Thomson Tales

Climbing Off — When Riders Abandon

Climbing Off — When Riders Abandon

During the 1976 edition of the Giro d'Italia Roger de Vlaeminck abandoned on the Passo Manghen – running into the woods after throwing his bike on the floor.

Belgian fans were so outraged at de Vlaeminck’s disrespect to team leader de Muynck that they gathered outside his house to protest. De Muynck would go on to miss out on the GC victory by just 19 seconds. This isn't the only time that rider's have decided that Climbing Off is the best option.

Rohan Dennis — Tour de France 2019

The temperamental Australian raised a few eyebrows when he climbed off mid-Tour with rumours of a falling out over a skin suit. Hopefully his Team Ineos equipment will keep him happy.

David Millar — Vuelta a España 2002

Having completed the mighty Angliru in awful conditions the Scot climbed off his bike just short of the line, ripped off his dossad and refused to cross the line. Having seen lethal descents, multiple crashes and the inhuman climb you can hardly blame him.

Alfredo Binda — Tour de France 1930

Having won the Giro d'Italia four times Binda was actually paid him to stay away! Tour de France boss Henri Desgrange secretly paid Binda to ride the 1930 Tour de France, but worried that the Giro hadn't paid him yet, Binda abandoned the Tour to collect from the Giro organizers.

Henri Pélissier — Tour de France 1924

In 1924, there was a rule that the competitors had to finish with everything they started with — including any clothes they planned to wear. Officials suspected that Pélissier would start in the cold morning with many jerseys, and remove them once the day warmed up. Pélissier, who was the reigning champion, objected and climbed off during Stage 3.

Jacques Anquetil — Tour de France 1964

And a case of NOT abandoning when it seemed the most likely end. At the start of the Tour a psychic had predicted that Anquetil would abandon on the fourteenth stage after suffering an accident. The night before he decided to party because he believed he would probably not finish the stage. In that stage he didn't even bother to warm up and then rode very poorly, dropping 4 minutes behind the leaders and was contemplating quitting. He had even loosened his toe-straps. The story goes that Géminiani gave Anquetil a bottle with champagne in it. With this restorative circulating in the bon vivant's system, he began to compete. He would go on to win the Tour.

Away from cycling and involving Scotland!

Estonia v Scotland 1996 (soccer!)

A World Cup qualifier between Estonia and Scotland had been scheduled for a 6.45pm kick-off. Scotland, who trained at the stadium the day before, complained that the floodlights were not fit for purpose. The match was brought forward to 3pm but Estonia simply refused to turn up. The match referee called the game off after three seconds.

Ruta Negra Italia

Whilst Roger de Vlaeminck didn't fancy completing the Passo Manghen, or indeed the other great climbs of the Giro, we have the perfect trip for you to finish where he left off. 

If you think you have what it takes to conquer as many HC climbs as possible in two weeks, why not read more about our Ruta Negra Italia trip.