Posts Tagged ‘bicycle’

English version for the film “Vento. Italy by bike along the river Po” is finally out!
Stream the film (or download file) on
Buy the dvd here



El Diablo! (special movie extra from “THE LAST KILOMETER”)
Please enjoy and share this 7′ extra from the film “The Last Kilometer”
(to watch the full 52′ movie visit – you can stream it or buy the dvd+booklet from 13,9€) )

“El Diablo” is a spin-off from the feature-lenght bike movie “The Last Kilometer”.
The short is focused on the story of Didi Senft, better known as “El Diablo”, symbol and living metaphor of all cycling fans.
Screened at Bicycle Film Festival 2013 (New York, Milan, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Chicago and much more!)

And if you like this, take a look at the feature length film “The Last Kilometer”
Official website: (or look at the various options to buy it on Reelhouse)

“A cycling movie worth seeing”
(PezCycling News)

Money, business, doping scandals and lack of epic and new champions: are we watching
“The Last Kilometer” for cycling?

L’Ultimo Chilometro is a film totally dedicated to a passion, an emotion, a sport: Cycling.
The movie follows the story and an entire cycling season of “the old” Davide Rebellin, 41 years old and still fighting in the peloton after many victories and scandals, and “the young” Ignazio Moser, promising 20 years old son of cycling champion Francesco Moser.
The famous italian journalist Gianni Mura, Tour de France correspondent since 1967, helps
us to discover what cycling was and what it has become today, after doping scandals, passion, epic, richness and decadence.
Finally, a bit of madness and insane joy is brought into the movie by Didi Senft, better known as “El Diablo”, a living and metaphorical symbol of all cycling fans, with their passion and their enthusiasm.
L’Ultimo Chilometro is a portrait of cycling.

Per acquistare il film (in italiano+libretto omaggio) vai su

The 6.8kg Limit

Posted: August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

What lies ahead for UCI weight limits on bikes?
Wade Wallace & Matt de Neef | Photography by Wade Wallace & Cor Vos
original article:

6.8 is one of those numeric constants that every cyclist is familiar with. It refers to the 6.8 kilogram minimum weight limit set by the UCI which restricts all bikes used in competition to this weight. This regulation was established in 2000 as a means to ensure manufacturers don’t push the structural integrity of bikes and so that teams are competing on a relatively similar machines. Thirteen years later and progress made in materials engineering, riders are still bound by this rule while competing. We take a look at the reasons behind this seemingly outdated rule, how manufacturers and teams are getting around this, and how it might change in the future.



You might remember Cannondale’s “Legalize my Cannondale” campaign back at the 2004 Giro (which Cunego won) when their Six13 bikes weighed less than 6.8kg and they put weights on the outside of the toptube to showcase their featherweight bicycle that was winning the Giro (in fact only their 50cm bike achieved this weight and it wasn’t the lightest bike on the market – but clever marketing indeed).


You can find the UCI’s original announcement back in 1999 which declares this new rule here. You can also find the current rule 1.3.019 (pdf) here

A decade later the world’s lightest bike is said to be a staggering 2.7kg (6lbs) and while this is certainly pushing practical limits, it illustrates what can be achieved with today’s materials.

The 6.8kg weight limit has been questioned, debated, and reconsidered throughout the past thirteen years, but it now seems to be outdated to the point of absurdity. At the Tour de France we noticed many team mechanics adding weight to rider’s bikes in order to meet the minimum weight limit. They would put a couple hundred grams of fishing weights in the seatposts, handlebars, or chainstays to boost the weight up to 6.8kg. And while the bikes were certainly top-end, they weren’t using exotic materials nor trying to be a weightweenies bike.

Darryl Impey's Scott Addict had 150g of weights added to the rear chainstay via the bottom bracket during the TdF. As you can see, there's nothing that's exotic about this bike that tries to be featherweight.

Darryl Impey’s Scott Addict had 150g of weights added to the rear chainstay via the bottom bracket during the TdF. As you can see, there’s nothing that’s exotic about this bike that tries to be featherweight.

Perhaps the most overused buzzwords in the manufacture’s marketing dictionary for each new product release is “lighter”. In most brand’s flagship bikes the 6.8kg limit is easily surpassed without necessarily trying to push that limit. Commissaires don’t often check bike weights at the amateur level, but recent examples from the Tour de France (on Alp d’huez) and the Giro Rosa (Fabiana Luperini, the five-time Giro champion’s bike was 100g under the limit and was disqualified) shows that the UCI does in fact take this rule very seriously.

If bikes need to have dead weight added to them for the sake of this rule, we naturally question what today’s rational is behind this rule and if it’s being revisited.

We asked UCI Technical Collaborator Johan Kucaba if the UCI still believes that a bike lighter than 6.8kg poses a significant safety risk to riders. He explained:

“The rule 1.3.019 has been introduced and has been created as many other rules of the UCI Technical Regulation by an ergonomist expert in cycling. This specialist, with the advice of other experts, has defined that 6,8Kg is the minimum weight acceptable for a bicycle, for an essential reason that is the manoeuvrability of the bicycle. Of course, technical risks related to composites materials have also been considered, but the primary reason of this rule is the manoeuvrability. We therefore believe that bicycles of 5 Kg (for example) pose significant risks of manoeuvrability.”

What does “manoeuvrability” refer to? Mr Kucaba further explained:

“Manoeuvrability is the property of the bicycle has to be driven properly, correctly. We all know that different bicycles offer different performance, particularly in terms of manoeuvrability, and we believe that a bicycle of 5Kg would be very bad even dangerous to manoeuvre, to drive. The weight has a role in manoeuvrability of a bicycle because it mainly brings stability to the bicycle. The UCI is therefore concerned about it because the safety of the riders would be directly affected.”

UCI technical specification doesn’t refer to manoeuvrability, but the UCI tells us that they will be updating it. However, it does seem fairly arbitrary that the original goal of a weight based on safety happens to be the same as manoeuvrability.

Manufacturer’s thoughts

We spoke with SCOTT’s Chief Engineer Benoit Grelier and asked him this thoughts on materials progression and if we’re at the point where sub-6.8kg bikes are safe enough and manoeuvrable enough to be ridden in professional races. He explained,

“Yes, absolutely. Have a look at the Addict SL: without resorting to exotic parts (the bike is assembled with Ritchey, Sram, Syncros components), we can go down to around 6kg for a complete bike.”

Of course there is nothing that says that manufactures cannot produce a sub 6.8kg bike and sell it like that. The UCI certification stickers only certify that new frame/fork models are in accordance with the requirements of the UCI Regulation for racing. It says nothing about the weight of a complete bike. Engineers will build their frame and forks as light as possible which also meets their strength and stiffness targets and don’t attempt add extra weight to reach a certain limit. The minimum weight limit will be left to the complete build, which will always vary.

Jürgen Falke, Merida’s Director of Products told us,

“We could potentially bring the frame-weight down about 100-150 grams from todays level – and today’s level is already extraordinary for a mass-production frame-set (our Scultura SL frame weighs 840 grams in a medium size, including rear derailleur hanger/seat-clamp). At 750 grams, the border for a reasonable mass-production carbon-frame is reached. There is not that much space there. A real 700 grams can be just reached with “clean-room environment” as Cervelo is doing it with their CA models – but is an unreasonable effort to squeeze-out the last 50 grams.”

“At such considerations, everyone need to keep in mind that the major part of the bike-weight is created by the specs, not by the frame-set. A SRAM RED group weighs less than a Shimano Di-2 – but the shifting performance of Shimano is the benchmark. Wheel-sets are a huge-factor for the overall-weight – but just some specialized brands offer workable sub 1 kilo wheel-sets.”

But the UCI isn’t so confident. Mr Kucaba said:

“We are aware that technology and materials evolve, and it would be comprehensible to think today that from a technical point of view, this weight limit could be lowered. But we have no assurance that bicycles of 6Kg (for example) are safe. We have in our Equipment Commission an engineer specialist of cycling, who worked for many manufacturers and who have designed several bicycles that are still in the peloton. This engineer expert in composite materials is not completely convinced of the reliability and strength of the bicycles weighing about 6Kg. We know that some bicycles of less than 6,8 Kg are commercialized and that some manufacturers think they are safe. We also have feedbacks from many other manufacturers who don’t think the same thing, and who advise us to leave this 6,8Kg weight limit, because this limit is very accurate and that it prevents an unreasonable race to the minimum weight.”

Where to from here?

When we ask engineers if they think the weight restriction should be revisited, Benoit from Scott said:

“If the current limit of 6.8kg is selected to ensure the safety of the bikes for the riders, then the rule should be revised. We can build a bike of 7.2kg which will be dangerous to ride, and a bike of 6.0kg which is strong enough for all races. Take a lightweight frame, assemble it with heavy, strong wheels, and use a lightweight exotic handlebar… Your bike weights more than 6.8kg, but don’t go for a sprint with it! From our experience, a frame and fork combo of less than 1kg does not compromise on safety or handling, because we surpass the highest level of testing at EFBe, and reach our stiffness targets. Giving a weight limit for the complete bike does not ensure the safety of the bike. Strength and Fatigue tests for each bike part does. However, as I already had the opportunity to mention to the UCI, if they would like to go in this “testing” direction in place of the current weight limit, the UCI should use the existing norms and tests to define their rules, and discuss with the bike industry. They should not create another “UCI” standard, which would lead to a huge increase of the development time and costs, slow down the industry and kill smaller brands.

Jürgen Falke from Merida adds,

“At the UCI MTB XC circuit, there is not such a rule and the MTB’s have to pass even higher demands in loads than a road-bike. There will be an natural border, where the stiffness and durability (f.e. at wheels) will drop, when undergoing a certain weight-level. This is up to the racer (or his team-managers), if they accept to risk higher defects.

“My personal conviction is that weight-saving is over-estimated and aerodynamic quality has to be improved. It will be the bigger challenge, to lower the aerodynamic drag at frame and wheels, without adding weight compared with todays 6,8!”

The UCI is hesitant to relax this rule however. Until they get assurance that bikes weighing less than 6.8kgs, especially to maintain sufficient manoeuvrability, “we still believe currently that the weight limit of 6,8 Kg is appropriate and accurate. This limit will not be deleted or modified for the moment,” they explained.

In terms of what type assurance they’d need, with which they responded: “In order to have the weight limit lowered, it would be necessary to give technical proof (scientific and technical studies, opinions of riders, results of tests) that a bicycle of less than 6,8 Kg is safe, and provide scientific proof that a bicycle under 6,8 Kg provides sufficient and accurate manoeuvrability to the rider. If all these proofs are provided to the Equipment Commission, then it could possibly decide to modify or remove the weight limit.”

The UCI Equipment Commission meets two times per year and are aware that this is an important issue and is regularly discussed. No matter what the limit is set to, engineers, manufacturers, and aficionados will push the limits of their bikes to make them as light as possible. It’s what we do.

Some photos from our visit (pilgrimage?) at the Mont Ventoux, Provence, France.








Didi is proud of his 1st film! (see

3 times Paris-Roubaix winner Francesco Moser gives some advices to face the cobbles at the Hell of the North.
3 minutes Excerpt from the cycling film “The Last Kilometer” –

Giro 1984 Cadutissima

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Giro 1984 Cadutissima

Giro 1984 Cadutissima – In cima al groviglio di uomini si vede Marco Vitali – Nella foto c’è anche Francesco Moser (trovalo!)

Approaching the new cycling season, we focus on one of the most famous mountains, and also on the most important stage of TDF 2013: the Mont Ventoux.
(we love this uphill, which also appears in the movie THE LAST KILOMETER, when journalists GIanni Murra evokes the sad and fascinating story of Tom Simpson)

From INRNG ( all texts and photos belong to INRNG, we suggest you to visit their site for other great stuff)

Mont Ventoux Tour de France

As the third part in a series exploring the famous roads of cycling, here is Mont Ventoux in France. The idea with this weekly series is to discover the road and its place in the world, whether its part in cycling’s folklore or to explore what it is like on a normal day without a race.
Having covered Alpe d’Huez and the Ghisallo so far in this series, Mont Ventoux is different. It dominates the landscape and the road leads to nowhere, just the summit. Apart from the view there is little at the top, a sky-blue vacuum to be filled by the imagination.
A fixture in the Tour de France and other races this is another Mecca for cyclists who ride up “the giant of Provence” every summer.

The Route
There are three starting points to reach the top but classic ascension of Mont Ventoux starts from Bédoin. This is 22.7km long and averages 7.1%. On paper alone this is a challenge but as the profile shows, a gentle start means double-digit gradients await. The summit stands at 1,909-1,912 metres depending on which sign you read.

Ventoux profile

The D974 heads east out town and begins to rise but it is gradual. The first part of the climb is more an approach to the mountain. But it gains in altitude, passing peach orchards and vineyards. After 8km it is at the village of Saint Estève that the tone shifts. A hairpin bend and the road climbs at a steep 9-10% through oak and pine woodland. The slope is irregular, consistently steep to constantly load the pedals but just enough variation to toy with momentum. It lasts for 10km until Chalet Reynard where the road briefly takes on an Alpine look with the ski stop and car park and the rider should follow the road round to the left. Then begins the most famous part as the vegetation gives way to calcified white rock, only broken by the strip of black tarmac that twists up towards the teasing summit for six kilometres.

The Feel
The mountain eludes photography. Shot from afar Mont Ventoux appears tame, a mere ridge; get close and you can’t get the perspective needed to see the enormity of the mountain. Only shots taken by flight seem to capture the scale. Here’s one courtesy of Allen Foster, aka @NoMapNoCompass:

Mont Ventoux from airVentoux as seen from an aircraft window

Instead of clicking a camera, clip your shoes in. The start is enough to make you wonder what all the fuss is about. Bédoin is a comfortable town that thrives on tourism and agriculture. The gentle start past vineyards and orchards is civil and gives no indication of what’s coming.
This all changes in the tiny village of Saint Estève, patron saint of low gearing. The road enters the shade of the forest and on a warm day the air has a pine scent. From here onwards the road becomes a test. For the unprepared the 10% slopes become a series of leg-presses: 50 reps a minute for the next hour. For those in better condition or just equipped with low gearing it becomes a winch-like effort. Any race quickly blows apart, the peloton loses its military unity and quickly resembles a troop of sheep scattered on the slopes. There’s very little benefit from drafting other riders, this soon turns into a private contest between power and weight. If your comfortable you’ll catch glimpses of the summit through the woodland, a monster hiding behind the trees. Unlike many climbs this one has almost no hairpin bends.
Chalet Reynard offers a fountain for those without a following car and a flat respite. Then it’s on to the exposed section. The experience will depend on the day. With luck you will have deep blue skies and mild weather and a chance to profit from the stunning views below you, especially when summer brings violet fields of lavender. But it’s often windy and the higher you go the worse the crosswinds. The wind is measured at over 90km/h for two thirds of the year and you can find yourself leaning at an angle to counter the wind, especially for the last few hundred metres which are steep. When viewed from afar the white rock looks as pure as snow but when riding close you’ll see vegetation clinging on.
The final ramps are steep and after the hairpin bend the road flattens in front of the observatory building. The view from the top is impressive, not 360°, but enough. Riders now have a dilemma, to descent back to Bédoin or to go behind the summit and descend to Malaucène.

Mont Ventoux older than the Alps. The white summit is the result of geology and limestone, it’s not snow. It was surely on Roman maps but the first writings come from the fourteenth century when the Tuscan Francesco Petrarca described his ascent. Labelled the “father of humanism” Petrarch, as he is known in English, is often cited as the world’s first mountaineer, a man who climbed Mont Ventoux just because it was there. Whether he did or didn’t is now disputed, some say his tale of ascent is allegorical. In 1783 Amélie de Sade made several expeditions to the top for the fun of it. Sadism indeed.
In the middle ages the mountain had seen prodigious production of charcoal. So many trees were felled that the mountain became bald and an early conservation movement began to protect the environment. But it was not until the 1850s that serious efforts to replant the mountain began. But this was a success, the wind helped to sow the seeds.
The first cyclist to ride up was Adrien Benoît, at least the first to be recorded:

The ascension of Mont Ventoux requires seven hours by car, six hours by foot and three and a half for a trained cyclist. The vertiginous descent, freewheeled, on the stoney slopes at 12% is a dangerous acrobacy. I burnt two brakes and a pair of wooden rims. Amateurs beware.

Charly Gaul VentouxGaul declares war on Mont Ventoux in 1958

There have been buildings at the top for hundreds of years. The rectangular concrete weather observatory was built in 1968 and capped with a large TV antenna. From afar it resembles a giant syringe.

Race History
This is a famous climb of the Tour de France but it is used sparingly. It was first climbed in 1951 and has been used eight times as a summit finish and crossed six more times. It has been used in the Dauphiné and the Tour de l’Avenir amongst other races.

  • Charly Gaul won in the Ventoux mountain time trial 1958 on his way to winning the race outright that year. The Luxembourger won in front of a crowd of 100,000 but that year the mountain stages were televised for the first time. Popularity was never this thing and he later spent years living as a recluse in Luxembourg
  • Tom Simpson’s death in 1967 was the final straw that saw anti-doping controls introduced in the Tour de France. But it should be noted that the 1960s saw several other sports adopt controls and cycling had already used controls at the world championships in 1966
  • Double French champion and 1984 Vuelta winner Eric Caritoux never won on Mont Ventoux but today he runs a guesthouse and grows wines in Flassan on the side of the mountain
  • Jean-François Bernard won a mountain time trial in 1987. The Frenchman found himself cast as the successor to Bernard Hinault but the next year he crashed whilst leading the Giro and never quite returned to form, finishing his career as a domestique for Miguel Indurain
  • Non climber Eros Poli won in 1994. The tallest rider in the Tour de France, he set off early on the stage with the aim of building the biggest lead possible before he had to fight with gravity and held on to win
  • It was in the Dauphiné that the Mont Ventoux record of 55.51 was set by Iban Mayo in 2004, no doubt aided by more than a tailwind.

Height of Clichés
The summit might appear barren but it is littered with clichés. We can expect them to shine as bright as the white rocks this summer when the Tour approaches. “Lunar landscape” is surely the confection of those who have never ridden up because there’s nothing lunar about the pull of gravity for those who pedal.

Roland Barthes VentouxBarthes time

French post-structural philosopher Roland Barthes wrote about the mountain and the Tour de France in his 1957 book Mythologies, saying Ventoux is a “god of evil to which sacrifices must be made” and often no report is complete without some wild quote from him. Only I find a lot of his writing impossible, as if it was written at times by the Pomo Generator (be sure to read the footnotes if you go there). It’s as if we import Barthes because we struggle to understand the mountain.

Sadly Barthes’ mention of sacrifice brings us to Tom Simpson and his death in 1967 where exhaustion, alcohol and amphetamines combined to kill him. He collapsed and could not be revived on the scene nor after a helicopter transfer to hospital. A cliché yes but a mention is obligatory and worthwhile. Apparently he died a little lower down that the spot where the memorial is placed but it’s more romantic to imagine him near to the top, so close. What if he’d died much lower down, would the memorial be so famous if it was hidden amongst the trees?

On a normal day
The summit dominates the landscape, ominous as a volcano. There’s little point in going to the top unless you’ve got the Petrarch or De Sade vibe. Locals have no need to cross over, they drive around. Despite the Ventoux AOC and Côtes du Ventoux wine label, there’s little agriculture on the slopes, the vines grow around the mountain rather than on it. The slopes are used for bee-keeping and truffle hunting. In the autumn wild boar are hunted. Otherwise it’s so quiet you can bury a body: the police have conducted excavations several times. Some claim wolves roam too.

Come summer and things pick up. Tourists picnic in the woodland. Cyclists winch up slow and descend fast. Benoît’s burning brakes are still relevant, apply the brakes for a 20km descent and rims heat and tubes burst. Meanwhile the mountain air is scented by burning clutch plates and brake pads, Dutch motorists and German motorcyclists are regulars. The road can be closed for car rallies – check before you go – and it’s long been place for motorsports too.

But no day is ever normal. Unlike Alpe d’Huez or the Ghisallo there’s no bus service, no vans, no children being ferried to school. It is a real effort to get to the top and it can’t be done all year round. The road can be blocked by snow but the wind is the main obstacle. Local cyclists will avoid the climb and seek out the many alternatives in the region. See Youtube for an example of the wind, after 1m40s the rider in black get taken across the road as the wind roars like a jet engine across the top.

Say It
Listen to Mont Ventoux pronunciation by Forvo Mont Ventoux
It’s often said Ventoux gets its name from “venteux” or windy. But now experts say the name is derived from Vin-tur meaning a mountain that can be seen from afar.

The Rhone valley has Avignon and Orange, both stops on the high speed TGV line between Paris and Marseille. Carpentras is said to be a gateway to Mont Ventoux but it’s never looked too elegant so slam that option shut. Instead Bédoin and Malaucène offer plenty of places and also bike hire.
But my base camp pick would be Sault. It sits to the east of Mont Ventoux and is further away from the Rhone valley and its howling Mistral wind that blows most days of the year. From here riders can take the “easy” third route up Mont Ventoux but also ride to Bedoin to tackle the climb. Above all there are many other routes available from here when you don’t want to include the hors catégorie Ventoux. Indeed the best thing about the Ventoux is the region and you can ride for hours on stunning roads with the summit as a landmark to guide your sense of direction.

Mont Ventoux dominates the landscape of much of the Provence area. Unlike many mountain passes of the Tour de France which cut through the mountains, this stands above the landscape. It also looms large in the mythology of the Tour de France and for good reason given the gradient, cruel winds and its white crest

It will again be a place of pilgrimage when the Tour hits the slopes in 2013 at the end of the longest stage of the race and it will be a key test ahead of the Alps.

The Last Kilometer (DVD) Stuffilm Creativeye

Unpretentiously shot with well chosen subjects it will gradually gain more significance as time goes by


Dan Kenyon, December 14, 2012

The Last Kilometer

I hadn’t heard about The Last Kilometre until I was asked to review it and it’s a relief to come to a piece of work with no pre-conceptions and no trailers. After the recent non stop trailer for ‘A Year in Yellow’ I was thinking ‘If I hear Cath Wiggins say “Which Bradley..?” one more time I shall head butt the TV. Not Cath’s fault – but less is more.

Paolo Casali is an Italian ex junior racer and documentary maker who covers the 2012 season through the eyes of two riders: Ignazio Moser – son of a certain Francesco Moser – and Davide Rebellin, the tiny haunted winner of numerous races including the Paris Nice in 2008 – now making a come back at the age of 41 after a 2 year doping ban. After introductions it’s a traditional chronological jump from rider to rider and race to race to see how they’re both fairing. We get to meet both fathers: Ignazio’s uncorking wine at his vineyard all smug in a comfortable polo shirt; Rebellin’s dad – fuming in his one man support car and refuting his son’s doping guilt because ‘he didn’t tell me.”

It’s the off bike moments that make the real story and Casali does some justice to both riders. They’re both nice guys at opposite ends of a career in cycling: Moser sitting with his team mates like a group of school kids on the kerb all pinning on their race numbers together in a line; Rebellin has the cadaverous face of the pro cyclist we all recognise – weary pride and sadness in every crease. It’s moving to see his expression when his girlfriend gently describes how now – post ban, at the end of his career Rebellin was slowly losing his fear at moving on and discovering what it is was to be a man outside of cycling. For the young Moser too there is poignancy as Casali films a number of winners plaques in the showers at the Paris Roubaix Espoir – the junior amateur version for under 23 year olds – and catches Moser (84th this year) sidling past and giving a little glance at his father’s plaque with it’s 3 wins on it. My advice to you Ignazio would be to forget the Paris Roubaix and concentrate on doing an Axel Merckx – end up dancing in front of your dad, blowing raspberries and waving an olympic medal.

Talking of blowing raspberries – for Devil fans there is also a supplementary feature on Didi the Devil. Every cycling film should have one. As everyone knows Didi Sendt has been tormenting tour riders since 1993. Watching him in the dark – laboriously line painting his bicycle symbols and messages on the road only to get up at dawn and wait 10 hours to poke Cavendish in the rear with a trident – surprisingly Cav doesn’t stop for a fight – you have to respect his energy. It’s interesting to discover Didi grew up racing bikes in the GDR and fell in love with Le Tour by getting a signal from West German TV from behind the iron curtain. With that upbringing I can now understand when the wall came down why you might think it normal to build ‘the world’s largest cycle-able guitar’ and spend your summers on mountain tops dressed in horns and tights. Love him or hate him – he’s out there living it. Chapeau Didi.

At 53 minutes The Last Kilometer doesn’t really lag. Casali says “Filming cycling’s not easy. You should have 2 helicopters and 3 motorbikes to do the best” Using a lot of footage from fans, the action is sometimes scrappy and jerky, but most of it supports the story perfectly. On the Paris Roubaix Espoirs – you can taste the dust and even in the dry the race looks as it always looks – madness to be riding the cobbles at all – let alone racing on them. The music works well – a traditional quirky euro accordion pop which supports the quirky story line. The editing device of having soft retro stills flow in like an old fashioned slide projector then sharpen annoying but thankfully doesn’t last long.

In retrospect Casali might have concentrated on one subject for half an hour; Moser, Rebellin or Mura could have each carried their own film. The only real fault – and thankfully it’s fixable – are the subtitles. I freely admit, I couldn’t begin to translate English speech accurately into Italian text. But what I’d do is get an Italian to sit down with me and translate it to text word by word. I would guess The Final Kilometer has been translated into English text by an Italian with a good – but not prefect – grasp of English. Right from the beginning the interview with a very grizzled and frankly quite frightening Gianni Mura is strangled by the Itali-anglaise.

Mura has been covering the Tour de France since 1967 and it shows. He has a face like a salami run over by a press bike – that’s then got up to give chase. Squatting behind a desk covered in a rubble of notes and books Mura spits on the very concept of race radio calling it ‘The end of the adventure’ but you realise that he’s really saying “the end of the adventurers”. The subtitles continue with a rather beautiful word mash describing cautious pro riders as “They’re no more familiar with the French so-called Beau Geste” when it should say ‘no longer’ and link with a later sentence about the French Foreign Legion method of denying riders too much water. Casali illustrates Mura’s voice over reminiscence of his first tour as a journalist and the death of Tommy Simpson in the last kilometer with a wobbly bleached out sequence on the Ventoux – shot as if your looking through Tommy Simpson’s eyes – that served to bring back ghastly memories of the 2009 Etape I thought I’d buried much deeper.

It’s a good film but the subtitles need to be gone through with a fine tooth comb to make it a fine film. Having ‘ride’ mis-translated as ‘run’ all the way through should be fixed for major release if nothing else.


Unpretentiously shot with well chosen subjects it will gradually gain more significance as time goes by.