Among the Titans of cycling sports, Miguel Indurain has his very special spot.
The son of a farmer from the Basque countryside probably has discovered his passion for the bicycle already when he was a young boy and held fun races with his sisters and his brother. And he certainly was considered a talented future sprinter as an amateur. But it was not until he joined the ranks of the Pro-Team Banesto that his full potential was revealed.
His physique set him apart from his competitors. His lung volume was 8 liters, his resting heartbeat the lowest ever measured on a healthy athlete (28 beats per minute) and the power he could produce averaged at 455 watts. Miguel was a brute force of nature. But he was also a bit on the heavy side for a cyclist.
So 'Big Mig' had to sort to a special strategy when it came to stage racing: He smashed the competition in the time trials. But as soon as a race moved up the slopes of a mountain, he sticked to the rear wheel of his closest contenders to not loose valuable time on them. He knew, that on the downhill sections, he could bring them to their knees again.
This composed style of racing earned him two Giri d'Italia and a record of 5 consecutive Tour de France victories. On top, his time trialling skills brought in a world championship, the hour record and a golden medal at the Olympics. The quiet guy from the basque countries was nothing less than the dominant rider of the early 1990s.
The bikes for the Banesto Team were traditionally made by Pinarello - with a short break where the Spanish brand Razesa delivered the frames. Within the brand of Pinarello from a certain point on it was one specific man who took care of those frames: Dario Pegoretti.
The legendary framebuilder from Caldonazzo (Trento) and later Verona, is widely considered to be one of the best framebuilders of his era. And thus, he was responsible for bikes of some of the most famous riders of their time. Marco Pantani, Stephen Roche, Claudio Chiappucci, Mario Cipollini, Andrea Tafi, Tom Boonen and others.He famously welded Indurains 1994 Tour de France frame which would become the last year that the tour winner had been riding only steel bikes.
Dario was one of the Pioneers of TIG-welded frames, Steel and Aluminium were his materials of choice. And being very creative, he was frequently checking out tubing companies for specially shaped tubes. The effects of his work can be seen on our Time Trial bike here. He ordered the tubes from French tubing specialists Excell.
The tubeset is inspired by the aerodynamically shaped steel designs which were traditionally utilized in airplane constructions. Ironically though Pegoretti turned the tubes 180 degrees and by doing so created a unique look with the headtube protruding forward like the blade of a knife. Being not only aerodynamic but also comparably strong, this type of frame proved to become Indurains favourite and he used it on several occasions between 1993 and 1996.
The early version of this bike came with a short head tube ('93/'94) but in 1995 that changed. Our bike here is the later version (easily recognisable by the long head tube). It is this the frame Miguel Indurain used in the last time trial of the 1995 Tour de France.
The penultimate 19th stage was a time trial at the Lac de Vassivière. Though Indurain could have used his Pinarello Espada, a monocoque compound bike, he turned to his trusted Pegoretti built steel machine. It was a windy and hilly terrain and Miguel did not want to run into any risk losing valuable seconds to Alex Zülle, who was a very strong time trialist as well - and not far behind him in the general qualification.
Indurain even decided for low profile rims, which was very unusual. In the end his preparation and the efforts payed out and he dominated this time trial a last time, making our frame a stage winning - in fact tour winning - piece of history.
Certainly absolutely worth of becoming one of the finest pieces of any collection.
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