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.
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“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.
“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.”