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The mystical numerology of dossard 51. The ineffable magic of the Giro. The tragedy of a young rider's death. The seldom-told stories of the Anglophone road racers of two different generations. The all-time greats of the classics. And a bloke who eats badgers. It could only be Conquista. Issue 14 is available now.
Our stunning cover shot is only one of the incredible pictures of Barcelona's Genesis Cycling Team from New Beginnings, an utterly inspiring feature by cyclist, photographer and blogger Ariadna Cambronero. No one loves cycling photography more than Conquista, but even we have never seen so many pictures that made us stop and look twice. Don't miss it.
In a new series Suze Clemitson explores cycling's greatest races from deep within, beginning with every hipster's favourite Grand Tour - the Giro d'Italia. Covering everything from from Lance Armstrong's appearance fee to the near-forgotten exploits of Alfonsina Strada (still the only woman officially to start and to complete a Grand Tour), but also profiling the figures behind the race (and including an exclusive interview with controversially dismissed race organiser Michele Acquarone), everything you ever wanted to know, and plenty more besides, is right here in Crossing the Rubicon.
No one has done more to bring the cycling public's attention to the biggest failings of the sport than Shane Stokes. And in recent times there has been no bigger failing than that surrounding vehicles in the peloton. One year on from the tragic death of Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Antoine Demoitié and the terrible injuries sustained by Stig Broeckx, not to mention many other serious incidents involving riders from Peter Sagan to Steven Kruijswijk, Shane asks whether enough has changed in Protecting the Pros.
Some people dismiss team training camps as little more than a photo opportunity. But when the team is BORA - hansgrohe (home of UCI Road World Champion Peter Sagan), and when the "opportunity" is handed to photographer extraordinaire Brian "Black" Hodes, you just know the result will be something special. Alongside Brian's pictures, we explore the uniquely thorough approach of this most charmingly Germanic of teams - and what their success might mean for cycling in Germany.
We know all the famous names: Coppi, Bartali, Boonen, van Looy, de Vlaeminck, Hinault, Merckx . . . but who among them are the true Conquistadores of the Classics? Holly Blades brings her unique analytical talents to this thorniest of questions in Help Me Ronde.
What's In A Number? Other sports attach a quasi-spiritual significance to certain numbers. Diego Maradona will always be el diez. Mickey Mantle was so closely identified with jersey number 7 that it was "retired" by the New York Yankees in 1969. But cycling is different - right? Wrong. There is one dossard that has an aura like no other. Worn by Merckx when he won his first Tour in 1969 . . . by Merckx's great rival Ocaña when he took victory in the great man's absence in 1973 . . . by Bernard Thévenet when he finally, unimaginably, broke Merckx's utter dominance in winning the Tour of 1975 . . . and finally, in 1978, by the man seen as the Cannibal's great successor, when Bernard Hinault took the first of his five victories. And who better than Suze Clemitson to tell us about the magic and mystique of dossard 51?
"Roadside butchery is a bit like wild camping: best done out of sight to avoid protest or concern from passersby. I learned that with a badger." The unique Vin Cox fuels the enormous miles he rides around England's South West using only what he can find or forage - from rosehips to roadkill. Check out his unconventional nutrition strategies in The Hungry Bike Ride, with photos by Jojo Harper.
With recent Tour winners from Australia and the UK (OK, and Kenya), English has become practically the lingua franca of the pro peloton. It was not always thus. Paul Maunder explores the distant history of pro cycling's pioneering Anglophones, Brian Robinson, Tom Simpson and Barry Hoban in The Early Adapters.
Racing behind the Iron Curtain? Been there. Making a living on the Belgian kermesse circuit? Done that. Winning the national crit championships? Got the jersey. Russell Jones sat down to hear the endlessly entertaining stories of Tim Harris, another great English speaker of the pro peloton, and shares them in Kermesses and Criteriums.
Mark Sandamas takes on the challenge of riding the coast-to-coast route across England, following as closely as possible in the footsteps of the legendary fell walker Alfred Wainwright. Taking in the glorious Lake District and the dramatic Dales and Moors of Yorkshire, this truly is One For The Bucket List.
And finally, if like us you're need of a dose of Caribbean sunshine during these winter months, you'll be glad to hear sub-editor Tom Owen is back from the beach with a Postcard from Trinidad de Cuba.