nothing really unusual about that, right? I mean, that happens all the time. What does not happen quite as often is what follows next; Anquetil wanted to have children and although his wife didn't share his enthusiasm, it didn't deter Jacques the least bit. Oh, no.

He managed to convince his wife that he should have a child with his 18-year old step-daughter. The plan was dutifully executed and Anquetil got his daughter (or would that be grand-daughter? I'm a bit confused myself...).

As if that wasn't enough, Anquetil went on to have an affair with his step-son's wife as well. Another child resulted from that.

So, next time you read in a cycling magazine that Anquetil was boring, cold and calculated as a rider - you know better. He might have been boring on the bike, but he sure was "colorful" off the bike...


Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Excellent story. I frequently forget how colorful a life he lead...

As for your Bianchi vs Masi question... compelling arguments can be made for both.

Here's my "official" sales pitch;
we run a longer top tube length than most folks do. This does a couple of different things. It brings your weight back over the rear wheel for better power transfer. This also gets your weight off of the front wheel, which greatly improves front end handling. That means that the steering feels very "light" and agile. Diving through turns on a twisty descent has never been more fun... trust me on this one. However, since your weight is back, this quick steering doesn't feel twitchy because your aren't overweighting the front wheel. 9 times out of 10, when somebody tells me that a bike feels twitchy, I can trace it back to front end handling and a long stem that puts a rider's weight too far forward. Some people prefer that, but I've always felt better on a bike with a long top tube and short stem- just handles better in my opinion.

Ok, that's enough sales talk...

Blogger mags said...


Thanks for the sales pitch. :) Masi sounds interesting.



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