There are only two requirements for a “Classic Tour”: the bikes must be registered prior to the year 1990 and the ride takes place without a timer. After organizer Hans Holzer invited aspiring athletes on modern bikes to his “Wachauer Radtage” a few weeks ago, this time the focus was on rest, deceleration and nostalgia.
“For me, this is a great event. The wheels are polished and look like new but are up to 40 years old. Those old steel wheels can take a lot more,” Holzer laughed. Then the organizer slipped into a vintage pullover himself and bypassed the 66-kilometre exit from Mautern through Krems in the direction of Grafenegg (Krems district).
Italian cycling champion Moser an ambassador
Old road bikes tell a special story because they have a great past. Incredible achievements have been made on many of them. Italian cycling legend Francesco Moser, who is considered a sports national champion in his homeland since winning the Giro d’Italia in 1984, was able to speak on the matter. He is 71 years old and is now the brand ambassador for “Vintage Tour”. He cycled through Lower Austria with former Italian champion Mara Mossuolo.
“I love the place here because there are many vineyards. I have my own winery at home, and now during the picking season I love it so much.” Moser still enjoys riding old steel bikes. “Modern bikes are lighter and easier to ride. Today I am amazed at how I can manage the difficult mountain stages with these brakes. But every now and then I like to ride old bikes.”
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Much respect for historic bikes
The biggest differences between historical and modern bikes can be seen in weight and gearing. “The gears were attached to the chassis, which was a huge challenge at high speeds and the old bikes weighed ten kilograms. Today they are three kilograms lighter,” explains Bernard Rasinger, who won bronze in the team’s test with Austria in 1987.
There was also the Tour de France participant, Rene Hasselbacher, Olympian Hans Lenhart and former Francesco Moser teammate Harald Mayer. They were all at a fast pace, but always with the necessary respect for the historic bike. “I’ve been here with a bike since 1985. It hurts when you drive it up the hill and valley. But you love doing it and getting ‘diamonds’ from the basement every now and then.”
Hans Lienhart’s eyes also lit up as he talked about his bikes in an interview with ORF. “I am an avid collector and have some copies myself. Classic Italian bikes in particular are in great demand and there is a lot of passion behind them.”
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