As 2016 passes under the flamme rouge, Conquista issue 13 brings to a climax several year-long series from our favourite writers. Elsewhere, new voices take us to less familiar territory.
From the WorldTour to Iceland’s lavafields . . . from the wild young things of downhill mountain bike racing to the homeless cyclists of LA . . . from the seedy scandals of 1990s road racing to the sheer pleasure of riding a vintage bike from vineyard to vineyard . . . Conquista has never been bigger or better. We love it. We think you will too.
Throughout the year Shane Stokes has explored the Seasons of a Pro Career. In spring, budding professional cyclists begin to fulfil their promise. In summer, physical talents reach their full flowering, leading to career-defining results. Autumn may see a bodily decline, but experience and road craft can compensate.
But then in the winter of retirement – what? No more training, no more races, no more teammates, no more glory. What becomes of a racer when the racing stops? Don’t miss the final and most personal part of Shane’s uniquely intimate analysis of a career in pro cycling.
Over the course of 2016, Suze Clemitson has brought us the epic tales of the Superteams. So far she has dug into the most notorious (US Postal), the most spectacular (HTC High Road), and the greatest of them all (Peugeot).
Suze brings the series to an end with a look at the team which, with its combination of star power, success and scandal, may just be the most significant of them all. Certainly, it is the closest to Suze’s heart. Don’t miss her Into The Future: Festina.
All year Holly Blades has been revealing the secret histories of races we thought we knew. She concludes her historical investigations for 2016 with a typically unorthodox look at the phenomenon of six-day racing, accompanied by photos from the spectacular Six Day London by Chris Auld.
“Stripping away any pretence of glamour, what is a swannie, really? A glorified sandwich maker, bottle filler and driver. If you can slap some oil on legs and hold a conversation about farting then you have the complete skill set.”
In normal daily life, Phil Macdonald has a perfectly respectable job as a physiotherapist. So what makes him periodically abandon all connection with real life, logic and common sense and hit the road with Team Wiggins?
Learn from the inside just what it means to be a soigneur, in Phil’s Reporting for Duty.
Brian “Black” Hodes is one of the great cycling photographers, known the world over for his spectacular and often unorthodox images from road cycling’s great races. But Brian has another, more personal project. For some years he has been documenting the lives of homeless people in Los Angeles through his blog Invisible Dreams. Using photographs and interviews he gives these people a presence and a voice that they too often lack.
A bicycle can transform the life of someone living on the streets. Brian spoke to three such people for his feature Life with Two Wheels.
The sport of downhill mountain bike racing – think of tackling a snow-free black run on two wheels – inhabits a niche far removed from cycling’s mainstream. And downhill racers too are a breed apart, with their tattoos, piercings and snowboarder chic.
But with heart-stopping action, with two British world champions in Danny Hart and the astonishing Rachel Atherton, and with extensive support from the marketing behemoth that is Red Bull, maybe this form of cycle sport is about to break cover. Paul Maunder went to the UCI DH MTB World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy to learn more about downhill’s soon-to-be-superstars – The Wild Ones.
It started with no more than a handful of harmless eccentrics, riding obsolete machines in antiquated kit around Tuscany at a gentle pace, and stopping for the occasional glass of Chianti. But it has grown into a truly global phenomenon, with events in places as far apart as Uruguay, Japan and South Africa, as well as its European heartland.
In an age of marginal gains, wind tunnels and power meters, what explains the curious and growing appeal of the Eroica series? Tom Owen slipped into his woollen bibshorts and grappled with his downtube shifters to experience The Beauty of Fatigue.
Previous Isadore Rides have taken us to Sicily’s Mt. Etna and Mallorca, locations already familiar to cyclists. But this time we head into what is probably Europe’s greatest and wildest wilderness: the uninhabitable interior of Iceland. Not necessarily the first place you’d think of as a cycle touring destination – but where else can you ride amid glaciers and fjords, live volcanoes, black beaches and hot springs?
Team Novo Nordisk is the first and only pro cycling team made up exclusively of athletes with diabetes. Part of the team’s mission is to raise awareness of this condition, and particularly to show that being diabetic is no barrier to a career at the very top of elite performance sport.
For World Diabetes Day, star photographer Brian “Black” Hodes photographed members of the team and asked them to talk about some of the common misconceptions about their condition. We’re sure you’ll enjoy his Novo Nordisk Portraits.
In a characteristically quiet and unassuming way, Steve Cummings has built a truly extraordinary palmarès. Winning a Tour stage for an African team on Mandela Day; pulling Mark Cavendish into a rainbow jersey at the Copenhagen UCI Road World Championships; and of course a GC win in this year’s Tour of Britain. Russell Jones met with Stevo back where it all started – in the legendary Eureka cyclist’s café in Two Mills, Chester – to hear his full remarkable story in Steve Cummings: The Local Lad.
Finally, Tom Owen delivers a Postcard from Palomino, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. As recently as 2014 Palomino was described by Lonely Planet as “an untouched marvel with a deserted beach”, but now the town bristles with new hostels, campsites and pizzerias. Nonetheless, it retains its unique character.