It is a reminder of all the forgotten names and epic rides that happened over the last twenty years. As I was reading it, I started googling some of the riders names and the races to look back. Then I noticed how much warmer, hotter, tanned all the riders looked and how much more pro they seem to look despite their baggy ill-fitted leaders jerseys.
I think it has something to do with that lack of digital advancements or the fact we've all moved on so now images from the nineties seem almost unusual. Or perhaps they just bring back happy memories of when I first discovered these races and watching VHS repeats purchased from Bromley Video.
Here are my favourite cycling images from 1991 to 1999.
|Fondriest at the 1994 Kellogg's Tour of Britain (by Geoff Waugh)|
I like Maurizo's simple green jersey and tired chiselled face.
Why: Cycling is clearly Richard (the cheat) Virenque's only vice and without that he's not really got much. Even after the huge Festina scandal of 1998 he remained the darling of French cycling fans, but right now in this picture his world has just collapsed. He once said "I soon realised that I didn't have the brain to be anything but a racing cyclist."
Why: The French police seized lots of drugs from Festina team car before the start of the race. Some days later TVM's team trucks and rooms were raided and masking agent found. The riders decided to hold a protest at the way they were being treated. Some wanted to race, some didn't. Minor scuffles broke out.
|Virenque in tears after his team was ejected from the 1998 Tour de France|
|Marco Pantani sits in protest at the start of stage 12 of the 1998 Tour de France|
This shot is great because it is the one that is always used when anyone references 'Festina Affair'. Poor little Marco Pantani looks despondent, this is supposed to be his year, but its being marred by trouble.
Why: Why does the weather just look so warm? His perched cap and the large Mercedes team car are sights we don't really see anymore.
Why: Miguel looks so young and Pedro is being made to wear a mental headset. Silly sausages.
Why: Skinny looking Ullrich with the Tour de France at this feet. Commentators said he could be the next to dominate the Tour de France for several years. But little did they know, Ullrich would seldom look like this again.
Why: Mario is/was everything that you want in a cycling star. These days there aren't enough pictures of Mark Cavendish holding a budgie.
Why: Smoking isn't cool is it? Except I'm sure Mario thought he was, cycling has got too many PR people minding everyone's P&Q's these days not enough wacky, irresponsible behaviour. Thank goodness we've still got Mario smoking.
Why: Firstly the nineties were when neon clad sponsor drowned lycra lovies ruled the apparel available to cyclists none of this black single color simplicity we have today. It's 1995 and Pantani's team kit features a pair of lycra shorts with a denim print. Secondly Pantani riding to victory in them. This is one of the few pictures that doesn't look over saturated and I like the rest of the images from the nineties, I love it that you can only just see Marco's little dome as he rides to stage victory.
Why: Because its funny. The winner of the yellow jersey is looking up at second place. I've never seen Jan Ullrich and Pantani look super happy, perhaps they are smug because they know an EPO test has yet to be invented?. I've never really seen a podium like this or since, everyone just looks like best friends. Ullrich and Bobby Julich look like parents about swing a yellow jersey clad toddler.
Why: The glasses, cap and whole piggy back situation just say 'hello, we are in the nineties and everything is fun'.
Why: Goes back to the style of taking pictures in the nineties, somehow all this rain just looks so epic.
Why: Clear lenses on those dashing Oakley's. Beefy legs, dirt that has stuck to his face and skinny handle bars. Behind Sean's butt a man stands wearing a tie perhaps a suit, not enough people wear ties to bike races anymore.
|Miguel Indurain publicity poster|
|Young Pedro Delgardo and Miguel Indurain before 1992 TdF|
|Ullrich at the 1997 Tour de France|
|Mario and a bird - 1999|
|Cipollini and smoking - 1994 or 1995|
|Pantani on Alpe d'Huez 1995|
|Little and Big 1998|
|Endrio Leoni (maybe?) hitching a lift at the 1992 Vuelta|
|Sean Kelly at the Tour of Ireland 1994|
|Sean Yates doesn't half look beef cake in the 1992 Paris Roubaix|