Claudio Chiappucci slams today’s peloton for not having enough personality


Former pro Claudio Chiappucci has criticised today’s professional cyclists today for their lack of personality, calling them “machines”.

The Italian, who was known for his eccentric flair and attacking style of racing during his career in the 1990s, said that 2015 world champion Peter Sagan is one of the only riders who stands out in the peloton.

“If you look at somebody interesting today it’s Sagan. Sagan is a good cyclist but on the other hand he’s got character, he’s got personality,” Chiappucci told Cycling Weekly on a recent trip to London.

Claudio Chiappucci (8)

Claudio Chiappucci

“All the others are just machines, paperwork, numbers. Sagan, [Alberto] Contador, [Alejandro] Valverde, is the same kind of style.”

The Italian, who was on his first visit to the British capital, posted pictures of himself on Twitter in front of Big Ben and on a bicycle rickshaw in Piccadilly Circus.

Chiappucci garnered the nickname ‘El Diablo’ (the devil) when he raced, and though he finished runner up in the Tour de France and victory in Milan-San Remo on his palmarès, it’s his passion and unpredictable breakaways in the mountains he’s most remembered for, particularly his Tour stage win in Sestriere.

On that day in 1992 he attacked and rode more than 100km across the Alpine mountains alone.

However, the 53-year-old believes modern racing has stagnated and this generation of cyclists are too similar.

“If you want to create interest [in cycling] you need to find a rider who will break the mould and do something different,” he says.

“It’s changed radically [from my era], the races are very tactical now.”

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Ah, my bad – well done, it was Peraud. which explains why google searches didn’t show the image I was looking for. Thanks.

  • dourscot

    Check out Chiappucci’s record on doping before you stand up for the guy. He cheated like most of his generation and has the cheek to complain about today’s riders.


  • dourscot

    Chiappucci animated races allright – so much so that he failed a dope test.

    Another cyclist wants some attention they don’t deserve.

  • simmo

    I disagree with mr chiappucci and I don’t think that anyone from his generation is in any place to comment on how things are worse than they were then

  • blemcooper

    Having said that, Wiggins’ cool factor just went up a few notches with me (no, I didn’t find his fashion sense nor his Paul Weller haircut at all cool) when he hinted that he wants to do The Athlete’s Hour, i.e. the hour record Merckx style.

    If he accomplishes that (and I think he can), he will have addressed my main complaint about how UCI handled the new hour record rules, albeit in reverse order. IMHO, when there’s a significant rules change that makes it significantly easier to achieve as occurred last year, only the current record holder under the old rules may attempt the record under the new rules. Once that person sets the record with the new rules, then it’s opened up for everyone else. Good for Wiggo!!!

  • MJS73

    I think todays riders have just as much character as the previous generation, if not more. As cycling fans we have a lot to thank the early tour pioneers, but todays pros can stand tall. What about Geraint Thomas battling through the Tour with a broken pelvis, Fabian Cancellara continuing with a career after two separate spinal fractures. Also Wiggo breaking the stranglehold of Continental European and American Tour winners. Froome rising to the top of world cycling from origins in Africa, despite contracting bilharzia on the way, and Cav’s a braver sprinter than anyone.
    There are many more examples, not to mention the exciting spectacle women cycling has become, and doing it all in a far cleaner sport.
    Chiappucci’s career took off after being in break away in the 1990 Tour which the peloton allowed. Greg LeMond demonstrated great character in clawing back the time over the rest of the race. Granted Chiappucci stepped up to the mark thereafter and had several good years with impressive performances, however later admitted to doping before retracting it. There was no greater “machine” than the brilliant Indurain in Chiappucci’s era, but the Tour has been far more exciting and characterful in the last 5 years, than through Indurains 5 year reign.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    How about Thibault Pinot? He showed us all he had balls at the Tour de France (if you get what I mean).

  • llos25

    More than you apparently which isn’t very much.

  • Nigel Rue

    If you want more characters in racing, you need to take some of the “team” out of it.

  • J1

    He mentioned the riding style too, and anyway I can think of quite a few characters off the bike too. Just because some of the riders don’t get interviewed, it doesn’t mean there aren’t characters in today’s peloton, you’re just getting a skewed view.

  • Sutton Atkins

    Yes, I agree, you know it all. Nobody is allowed a different opinion to yours. You win.

  • llos25

    You obviously do not know Chiappucci or you would not make such ill informed remarks.

  • Sutton Atkins

    I enjoy Wiggo’s outbursts, his personality, his attack at Paris-Roubaix among others. I think Chiapucci is aloud mouth show off. I can live without him, and I think the sport can.

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Plenty of characters in the modern bunch….

    Chaves, Purito, Cav, Quintana, Viviani… I can think of lots more.

  • blemcooper

    Wig what?

    How much of the “charisma” Wiggins oozes is appreciated by folks outside the UK?

    Consider that Wiggins stated after his Hour that if we could’ve done just that kind of riding all his pro career, he would have (vs road racing). How much more of riding like a machine, which Chiappucci is decrying, can there be than that?

  • Sutton Atkins

    Chia who?
    Lest we forget mr. Wiggo and his charisma.

  • llos25

    I think he is correct in his views but then again I had the benefit of seeing him in action so I know where he is coming from.To me the best climber was Federico Bahamontes the best all rounder Jacques Anquetil and the best sprinter Rik Van Looy these three riders had more character than the modern day peloton put together of course IMO.

  • Pedal Er

    The reference is to characters. Sagan is one. Characters generate interest. Phil Tufnell, Shane Warne, Mario Balotelli, John McEnroe, Robbie Savage, David Zabriskie are some other examples.

  • J1

    I see plenty of riders who animate the racing, is he watching enough cycling? It doesn’t always happen in the big races.