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Stars And Watercarriers
The movie, Stars and Water Carriers or "STJERNERNE OG VANDBAERERNE, is my favorite cycling movie.
It's about the 1973 Giro d'Italia or the "Tour of Italy".
After watching the video one has to conclude that winning is grand, but there is a formula and a participation from so many who love the sport of cycling, that the Giro is beyond individuals.
We know that Eddy Merckz is the winner as in the previous year. But little is paid attention to the "podiums" after races every day.
Stars and Watercarriers is an instructional manual for how cycling "was".
You'll see the "old school" Campagnola parts that are works of art today as they were decades ago.
This video will show you the old (and new) team structure.
It will show you racers with the masseur.
You'll see the Bianchi team mechanics doing their chores under a shade tree.
It will tell you the ins and outs of the Giro but will never leave the action for long.
The video shows the old stars of cycling, the kings of the road of decades ago.
Merckx, Filice Gimondi, Battaglin, Basso, Ole Ritter, Francesco Moser, etc.!
In many respects, the manual is current.
Stars and Watercarriers Part 1
The Giro d'Italia is a three-week race around Italy.
This is the first giro that was international.
This year's race starts in Belgium.
They cross the Alps to enter Italy.
At the end of each day the times of the racers for that day are added to the riders total time. The winner, at the end of weeks of racing, will be the rider with the least amount of time.
The Tour de France has the same format.
manuskript of instruktion -Jorgen Leth
"...the Spaniard doesn't seem too interested in putting his heart into the breakaway. Ritter pushes forward again, and his lead is concentrated. and forceful. He's determined to pull the others on.but they slug on, reluctantly, not keen on sacrificing themselves. Ritter shortens the lead to keep the break from petering out. He's taking a long , hard lead, but he's in "bad company"...
"It's a beautiful waste of energy."
I love the description here. "He was in bad company".
I love it all. The commentary flows as poetry.
Schunmacker and Hussman are the Henchmen of the greatest cyclist Eddy Merckx.
As in the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia of old, today elite riders can build a team to help advance, care for, support, and protect their team leader and the win.
You can see how a grade can string everyone out like an accordion.
With shorter hills it can be more like an accordion recoiling and then stretching back out. If you're on the tail end of that accordion you can be popped off the back in a flash. A rider is probably "on the rivet" as the great race commentator, Phil Liggett, might say. He's tired as his place at the rear denotes. Then that "accordion makes another recoil over the next hill. As it does, the rider is separated and "that's all folks". He's a solo rider without any help with the head-wind. It just gets worse from here.
I must say thanks !!! to the motorcyclist, Sergio Penazzo for giving his cameraman the wonderful advantage to take these beautiful videos.
God bless the cameraman, Dan Holmberg! Yes, this is old school. There are not a lot of cells making up this film of the 70s. My guess is the camera itself must have been so cumbersome!
Here is a shot of the cycling great, Filice Gimondi. He's wearing the green, white, and red Italian Champion's jersey.He's riding for the Bianchi team. Bianchi is one of the world's oldest bicycle manufacturers. They've been in business for over a century.
"Manuskript og instruktion by Jorgen Leth" must mean that this person was in charge og the script? If so, I sure want to thank you! Many will prefer the exciting "I'm going to have a heart-attack this is so exciting" announcers. They are out there and as you can see in this film there are those for that live performance. Occasionally I like that too.
But, yes, I certainly love the way this video is done. Many bike riders and racers have been around for decades and many will never see this video and never know "this" history, which is just a glimpse into the history of cycling.
The Giro causes people to phone into work sick!
The villages turn out to see the greatest show on asphalt (and dirt)!
Our announcer explains the "echelon" where cyclists "fan" out laterally to block the wind. A side wind can be as treacherous as the head wind.
While "googling" DeVlamick, I may have run across a relative:
Modern painter Maurice de Vlaminck was born on April 4, 1876, in Paris. Both his parents were musicians. His mother, Josephine Grillet, was a pianist and his father, Edmond Julien de Vlaminck, was a violinist. Music was like second nature to Maurice. He learned to play violin and bass from his father. At the age of 16, the artist moved to Paris to learn painting under painter Henri Rigalon. He earned his living as a violinist and a bicycle racer. Vlaminck married Suzanne Berly in 1894 and later joined the army.
The Road of Pain!
Village after village!
Merckx and La Course en Tete!
Control the race by taking the lead.
Merckx will grind you into a fine power!
It's as if ghosts are riding through the countryside.
The beauty never ends.
We see the roads of champions and the champions!
Stars and Watercarriers Part 2
The Road of Pain!
"They're all aware that something will happen soon."
"Now it's really important to be up front with the leaders before the field breaks up."
"And that's bound to happen soon the way Merckx is heaping coals on the fire."
"All the strongest have assembled up front."
"Now the real climbing starts."
"And the field begins to crack."
"It's here the first elimination takes place and the public are well aware of it."
"They know this is the spot for break-throughs" and "break-downs".
"The pace is grueling among the leaders."
"Riders get coupled off, one after the other."
"Fuentes loses ground, fouled up by a gear change."
I love Campagnola parts. They were invented by Tulio Campagnola.
Tulio was a racer from "further back". He was from an "older school".
He lost a race because of a flat. His hands were too cold to use a wrench.
He invented the "quick-release" for a bicycle wheel.
His parts were the best in the old school days and they are now.
But- for that shifter. It was a fore-runner of many shifters but it was fallible.
Fuentes was using "bar-end" mounted shifters which exaggerated the problem.
It worked with metal and plastic parts. The screw had to be tightened well.
It was best to have a "loc-tite" solution for the threads so that the screw did not back out. If the screw backed out, the shifter relaxed, the cable therefore relaxed, your derailleur's spring for returning the derailleur to it's "relaxed position" worked and brought the derailleur into the smallest sprocket on the rear which is high gear. You can't climb the alps in race mode in high gear. Unfortunately - "loc-tite" wasn't invented yet.
In my memory banks is a hill in Asheville, NC leading up to the Old Toll Road. The street is named Cherokee. With those old "Campy" friction shifters- the shifters shifted into the hard gears on that one. There was something about the difficulty and stress on the equipment that facilitated this problem.
Finally my shifters rusted in well and I was able to climb Cherokee with only muscle strain and respiratory failure.
South Carolina State champ of the day, Chris Hardwick, used Suntour "rachet type" shifters. That was the solution. Mix in a good shifter with that beautiful Campy stuff!
Fuentes continues to close up on Merckx and company.
Now he sees the vanguard.
A final surge and he's up there.
"The opening round of the fight is over."
"The decisive eliminations have been made."
"But stiffer gradients are yet to come."
Fuentes' rule is "never take a lead".
Young Battaglin is the man for that.
In his first season as a pro he's about to confirm his promotion.
You can see the difficulty here. But Merckx remains seated.
Battaglin stands and rocks with the upper body.
The winner of this stage is decided.
Another stage victory for Merckx!
One of the all-time greats is - dejected!
A bit of saddle-sore meds if you please?
Ah! Much better!
This is old school- the wool jerseys and wool shorts.
Stars and Watercarriers Part 3
The wool didn't have the colors we have today.
A leather chamois in the seat and we did alright.
This is the "celeste" colored Bianchi car.
The gates to the Bianchi factory are painted this color.
Another beautiful city.
A storm is gathering!
A chase on dirt!
String them out!
The road goes up!
Filice Gimondi, Champion of Italy, with trophies to fill a house!
Eddy Merckx takes another stage!
Another day. Another race.
Another day in paradise!
The world stands still as men race bicycles.
Fuentes attacks relentlessly every day!
Fuentes breaks away and nabs a win!
Stars and Watercarriers Part 4
The Time Trial Stage
The camera follows Ole Ritter as he rides a super TT. The Dane, Ole Rotter, was a great road racer and time-trialist.
The time-trial race is the race of truth.
The "indidvidual time trial" segment is just that.
Each rider starts, in this case, 2 minutes apart.
The riders cannot draft one another.
Each cannot benefit from another's speed and effort.
If you pass other riders, you must do so quickly.
The bicycle part of a triathlon incorporates the same rule.
The leader in the over-all event is last to start. This is a psychological advantage.
Our announcer on the video is pretty thorough and colorful in explaining.
The pro mechanics are "at it" under the tree.
Bottom bracket overhaul and relube!
The Campy bottom bracket and lock ring remover/spanner.
Today most of the better BBs are a sealed cartridge type.
Old school cut off water-bottle for a sink.
Here are the "old school" toe clips and straps.
Your shoe has a cleat that slides onto a somewhat locking surface.
The toe-strap must be pulled up to "cinch" the the cleat onto the pedal wall.
To release- you reach down and push the toe-strap buckle outward.
In the Time trial segment of the three week Giro d'Italia, each rider is held up by an assistant. Riders depart every two minutes. The racers ride alone. There is to be no help with drafting whatsoever. Each rider races the clock.
And Ole Ritter is off!
Ole Ritter is an excellent road-racer and an excellent time-trialer.
Ritter keeps an excellent pace.
He's very fluid. He has it down to a science. But he's a work of art.
He keeps a high pedal revolution per minute.
I've not timed his rpm but I'm sure he's over 90 often.
The end is near and so his heart is put into it.
Ole Ritter has ridden a beautiful Time Trial.
It was a work of art.
Ole Ritter made it look so easy on camera.
The effort is very visible as sweat drops from his face.
Stars and Watercarriers Part 5
Here we see two flat tires exchanged.
Extra bottles are in the jersey pockets.
This is THE reason to have 3 pockets to balance one or two or three.
One could go in the middle. Two could be balanced on the sides.
All bets are off as the need for water is above all else.
The Giro d'Italia bicycling heroes are welcomed everywhere!
You don't see this today!
This looks like the toughest guy on the road.
Riding without hands, he unwraps the top of the bottle.
He takes the bottle opener around his neck and pops a cap!
This man is SO smooooth! He never misses a beat!
And it's a great hand-off!
Stars and Watercarriers Part 5
The Tour of Italy - and the business. Flats, money, nutrition.
A feed zone is here and the teams hand out "musette bags" with nutrition!
Stars and Watercarriers Part 6
And- so it goes - the Giro d'Italia!
I've had the VCR version of the video, Stars and Watercarriers for many years.
I was in search of the video on DVD. There are not a lot of options. I searched. My search took me to youtube.
It's grand in a way because so many more people can see it.
It's a little sad, in that it seems it's "deserved stature" has drooped in the film industry and in bicycling movies for theatres genre.
To me- this is art.
What do I know about art?
this is it!
Stars and Watercarriers Part 7
"Stars and Watercarriers" is indeed beautiful!
"Stars and Watercarriers" is pleasant. The music flows.
The music flows.
Stars and Watercarriers Part 8
The scenery is Belgium, Switzerland, Italy.
And- the chicks! Oh yeah!
Stars and Watercarriers Part 9
So- go ahead and get into this video!
Get some popcorn.
Call friends over if you have any,
and get into this movie!
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