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Echoes

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Cycling Farmers
« on: November 15, 2018, 09:58 »
This has always fascinated me. The fact that most of the most renowned figures of the history of our sport come from the land in order to escape the hard life of it. Especially between circa 1905 and World War II. In Belgium they were the historical "Flandrians", heirs of Cyrille Van Hauwaert. Brik Schotte was nicknamed "The Last of the Flandrians" because he was the last of a generation when farmers were predominant. In France, Henri Pélissier or Antonin Magne were farmers. In Italy, Costante Girardengo, Gino Bartali or Fausto Coppi all had to work hard on the land. After World War II, things changed a bit and many came from the industry but there still have been a lot of riders with at least a cycling past: Raymond Poulidor, Joaquim Agostinho, Hennie Kuiper, Adrie Van der Poel, Paul Wellens (and his two brothers, Tim's family), Marc Madiot and his brother Yvon. Bernard Hinault became a farmer after his career but did not grow up as a farmer and he sold his farm in 2006, I think. In his book Marc Madiot said that in his days, about 80% of the field came from the rural world. It was the sport of the "lower part" of society, long thought be practiced and followed by "rednecks" (well my translation of "bouseux" in Madiot's book, which is an insult for farmers). These stereotypes still remain a bit from the viewpoint of Paris, he argues.


Lately I discovered this video in French about François Bidard, cyclist and farmer:



..and was wondering if there were so many cycling farmers in the current peloton or among recently retired, since the century, let us say!

Yves Lampaert is the best known example to me. He's said to have refused to purchasing a Porsche but rather a tractor and is nicknamed John Deere.

Poor Stig Broeckx is also a farmer and has a degree as an agro-industrial engineer:

Otherwise, I think Rui Costa and Michal Kwiatkowski have at least a farming past. Mark Renshaw, apparently, Gianni Moscon, Frederik Backaert, Stijn Devolder, Stijn Neyrinck, Wim Van Sevenant, Kevin Pauwels (the cyclocrosser), etc.
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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #1 on: November 15, 2018, 11:11 »
    not quite farming, but when I was in Romania for the Turul Romaniei, I had a chat with #massi Massi-Kuwait DS Luc Schuddinck, who said that unfortunately one of his most talented riders, Oskar Malatsetxebarria, couldn't compete because he has to stay at home in the Basque highlands, herding the goats. :cool
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #2 on: November 15, 2018, 17:06 »
    Sean Kelly was from a farming family, and if not for cycling, does not seem (how can I put this politely?) to have been academically inclined to moving to a more professional career.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #3 on: November 16, 2018, 01:27 »
    Landis might be the only American rider to whom this could apply.

    Not only did he grow up in a strict Mennonite family in Pennsylvania, he literally grew up in Farmersville, part of Lancaster County, on Farmersville Road.

    In his own words...
    Quote
    The road stretches for miles of white farmhouses, red barns, cornfields, and silos, with no variation except when maybe the farmhouse is red and the barn is white.




    Floyd's mom:
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 09:36 »
    Oh dear, how could I forget about Sean Kelly. When Jean De Gribaldy wished to offer him his first pro contract with Flandria, he went to unannounced to Ireland, with another rider in order to find him and to serve as interpreter. They found Kelly driving a tractor and went to his half brother's place.  :D

    And for sure, by 'farmer' I meant all the jobs linked with the primary sector of economy. So shepherds sure belong here.  :cool

    Wasn't José Rujano a coffee planter? I'm sure that many of these South American riders have at least a farming past.

    Landis' mother looks like an Amish that I saw in Peter Weir's Witness.  :lol
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #5 on: November 19, 2018, 22:08 »
    Wasn't José Rujano a coffee planter?

    Yes.  :)
    Quote
    A former coffee farm worker, the 29 year old also revealed he still holds the local record for planting the most coffee plants in a day.
    :cool


    Also: (as mentioned in the OP)
    Quote
    Gianni Moscon enjoys apple farming. His family are apple farmers, and he likes to help out when he has time.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #6 on: November 20, 2018, 01:07 »
    That's why I liked Gianni Moscon before happened what we know. An accordion player as well.

    Let us remember Igor Decraene here. Along with his four brothers, he would help out on the family farm. Typical for farmers, he would thank his parents after his junior ITT World title in 2013. He passed away in a car crash under a train, after heavy drinking, in August 2014.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #7 on: November 20, 2018, 01:20 »
    Just to expand on one other rider in the OP:

    2017
    Frederik Backaert, the farmer racing the Tour de France


    Quote
    The 27-year-old is a full-time professional cyclist for Wanty-Groupe Gobert and a part-time farmer on his family’s 95-acre plot in the Belgian town of Brakel. They make their own dairy products and grow their own crops. Morning is for training; sometimes, he will spend the late afternoon milking their 90 cows, cleaning machinery or ploughing fields.

    Quote
    He grew up a stone’s throw from the foot of the Berendries, a climb used in several top Belgian one-day races. Like most kids from Flanders, Backaert dreamed of winning De Ronde, not the maillot jaune. “We don’t care about the Tour,” he says, laughing.
    :P
    “Everyone is amazed at that, but Peter van Petegem was from Brakel – our biggest Classics rider, the only one, more or less.”
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  • « Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 02:25 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #8 on: November 20, 2018, 01:31 »
    Bernard Thévenet

    Quote
    Thévenet was born to a farming family in Saône-et-Loire in Burgundy and lived in a hamlet called Le Guidon (The Handlebar). It was there in 1961 that he saw the Tour de France for the first time, on, a 123 km stage from Nevers to Lyon. Thévenet was a choir boy in the village church. He said: "The priest brought forward the time for Mass so that we could watch the riders go by. The sun was shining on their toe-clips and the chrome on their forks. They were modern-day knights. I had already been dreaming of becoming a racing cyclist and that magical sight convinced me definitively. It was never that magical when I was actually in the peloton of the Tour!"


    Quote
    His parents needed him on the farm too much to be keen on his racing, but they knew their son's ambitions. Thévenet rode his first race and his parents found out only when they read the local paper. There was a row and the club president intervened by inviting the parents to see their son's next race. Thévenet won it.

    Quote
    In the 1972 Tour he crashed badly on a descent and was temporarily amnesic. As he began to regain his memory, he looked down at his own Peugeot jersey and wondered whether he might be a cyclist. On recognizing the team car, he exclaimed: “I’m riding the Tour de France!”

    Quote
    In the 1975 Tour, Thévenet attacked Eddy Merckx on the col d'Izoard on 14 July, France's national day. Merckx, who was suffering back pain from a punch by a spectator, fought back but lost the lead and never regained it.

    Beside the road, a woman in a bikini waved a sign that said: "Merckx is beaten. The Bastille has fallen." Thévenet - who had taken the climb on the larger chainring - went on to win the Tour, which that year finished on the Champs-Élysées for the first time. Merckx finished second, three minutes behind.

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  • « Last Edit: November 20, 2018, 02:23 by Drummer Boy »

    Drummer Boy

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #9 on: November 20, 2018, 02:17 »
    Nairo Quintana

    Quote
    [Nairo's father] Luis was a disabled campesino who farmed potatoes and ran a roadside grocery stand. From the time he was six, Nairo had been helping his dad, whose pelvis had been crushed in a childhood car crash. Nairo delivered milk and lifted heavy boxes of produce. When the Quintanas went to markets in the neighboring villages, Nairo sometimes woke at 4 a.m. to help his father bake bread.

    They lived in a village called Combita high in the Colombian Andes, in a verdant farm region known as Boyaca. Luis saved up a year to buy Nairo the bike. He bought it partly out of gratitude, and partly for practical reasons. The bus to Nairo's school, 10 miles away and 3,000 feet below their hilltop home in Combita, cost 25 cents each way.

    Quote
    In some ways, it was a miracle that Nairo was even alive. At age two, he fell sick with a serious fever. His parents believed that someone who'd touched a dead person had, in turn, touched Nairo thereby infecting him with an illness. For a year, the boy had constant diarrhea; he vomited and could not sleep. No doctor could help him. The Quintanas went to Our Lady of Miracles, a gold-domed church in Boyaca's capitol, Tunja, and prayed. Finally, they called in a faith healer who gave Quintana herbs. He recovered. He was a bone-thin kid, with a sharp, narrow nose and intent brown eyes, and he was never athletic. He hated gym class, but he milked the family cows; he fed the chickens. "I was happy to buy him the bike," says his dad.

    Quote
    He does not endorse any products in Colombia and he has leveraged his celebrity only once—in 2013, when he voiced support for Colombia's farmers as they waged a nationwide strike, pressing a resistant Santos for aid. "When you bring a sack of potatoes to the market, you have to cry," he told reporters. "You won't even make the money you need to pay for transportation. My family lost some of our land years ago, so we had to leave the potato business."

    Quote
    When we got to a roadside cafe, the two riders sat down for coffee, and Quintana called me to join them. With regards to the farmers' strike, he said, "My family are peasants, and so am I, and in a strike like that, where the army and police are involved, fighting the farmers, there is sometimes internal conflict in families: Many of the people in the army are also the sons of peasants. My brother is in the army, you know."

    Quote
    "I'm losing my identity as a peasant from Boyaca. I know this; I'm traveling all over the world to races. But I have not forgotten the countryside. I have some cattle here and I have someone who takes care of them, and when I'm finished with competitive cycling I will return to my roots. This is my region. This is where I am from, and this is where I would like to be."



    Quote
    Before he turned 16, Quintana landed on a local team, Boyaca es Para Vivirla, who canvassed door to door for funds. Then, when he traveled to France for the Tour de l'Avenir in 2010, he was reportedly subject to racist attacks. "It was the first year Colombians were back in Europe," says Ignacio Velez, a Colombian businessman who coordinated the trip, "and the French team was very aggressive."
     :angry
    They called the dark-skinned Quintana a "flipping Indian," Velez says, and shoved one of his teammates to the pavement, prompting the rider to remount, catch up, and slug the Frenchman in the face. "It was Nairo's first tour," Velez says, "but he didn't care. He was confident, and one night he came to my hotel room, very shy, and said, 'Coach, it is me who will win the Tour de l'Avenir.'"

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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #10 on: November 21, 2018, 09:26 »
    “Everyone is amazed at that, but Peter van Petegem was from Brakel – our biggest Classics rider, the only one, more or less.”

    Peter Van Petegem also owned a farm, actually. I read an article from Velo Magazine back in 2003. They followed him for his whole "glory week" after he won his second Tour of Flanders and before he won Paris-Roubaix. I remember reading him say "I get up with the chickens".  :lol In 2009 he and his wife transformed it into a "bed & breakfast", giving it a suitable name: "Le Pavé".  :lol
    https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dma04042009_001
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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #11 on: November 22, 2018, 20:14 »
    I'd like to translate to you the video in the OP about François Bidard, which has been posted on 1 October, this year.  :)

    -----------

    The sun has hardly risen on Lonlay-l'Abbaye, in the department of the Orne (Normandy). In the Bidard's farm, everybody's already at work. Like every morning it's milking time for the 80 cows of the holding. That day, François, the elder son has come to give his family a hand.

    François (at 0.34):
    Quote
    We were born in this milieu and for me it's natural. For sure afterwards in the heat of the season it's hard to combine the two but in these off season moments we make the most of it, you know.

    François Bidard is a professional cycling rider and as usual he capitalises on his few rest days to come back to the farm.

    François' sister (I guess):
    Quote
    I've always known him like that. He's always had that passion for agriculture, so for us it's natural but for some it might seem funny to see him [in a farm]. Well in another context it's true that it's not logical but well people may also have a passion next to cycling.

    François (best quote you can think of! :cool):
    Quote
    It's life, here! (with a bright smile)

    (At 1'14, you see François on his bike, training)

    François' life is actually a double life. When he leaves the farm and his boots behind, 26-year-old François Bidard is shifting gear. It's here on the roads of the Orne département that the young rider has made his first steps into cycling and won his first races but his career suddenly got a boost far away from his own Normandy. Two years ago François signed his first pro contract at AG2R, the greatest French team at the moment. François gradually made his way among the stars of the peloton, like his leader Romain Bardet. As the months went by, the little Norman has very quietly kept progressing.

    François (at 2.03):
    Quote
    In my first year I raced the Tour of Spain and then I raced the Tour of Italy twice, so I hope the Tour of Fance is for soon.

    As he was 37th at the last Tour of Italy, François is establishing himself as a very good climber, as an examplary domestique who can be trusted with the wallet; a mental toughness that might be rooted in his farming childhood.

    François (at 2.33):
    Quote
    It hasn't always been easy with my parents at the farm. I have to say. I saw my parents a bit in trouble [milk prices?]... But then when you have to go for it, you go for it. You don't have the choice. In cycling it's the same. When you have to go for it, you go for it. Three weeks of racing, 200km a day and it's raining, it's also part of the job. I think it must build character a bit, yes.

    As soon as he can François comes back home on the family farm. A necessary come back to the roots between two races across the world.

    François' mother (I guess):
    Quote
    It's true that sometimes he phones us and we are always asking "where are you?", we are always wondering where he is and what he's doing and then the following day he's back. Always the same. He always remains simple, humble, like we also like simplicity. So it's convenient for us.

    François at 3.35:
    Quote
    In a few years I'll come back and will be in this building (smiling). For me the solution is simple. It's getting back on the farm. It's what I've been doing right from the start, all the studies I've carried out as well. It's really a wish that I may get back on the family farm and to take over. All in good time! There are still nice years to come in cycling and then let's put back the boots.

    Before fully dedicating himself to farming, François Bidard is leading is double life, with passion.

    ---------

    ..and I'll share this picture (which might fit in Flo's cutesy thread ;) :))

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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #12 on: November 23, 2018, 09:10 »
    The sun has hardly risen on Lonlay-l'Abbaye, in the department of the Orne (Normandy).
    Ironically, that word means 'hog' (male pig) in Danish ... :D
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    Echoes

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #13 on: November 24, 2018, 10:00 »
    In the OP I've named Stijn Devolder. Actually Volderke does not seem to have a past in farming but ...

    he's planned to go farming after his cycling career. He's already bought a tractor in winter 2015/2016.
    Quote
    A big one! Therefore I had to pass a G-driving licence. As a kid I was already driving round with a small tractor.
    https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20160409_02227735

    So he wants to emulate Bernard Hinault in a way.  :D

    Quote
    I know, farming is hard labour but cycling is even harder.

    An interview with Stijn Devolder is one with a lot of questions and short answers but when you ask him about picking potatoes, then his ceruean blue eyes are shining with happiness and complete sentences are flowing one after the other. While his colleague riders are flying off to the Maldives, Stijn Devolder is driving round with his tractor in the West-Flemish fields.

    Quote
    I'm an outdoorsman. I get wild when I'm in a hotel room. Agriculture is my passion. This year I went for two days to an agricultural fair in Hannover. I haven't missed one stand. Crops, livestock, milk cows. I want to handle everything. By the way I've just told you that those training are boring. Actually not. During races I'm constantly having a look at the meadows around.

    This is an article from April 2016. Three years later, Stijn is still planned to be a cycling rider. Whatever one might think about him as a rider, I think we should wish him to succeed in his second life.  :cool :)

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  • M Gee

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #14 on: November 25, 2018, 18:03 »
    Speaking of farms, do you remember when we had a discussion about reindeer herding? I ran across something today that is both about farming, and with perhaps not much more action than reindeer herding! Ploughing Championships! I didn't know there was such a thing! They have nationals, and worlds, and they give the leading plowman a yellow jersey!
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/23/world-ploughing-championships-no-till-farming
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  • . . .He had the bit between his teeth, and he loiked the taste, mate . . .

    Echoes

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #15 on: November 27, 2018, 10:57 »
    Cyclocrosser Stan Godrie of Crelan Charles is also a farmboy of Zundert, though born in Breda.

    As is clear from his (current) Twitter account.  :)

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  • Echoes

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    Re: Cycling Farmers
    « Reply #16 on: December 08, 2018, 10:45 »
    The other day I came across that article reporting an interview of Yves Lampaert and Frederik Backaert: "Boerenzonen in het peloton" ("Farmboys in the Peloton"), which I might translate to you when I have some spare time but in this article, Lampaert said that in a mountain stage of the (2017?) Tour of Spain, he had a talk with William Clarke  #trek :
    Quote
    He seems to have 20,000 sheep and there you go with your 10 hectares [24.7 acres] of leek.

    Then I found This William Clarke interview

    Quote
    Outside of racing you tend to spend a bit of time on the farm back home in Tassie. Can you talk about the farm and the significance of that?

    Yeah. My family are farmers back in Tasmania. It’s been in the family for quite a long time now, getting up to 180 years actually. In the off-season I spend most of my time on the farm. It’s mostly sheep and cropping. So I try and help out a little bit when I can. Usually in the off-season they get a little bit of work out of me. [laughs]

    Where is the farm?

    It’s Campbelltown, which is sort of 70k’s south of Launceston.

    How big is the farm?

    Nearly 20,000 acres. Pretty decent size for Tasmania. [8093.71 ha  :o]

    Is that something you see yourself throwing more time into once your career as a pro eventually comes to a close?

    Yeah I think after I finish cycling I’d like to go back and help out. My brother’s always asking me ‘When are you coming back?’. I think he thinks cycling’s a bit of a game.

    It reminds me of an old thread on CN about all those Aussie riders coming from Tasmania, by the way. :cool
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