Monday 12 October 2009

Steve Z. Joins the Greats

Lost Boys Cycle Press International, October 12, 2009

Breaking News, so to speak

In a surprise development, Steve "Zeezu" Zeliadt, one of the Garage team's strongest and most enthusiastic racers, has jumped up a few rungs on the sporting ladder and joined the immortals of pro cycling by breaking his collarbone during a cyclocross race this weekend. Cleverly, this will allow full healing by the time the real road racing season recommences. When interviewed, the Big Z admitted that with Armstrong and Hincapie both breaking their All-American collarbones this year, the pressure was on and time was running out in 2009 for this Seattle-based cyclist to join their ranks.

"Sure, anybody can get road rash," Mr. Zeliadt said while grimacing engagingly, "But a broken collarbone--that's the mark of the champion." And of course he is right: this has been a badge of courage borne by cycling's greatest names: Alex Zuelle, Magnus Backstedt, Tyler Hamilton, Kurt-Asle Arveson, Brett Lancaster, Tony Rominger, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Marcel Wuest, Tom Zirbel, Alejandro Valverde, Christian Vande Velde, Saul Raisin, Pascal Simon, Rolf Sorenson, and countless others. Fausto Coppi did it twice, in 1942 and 1951.

And how about Fiorenzo Magni?

Magni might have won the Tour de France in 1950. He had just taken over the yellow jersey when an angry group of spectators accused Bartali of getting physical with Jean Robic, the 1947 winner from France, on one of the climbs. The crowd turned rather vicious and the next morning the whole Italian team withdrew from the race.

Magni was one tough individual. Note the picture of Magni from the 1956 Giro d'Italia where he held a rope in his teeth to help him get pedaling leverage because of a broken collarbone. He finished second overall in the race that year despite the broken collarbone.

Of course, the current reigning World Champion, Cadel Evans, broke his collarbone three times in one year, suffering this injury eight times in his career overall, so Mr. Zeliadt has some way to go to reach the level of the Rainbow Jersey.

All of us at Lost Boys Press wish Steve a rapid recovery with minimal pain (but, hey, isn't the ability to absorb pain the whole point of racing?) and that he will soon be back on his Tarmac, Black Lightning, rallying his Garage teammates, earning the respect of his opponents and the undying adulation of spectators.

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