Team Telekom was founded in 1991 by Belgian team manager Walter Godefroot but took a few years to really gain momentum. The German sprinter Erik Zabel won the first UCI Road World Cup victory in the history of the team, the Paris-Tours.
The next two years saw the international breakthrough of the boys in pink. Godefroot brought in rider Bjarne Riis, who finished third in the 1995 Tour de France and went on to win in 1996.
A young Jan Ullrich was then a support rider and finished in second place. In the 1997 Tour de France Ullrich won the race with support from Riis, who had earlier won the Amstel Gold.
The German powerhouse’s popularity hit an all-time high after ‘Der Kaiser’ won the Tour de France in 1997, prompting a huge rise in Germany’s interest in pro-cycling.
Sporting the signature pink colours of their Telecom company sponsor, they were backed up by iconic brands like Pinarello, Campagnolo and even Adidas. Dozens of victories followed in the subsequent years – with some dubious doctors working behind the scenes.
The team’s multitude of victories came aboard Pinarello bikes from Italy – first steel models and then the aluminium framed Pinarello Prince and carbon Montello TT bike.
The beautiful Pinarello Montello in our Flandrien Hotel collection was ridden by the Australian Cadel Evans in the 2003 season. He used at several multi-day races throughout the season, including the Stage 1 Individual Time Trial at the Vuelta Espana in Gijón.
The Montello was Pinarello’s first full carbon TT bike, and the Team model was fully equipped with Campagnolo Record titanium components. It has a Campagnolo Ghibli rear disc wheel and Campagnolo Bora Carbon front wheel to slice through the wind. Everything on the bicycle is completely original – including the Continental tubular tyres.
Evans started his professional road cycling career in 2001 after success in mountain biking, and quickly established himself as a versatile and skilled cyclist who was capable of performing well in a range of disciplines, including road racing, time trials, and mountain biking.
Over the course of his career, he achieved numerous victories in prestigious races, including the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de Suisse, and the Critérium du Dauphiné. He also won the UCI Road World Championships in 2009.
smaller diameter front wheels, and upturned “bullhorn” handlebars.
Similar designs were created by frame builders working with the East German track team and used very successfully in international competitions as early as 1982. By by the time of the 1984 Olympics virtually every team that was in medal contention was riding one.
The Flandrien Hotel’s beautiful Chesini Recordman from 1987 is a stunning example of Italian craftmanship and period era aero innovation. Chesini bicycles was founded in 1925 by Gelmino Chesini in Verona Italy, and by the 1980s the company had
grown under the stewardship of Gelmino’s son Gabriele.
But despite the groovy look of the Chesini Recordman and the hundreds of other “funny” bikes created by race bike manufacturers
around the world after the ’84 Olympics, most of the designs actually delivered very little in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. The bullhorn bars put riders in pretty much the same position as riding in the drops on a standard road bar.
It was not until 1989 that American cyclist Greg Lemond decided to do something that really did deliver significant aero gains. He brought his hands up from the bullhorns and onto a forward protruding handlebar extension designed by a guy named Boone Lennon, a former US national ski team coach.
And the event in which he chose to do so was none other than the penultimate stage of the Tour de France – in which Lemond
overtook the Frenchman Laurent Fignon to steal victory by the narrowest of margins.
The unforgettable scenes on the Champs-Elysées in 1989 heralded the beginning of cycling’s real aero revolution – and the end of an era for funny bikes like the Chesini Recordman.