We Were

How it started
It started with Rudi Altig. When I was driving to his house two years ago, I had the normal interview questions in my head: what was your most emo­tional moment in cycling, what do you think about doping? Then I realised that I’m not really interested in that. The questions changed completely. It’s about what’s important in life, when they were last drunk, do they sing in the shower?

At first, it was just going to be four or five German cyclists. Then afterwards, Rudi said ‘do you need something else? You know, more riders?’ I reeled off the ones I wanted: Gimondi, Moser and so on. There and then, he picked up his mobile phone and called Felice Gimondi
-- ‘ciao Felice, sono io, Rudi’-- and told him about me.

I hoped to get some new, emo­tional answers, uncovering their personalities and different charac­teristics. As I get older, I’m finding out that the old guys have a certain wisdom. The connection between them and cycling is fascinating.

They were not so educated, but all these riders had such a different life through cycling. In the 50s and 60s, most of them were quite poor. Imag­ine what it was like to become a star, it must have been like Hollywood for them. That’s why everything relates to it. Cycling was no mere job; it changed and still defines their entire existences.
During a golden age for cycling, the world was a far smaller place too. It wasn’t a case of choosing between football, tennis or whatever else was on TV. It helped to centralise adu­lation on the biggest stars.
Modern sports stars can, by and large, never experience or understand that world.

Nowadays, these old champi­ons are accustomed to the circuit of events, plaudits and interviews. None of them asked what I would do with the words and photographs; it was nothing new or strange for them.

My first question for Gimondi was what he’d had for breakfast that day. He said “when we were racing, we had a steak in the morning”.

Those glories are hard to escape. Most of them still live in the past -- that’s what they’re asked about most. Maybe they think that’s what we want to hear; maybe that’s what they yearn to talk about.

Either way, discussing those memories never seems tiresome for them. Their eyes still light up and they’re off again, recalling the heady times when they were kings.


Gustav-Adolf “Täve”

Magdeburg, Germany
January 2013

Ten minutes from Magdeburg, a village -- really, just a street -- with villas and single-family homes from the GDR era. Cobblestones, pine trees, sandy soil. It’s ice cold, ten below. An unremarkable house. Herr Schur answers at the first ring. He’s freshly shaven, clean shirt, he takes my camera bag. Shoes off. There are slippers for inside the house. Frau Schur -- Reni -- serves coffee.

TS: Paradise? You have to fight for Paradise. It’ll never be given to you. Not to me, anyway. Circumstances on Earth guarantee that people will always struggle towards Paradise.
To me Paradise means, and I say this in all seriousness, communism. To behave towards the resources that the Earth provides for everyone and that everyone has a right to. Everyone has a right to the same share of the world’s resources. And that means we have a responsibility to think about Paradise and how we can keep the Earth that way.
TS: Man, I’m at an age -- 82years old -- where under the current circumstances, given my situation, the only problem I really have to solve is how to divide what I have among my descendants. I’ve got a nice little house, a piece of land, to make them happy. If I could solve that problem, I’d be happy.
TS: I don’t know any. No, there’s a lot of good people, but the best? It’s not always the person with the best results. I guess I’d say it’s not the ones with the biggest names, but rather the ones who fit in the best.
TS: I thought: Shit. And I felt that way, too. Because for me a world ended.
Plates clatter. Reni arrives with the coffee and cake. Guten Appetit! We’ll have some of this while we talk.
TS: Start thinking now how you’re going to get out of this shitty situation. Because the way we live these days is ruining the planet. My impression is that if we don’t stop, if we don’t understand that we need to hit the brakes, everything’s going to collapse. Nature’s collapsing, there are fewer and fewer little birds around here every year. People are ruining everything.
TS: I had fun, too.

In the course of the day, there was an excellent lunch as well: Catfish with vegetables and salted potatoes. Afterwards, Frau Schur offered coffee and cake again.

Born in Heyrothsberge,
German Democratic Republic (GDR)
23 February 1931


Sinzig, Germany

February 2013

On the telephone, he was friendly and direct. “Good day, this is Rudi Altig. You want to make a picture. When?” It’s 10 in the morning. His bungalow is set high above the Rhine, amidst orderly houses and villas. The view over the valley is one-of-a-kind. Unshaven and in a track suit, he’s still very proper. As he sits at a large table, one might even say his demeanour is Prussian. Coffee and cookies are at the ready. He’s slim and in good form; his voice is raw and deep. In the kitchen, a French radio station is playing.

Can you still do a headstand like you used to?
RA: When I have to, I can stand on my head for half an hour.
-- Boom, boom, the answer comes out like it’s shot from a gun. --
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
RA: A bird.
-- The answers still come fast. --
What kind of bird?
RA: I think an eagle. No one’s ever asked me that before.
What was your most disappointing moment on the bike?
RA: Hmm. What I still haven’t come to terms with after all these years is 1965. That’s the year I should have won the world championships. To this day, I don’t understand how Tom Simpson could have come around me. I saw the finish line, and let that Simpson take the lead, and then couldn’t come around again. I guess it was meant to be. God in Heaven willed it. Still, that was a defeat that cost me 250,000 DM. But I’m still happy.
Who’s the best cyclist of all time?
RA: Merckx.
RA: Because he’s Eddy. When he arrived, I thought, it’s time to hang it up. He was totally happy-go-lucky about it. He rode everything: The classics, criteriums, track. Eddy is the greatest.
The best Grand Tour rider was Jacques Anquetil. He really had it down to a science. He died too early, unfortunately. I’ve really missed him all these years.
Altig eats a piece of cake.
In terms of cycling, what would you do differently today?
RA: Back then I had an agreement with Jacques that I would work for him in the Grand Tours and he would work for me in the classics, like Milan-San Remo. Once, at Paris-Nice, I couldn’t lose, but I was supposed to let him win, because Milan-San Remo was right around the corner, and he was supposed to work for me there. Then he abandoned after 60 kilometres. I would do that differently today: Help, when it makes sense. He was egotistical, and there was tension in the team. Anyway, that’s water under the bridge, now.
If a fairy were to grant you a wish, what would it be?
RA: Another 20 years with my family.
A voice from the kitchen:
RA: Can you go down to the basement for a second, my love? Am I supposed to say 25? Fine -- 25 years! Fairy, heed me now!

The recorder is off.
RA: Do you need anything else?
Altig asks.
RA: Do you need anything else?
I don't understand.
RA: Do you need contacts for other riders?
Oh yeah.
RA: Well, then.
He calls Gimondi, Moser and Renz. ‘Ciao Felice, sono io, Rudi ...’
Born in Mannheim, Germany
18 March 1937


Krefeld, Germany
February 2013

A broad, majestic street, Art Nouveau, grass verges, dogs on the leash, Number 58. In front of the door is a well cared-for metallic blue Mercedes coupe. Herr Junkermann opens the door. He’s short, with friendly eyes and a high voice. On the living room table, coffee and cake have already been served. Frau Junkermann bids farewell. She’s off to do some shopping.

How do you stay fit?
HJ: I still ride my bike a lot. You wouldn’t believe how much.
How much?
HJ: Per year?
HJ: You wouldn’t believe it.
Come on, tell me already!
HJ: I’m almost 80.
I know.
HJ: 24 to 25,000!
No way!
What does cycling mean to you?
HJ: Hah, it’s my life.
Who’s the best cyclist of all time?
HJ: I would say Eddy Merckx. Despite Coppi, despite Bartali. The way he rode, with his team, the way they tore the field apart! Whether it was 100 or 150 kilometres before the finish line, he tore into races like a cannibal. Unbelievable. He could sprint, he could time trial, he could hang in the mountains. He was the 
greatest, as far as I’m concerned. The way he won everything. And not like today, like that Armstrong. He was just fixated on the Tour.
Where does doping start?
HJ: Where does doping start?

Cough syrup, painkillers, then you’re doped. There’s ephedrine in cough syrup, helps you breathe -- doping starts there. Then there’s the harder stuff. Lots of people took things too far. Like Tom Simpson. I saw with my own eyes how he keeled over on Mont Ventoux. He was 100 meters ahead of me, in 4th place overall. He wanted to crush the mountain, and instead it crushed him. I was -- like I said -- 100 meters behind, and I saw the whole drama play out. He just fell over. The mistake was that his trainers put him back on his bike and gave him a push. Then he wobbled again, and fell again. That was it. Putting him back on the bike was the biggest mistake. Otherwise he might still be alive. He was a great guy.
What would you tell Lance Armstrong now?
HJ: Armstrong can be whatever he wants. You can’t make a racehorse out of a donkey, drugs or no -- he had something special. He had class. They can say whatever they want about Ullrich. He had character. He didn’t rat anyone out. He’s a real mensch! He’s classy, that Ullrich. We’ll never get a guy like that again. Really. And he says, ‘I never deceived anyone.’ Why? Because they were all doing it.
Herr Junkermann, thank you very much!
HJ: You’re welcome.
Born in St. Tönis, Germany
6 May 1934


Krefeld, Germany

February 2013

On the bypass leading to the freeway stands the Cristallo Palace Hotel. Behind the Cristallo Palace, a shopping centre and an office building, nine stories tall. On the third floor you’ll find the Gimondi Assicurazioni agency. In the small rooms of the insurance agency, papers and documents form towers. I’m told Signore Gimondi is stuck in traffic near Milan. Thirty minutes later, Felice Gimondi, in a good mood and impeccably dressed -- a Signore -- enters the conference room.

Do you sing in the car?
FG: No! I was always, how shall I say… I don’t talk much, always quiet, wanting to make as little fuss as possible. -- Gimondi leans back in his chair, relaxed. His voice is deep.
If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?
FG: An animal? I guess I’d be a horse. Because horses are always in contact with people, and they’re good at racing.
What was your most moving experience in cycling?
FG: I guess it would be the last Giro that I won. I was 34, so it was harder. We arrived on the Piazza Duomo, and I went to do interviews and the podium ceremony and TV and so on. Then I made my way to the hotel, alone. I started to cry. It was clear to me, that my career was over.
Who’s the best rider of all time?
FG: The prettiest was Jacques 
A strong rider with a temper? Rudi Altig, who’s still a friend of mine. And the strongest? Eddy. Always the strongest. Since '68, really, really strong.
Life is...
FG: It is. Basta. We need to accept what we are. The most important things are the simple things, the everyday.
Your advice for young people?
FG: First, I want to give some advice to the parents: Sign your kids up for sports. But then stay in the bleachers and keep quiet. Basta!
I still think Ullrich could have beaten Armstrong, given just one more year. What a shame.
Good? Is that it?
Born in Sedrina, Italy
29 September 1942


Trento, Italy
March 2013

Francesco Moser owns a little estate, a little hamlet in the slopes above Trento. At the entrance, a huge gold sign reads: “Moser, Azienda Agricola”. There are grapes as far as the eye can see. Up above, by the museum, there’s a workman’s car. A man in overalls is removing a doorframe with hammer and chisel. It’s 4 degrees and snowing. Buon giorno! After a few long minutes, the man turns. It’s Moser. Slim, strong, haggard. He’ll be there shortly.

How do you stay fit?
FM: One always has to keep moving, keep working. I ride my bike some, I ski a little. I work outdoors, always. In the winter we chop wood in the 
forest. With a chainsaw. Then I have to get the wood home, of course. It’s not enough to just cut it down.
He laughs.
If you were an animal?
FM: He laughs.
I don’t know. Maybe an animal that gets around a lot. An eagle.
What does cycling mean to you?
FM: A lot. A whole lot. From where I started all the way through to today. Cycling changed my life.
Who’s the best cyclist of all time?
FM: Merckx, for sure. Because he won in every discipline. And he won a lot. All cyclists want to win. He won the most. In quality and quantity. There’s nothing to compare.
Life is …
FM: laughs.
… a moment. It can be short, it can be long. Everyone can take their life in their own hands. I think it’s important that you take control of your destiny. And at a certain point, life is over. There’s that, too. Life is a difficult topic.

If a fairy granted you one wish?
FM: If I could do whatever I wanted? I’m pretty happy as it is. You have to make your own happiness. I don’t know what I would wish for.
What’s your advice for young people?
FM: No one’s going to give you anything. When you want something, you have to earn it. With work, and experience, and everything. Everyone has to know how they want to run their own lives. It’s important that people take responsibility for themselves in this world.
Born in Palù di Giovo, Italy
19 June 1951


Munich, Germany
April 2013

We meet in the tennis club at Munich’s Olympic Park. Older people in tennis whites sit at folding tables drinking wheat beer. In the background, bounce! bounce! from the tennis courts. Sigi Renz is in very good form, slim, hair parted neatly on the side. He’s a regular.

What makes a top rider?
SG: First, he has to succeed. That’s clear. And then, something I think is mostly missing these days, star power. You’ve visited Felice Gimondi. When I entered the arena in Milan with Felice for the six day race, whoa… 
I got goosebumps.
Who’s the best rider of all time?
He answers as fast as lightning.
SG: Eddy Merckx. As an all-rounder, he could really bring it. He won everything! There had never been anything like it, and never will be again. They’re all too specialised these days. A guy like Eddy? We’ll never see that again. 
I never raced six days with Eddy, 
because he always wanted to ride with Patrick Sercu. Eddy tested out my shoes in Dortmund once. Back then it wasn’t like you got 100 identical saddles, or the same shoes every time.
He told me about his cobbler in Milan. I traced my feet on a piece of paper and gave it to him.
A long while later, at the Union Race, up comes Eddy with a bag. 
Inside there’s two pairs of shoes for me. He never forgot anything. He shows up six months later with two pairs of shoes! What a super guy, that Eddy!
What would you do differently, if you could turn back the clock?
SG: I would focus on the road. Back then I didn’t -- I didn’t have much money. I had to do what would earn me the most. Back then, that was the track.
Rudi (Altig) wanted to bring me to meet with Raphaël (Géminiani), but I passed. They had Anquetil on the team and everything, but I said no.
On the road you couldn’t earn that much money. You basically made a name for yourself, so you could earn more in the winter. I was a bit of an airhead. I was all about living in the moment.
Where does doping start?
SG: That’s tough. Jan Ullrich said on TV: ‘I didn’t betray anyone.’ He’s right. He had to play along, unwillingly.
You know everyone else is doing it. What options do you have? I think doping is a big business, what with NADA and WADA.
I don’t know what to say, really.
Life is …
SG: … one of the hardest things.
Thank you, Herr Renz!
SG: Bitte, bitte.

After the interview, Sigi Renz invites me to a meal of wild boar in the tennis club. He shot it himself!

Born in Munich, Germany
2 August 1938


Roeselaere, Belgium
November 2013

On the edge of the village of Roeselaere, with a view of a farm field, sits a simple, clean house. The living room is tiled, the table is covered with plastic. Freddy Maertens greets me. I can set up whatever I need: The background, tripod, recorder. Do I have the 200 euro with me? That was the condition for the photo shoot. Mrs. Maertens brings coffee and cookies.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
FM: This morning? An apple.
That’s it? No coffee?
FM: Oh, sure, and two coffees. And a cigarette.
What’s special about cycling for you?
FM: What’s special about it? It’s hard work, with lots of training. And you always have to pay attention to what you eat. And train hard.
But what’s the fascination?
FM: You have to have grit. You have to want to win, every time. That’s hard for the head.
You can’t just say, 

I want to be top five?
FM: No, that won’t cut it. Then you won’t have the grit and the strength you need. No, no, no.
Who was the best cyclist of all time?
FM: Eddy Merckx.
FM: Why? I rode against him and I know. He was always smashing his head through walls.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
FM: Never give up.
For you, who’s a good personality?
FM: A good personality…
He thinks for a while. That would be Fausto Coppi.
FM: Why? He was a personality. A lot of people wanted to see him punished, when he was with the so-called ‘White Lady’, a married woman. But 
I think he had the right to do what he wanted.
Where is Paradise?
FM: Paradise? That you have to earn.
Great answer.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
FM: He answers in a flash.
A stag.
FM: It’s a beautiful animal. Smart, can run pretty fast and isn’t so easy to shoot.
Can you complete the following sentence: Life is …
He thinks for a while.
Born in Lombardsijde, Belgium
13 February 1952

De Vlaeminck

Kaprijke, Belgium
November 2013

His house is secluded, in the middle of a flat field. A renovated farmhouse, guarded by two fierce dogs. De Vlaeminck has watchful eyes. 
He’s in good shape. A somewhat hangdog face. On the dining table, there’s coffee and cake. It’s cozy, a little untidy. “You came all the way from 
Munich just for me?” He goes in the cellar to fetch homegrown potatoes for me.

Why did you start cycling?
RD: For the money. I started working in a factory at 14, and there wasn’t much there for me. And when I became a bike racer, things were good. But not everyone can ride a bike fast enough to earn money.
What was your best ride or best experience on the bike?
RD: The Tour de Suisse.
[1975 -- ed.]
RD: I won six stages, then I was 
second four times and won the whole tour. On the last day there were two half stages: In the morning a 120 kilometer race; Merckx came in second. Then a time trial: Merckx came in second. Then in the overall classification he was second. I beat him three times in one day. That was the best.
Did you cry?
RD: No, I laughed.
Who’s the best cyclist of all time?
RD: Merckx, naturally. Hinault was also very good. Coppi I didn’t know, but his palmares are very good. But Merckx has the best.
What’s your greatest strength?
RD: I don’t know. My character? 
-- He laughs. -- I don’t know. Maybe you have to have a bad character if you race.
What are you afraid of?
Where is Paradise?
RD: Here. I don’t know anything else. Here in Belgium, for sure. Not in the Phillippines.
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
RD: A lion. Roooar! Then I’d eat deer.
Please finish this sentence: Life is …
RD: … beautiful.
What would make you happy?
RD: Another 30 years of healthy life. That’s very important. When you’re young, you don’t think about it that much. Yeah, you have fewer problems. A bird! He points out the window.

Oh, yes.
Last question: If a fairy granted you one wish, what would it be?
RD: The same: Good health. That’s the most important.
He looks at the bird. I love birds. Especially the fisher. He stares at the water for ten minutes, totally calm, and then shoots into the water.
OK, Mr. De Vlaeminck.
Thank you.
Born in Eeklo, Belgium
24 August 1947


Ghent, Belgium

November 2013

Sigi Renz set things up over dinner of wild boar (one he hunted himself!) at the Olympic Park in Munich. Six Day Race, Het Kuipke, Ghent. Patrick Sercu sneaks me into the velodrome, straight up to the first floor. We sit in the race office, a rom with doors on either end. It’s overheated. Telephones ring constantly, and people pass through non-stop. Rain clatters against the window. Sercu sits, elegant and well-manicured, at the well-used table. He’s alert, his voice monotone. He’s got clever eyes underneath expressive eyebrows. The race starts in two hours.

What’s your favourite food?
PS: Oof. I don’t really have one. 
I eat everything. Everything tastes good to me. -- He pauses. -- Actually, I eat pasta and fish most often.
What was your best day on the bike?
PS: That was at the Tour de France, on the stage from Roubaix to Charleroi, when I rode 200 kilometers alone off the front and had six minutes on the rest of the sprinters in the peloton. All of Belgium still remembers. It was such a surprise. No one ever expected that I would win. I was a sprinter. That brought me renown: When you do something no one thinks you can.
Did you cry?
PS: No, I’ve never cried for happiness.
Who was the best cyclist of all time?
PS: He answers right off the bat. --
Merckx. No doubt.
PS: Just look at his palmarès. His breadth speaks volumes. He won everything: He won Six Day races, he won the Tour de France, he won classics. Everything.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
PS: I was lucky -- my father was an old racer himself. And a very …
His cellphone rings. ‘Christoph. Yes, Toffi …’ A conversation in Flemish ensues.
So what was that advice?
PS: My father was a very wise man. He was also my first trainer, and an aficionado. He immediately saw what I was capable of, and what my strengths were. At the beginning, I wasn’t strong. He always protected me. Take it slow, you know? He sent me to the track. He brought me to where I am today. He really analysed me as an athlete. Back then, I didn’t really get it. I was unhappy, I was only allowed to race once a week, I had to ride on the track.
But that’s normal, that one only understands many things in hindsight.
PS: Yeah, yeah. But my father died early, and at the time I was still racing.
Did he live long enough to see you succeed?
PS: Yes. He died in the 70s, and I quit in 1983. He was still alive to see me ride in the Tour.
What’s your greatest strength?
PS: I think I’m a straight shooter and honest.
What’s your greatest weakness?
PS: Nerves. Nervousness. I get worked up really easily. As a sprinter, you have to react quickly -- you can’t be slow on the uptake.
What are you afraid of?
PS: Being sick. Getting some terrible illness. Not of dying. I know I have to die someday. But I’d hate to get Alzheimer’s.
Where is Paradise?
PS: Here.
If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
PS: A dog? But I don’t want to be an animal. Or a horse. A beautiful -- he guffaws -- I have a Labrador. He’s so sweet and smart.
Can you finish this sentence? Life is ...
PS: He thinks for a while.
… something that can go in so many directions. It’s unimaginable.

As a farewell, he gives his interviewer a ticket to the race.

Born in Roeselare, Belgium
27 June 1944


Toledo, Spain
March 2014

On a Toledo street, a five-story building. Built in the 70s. On the buzzers downstairs, there are no names, only numbers. I have to call Bahamontes. He tells me I should come to the garage instead. How am I supposed to get to the garage? What garage? I’m standing at the door to his building. 
I call him again. I’m supposed to go to the garage. Bahamontes is standing 20 meters away, in front of a massive entrance. He waves at me, amused. He’s in fantastic form. Slim, good posture, limber. He talks a lot, and fast, showing me his garage, his Mercedes, his office -- his empire.

What’s your favourite food?
FB: Meat. Jamon Serrano, Jamon de Pata Negra. Red meat.
What was your most moving moment in cycling?
FB: When I won the Tour. Hah! It was a different world. In Toledo, there’s never been a bigger celebration. Not when the pope came, not when Franco came. The biggest celebration was for Bahamontes! It was unbelievable. Cars for kilometers, motorcycles, bicycles … From Madrid to here, it’s five hours, and the bells rang in 14 churches.
Did you cry?
FB: No, no, I’m tough. I was crying on the inside, of course. But otherwise, no, no.
Who’s the best rider of all time?
FB: For me, Coppi. There was also Eddy Merckx. Merckx was a great rider. Pantani was definitely a better climber than Bahamontes. But how long did Pantani last?
Where is Paradise?
FB: Paradise? No one knows. No one knows where Paradise is.
Life is …
FB: … the best thing you can experience. A good, healthy, long life. A car runs for a long time or not so long. Why? It depends on whether you check the motor, check the oil when you should. When you don’t do that … That’s why I prefer Mercedes. They’re solid, and not made of plastic.
If you were an animal …
FB: What kind of question is that?
An eagle.
Born in Toledo, Spain
9 July 1928


Meaux, France
April 2014

Joop Zoetemelk lives near Meaux, not far from Paris. It’s a bedroom community for people who have made it. At the edge of a game reserve, stands a gorgeous new house, painted pink. Mrs. Zoetemelk opens the door at the first ring of the bell and invites me in. Joop Zoetemelk is a well put-together man with white hair. His gaze is uneasy. We sit on the terrace, with a view to the forest beyond. Dany Zoetemelk serves coffee. Birds chirp.

If you hadn’t become a bike racer, what would you have done?
JZ: I was trained to build wood roofs.
How has cycling influenced your life?
JZ: Well, I started cycling out of love for the sport. Then I just kept going. If I hadn’t, I’d still be up on rooftops today. And I wouldn’t have earned as much money as I did in cycling. Something else completely. A different life. It’s been a lovely life. It was hard, too. But only the lovely images remain.
What was your most moving moment in cycling?
JZ: On the Champs d’Elysees, after the Tour de France. That was emotional. At the end, all the Dutch stood around the podium and sang.
Did you have to cry?
JZ: Almost. It was great.
Looking back, is there anything you would do differently today?
JZ: I would do it all the same.
Who was the best rider of all time?
JZ: That’s got to be Merckx. Merckx was everywhere. At the classics, at the grand tours, at the small tours. Everywhere Merckx started, he was the winner. Bernard Hinault was the same, but nicer about it. He wasn’t everywhere, everywhere, me, me, me!
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
JZ: Ha! A bear.
What would you like your eulogy to say?
JZ: I won’t be able to hear it anyway. It makes no difference to me. Anyway, it’s a long way away.
Life is …
JZ: … good. Life is good. Good, and hard. Sometimes really hard. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
Thank you!
JZ: That was tough.
Born in Rijpwetering, Netherlands
3 December 1946


Auvergne, France
April 2014

A small town in the Auvergne, 20 minutes from Clermont-Ferrand. Géminiani lives in a house that was chic 30 years ago. In the front yard are little trees you only find in France. In the driveway is a silver Mercedes coupe. Géminiani opens the door in a good mood, and we sit at the kitchen table. In the middle there’s coffee, water and an ashtray. He offers me wine, beer or Champagne.

What was your relationship with your father?
RG: My father?! The father was the boss. You listened to your father. I lost my mother early. ‘Do this, do that, now!’ Like I said -- the father was in charge. I was born in '25, and in '36 I took my school exams. That day, I got a job. I was 11 years old.
Lighter, click, cigarette.
What’s the best advice you ever got?
RG: When I started, there was nothing. No bikes, no tomorrow. The old guys, the whole national team from before the war, was still around. They said: ‘Raphaël, you have to have courage and train!’ It’s courage! Voila!
Who’s the best rider ever?
RG: There are two great champions of cycling, Merckx and Coppi. Voila! And after that, for me, Hinault and Anquetil.
Click. New cigarette.
If you were an animal?
RG: A cat. A cat, because they’re independent. Cats are great, they’re a part of the family, they’re clean and independent. And they have character. A nice animal. A chicken is good for broiling, a boar good for cooking…
He laughs.
Yeah, a cat is good.
Click. Cigarette.
Where is Paradise?
RG: On Earth. I’m an atheist. I’m against religion. When you look at what the Catholics have done! Or the Muslims? They’re all the same. 
We have everything we need -- everything. It’s fantastic. Paradise is here on Earth.
If a fairy granted you a wish?
RG: He laughs.
To live as long as possible. A castle doesn’t interest me.
Not being sick, that counts. To live as long as possible. Dear Fairy: A castle or a boat, no thank you. But live a little longer? I wouldn’t say 
no! Glass of Champagne?
I don’t drink.
RG: This isn’t alcohol, it’s Champagne! Yeah, I’ll just go ahead and open one.
Born in Clermont-Ferrand, France
12 June 1925


Fuschl am See, Austria
September 2016

Fuschl am See, a lovely spot in the Alps near Salzburg. The scenery is reminiscent of a toy train set.

The "Eddy Merckx Classic" is a charity ride for a very limited number of participants. Cycling greats like Francesco Moser, Felice Gimondi and Steven Roche are there. The tempo is easy. Police motorbikes cruise ahead and behind. Here a few words, there a greeting. Sunshine.

During the ride, a steady stream of riders pull alongside Merckx. They drape an arm over him and snap a selfie with their phones.

After two hours, the ride is over. Back in Fuschl am See, Eddy steps off his bike.
I ask him if I can take his picture. Another photo.
After the sixth shot, he says, "enough." And goes.

Born in Meensel-Kiezegem, Belgium
June 17, 1945
Contact / Imprint

Seit über 25 Jahren fotografiere ich für Magazine, nationale und interna­tionale Kunden. Anfangs als Presse- und Agenturfotograf, inzwischen Reportagen und Portraits. Im Mittelpunkt steht immer der Mensch.

Ich lebe mit meiner Freundin und unserem Sohn in München.

Rufen Sie an oder schreiben Sie mir. Gerne mache ich Ihnen ein Angebot.

Oliver Soulas
Ligsalzstraße 27
80339 München. Germany
Tel. +49 171 645 20 66

Finde mich auf Google maps

© Oliver Soulas 2016-.
All rights reserved.

For using any of the images on this homepage, please contact me. contact@oliversoulas.com
Respect copyright or otherwise lose many Karma-points.
Thank you, O. S.

Konzeption und Gestaltung:
Studio Rio, Laura Breier

Website by thi.guten, Markus Thielen



Diese Datenschutzerklärung klärt Sie über die Art, den Umfang und Zweck der Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten (nachfolgend kurz „Daten“) im Rahmen der Erbringung unserer Leistungen sowie innerhalb unseres Onlineangebotes und der mit ihm verbundenen Webseiten, Funktionen und Inhalte sowie externen Onlinepräsenzen, wie z.B. unser Social Media Profile auf (nachfolgend gemeinsam bezeichnet als „Onlineangebot“). Im Hinblick auf die verwendeten Begrifflichkeiten, wie z.B. „Verarbeitung“ oder „Verantwortlicher“ verweisen wir auf die Definitionen im Art. 4 der Datenschutzgrundverordnung (DSGVO).


Oliver Soulas
Ligsalzstr. 27
80339 München


Arten der verarbeiteten Daten

- Bestandsdaten (z.B., Personen-Stammdaten, Namen oder Adressen).
- Kontaktdaten (z.B., E-Mail, Telefonnummern).
- Inhaltsdaten (z.B., Texteingaben, Fotografien, Videos).
- Nutzungsdaten (z.B., besuchte Webseiten, Interesse an Inhalten, Zugriffszeiten).
- Meta-/Kommunikationsdaten (z.B., Geräte-Informationen, IP-Adressen).

Kategorien betroffener Personen

Besucher und Nutzer des Onlineangebotes (Nachfolgend bezeichnen wir die betroffenen Personen zusammenfassend auch als „Nutzer“).

Zweck der Verarbeitung

- Zurverfügungstellung des Onlineangebotes, seiner Funktionen und Inhalte.
- Beantwortung von Kontaktanfragen und Kommunikation mit Nutzern.
- Sicherheitsmaßnahmen.
- Reichweitenmessung/Marketing

Verwendete Begrifflichkeiten

„Personenbezogene Daten“ sind alle Informationen, die sich auf eine identifizierte oder identifizierbare natürliche Person (im Folgenden „betroffene Person“) beziehen; als identifizierbar wird eine natürliche Person angesehen, die direkt oder indirekt, insbesondere mittels Zuordnung zu einer Kennung wie einem Namen, zu einer Kennnummer, zu Standortdaten, zu einer Online-Kennung (z.B. Cookie) oder zu einem oder mehreren besonderen Merkmalen identifiziert werden kann, die Ausdruck der physischen, physiologischen, genetischen, psychischen, wirtschaftlichen, kulturellen oder sozialen Identität dieser natürlichen Person sind.

„Verarbeitung“ ist jeder mit oder ohne Hilfe automatisierter Verfahren ausgeführte Vorgang oder jede solche Vorgangsreihe im Zusammenhang mit personenbezogenen Daten. Der Begriff reicht weit und umfasst praktisch jeden Umgang mit Daten.

„Pseudonymisierung“ die Verarbeitung personenbezogener Daten in einer Weise, dass die personenbezogenen Daten ohne Hinzuziehung zusätzlicher Informationen nicht mehr einer spezifischen betroffenen Person zugeordnet werden können, sofern diese zusätzlichen Informationen gesondert aufbewahrt werden und technischen und organisatorischen Maßnahmen unterliegen, die gewährleisten, dass die personenbezogenen Daten nicht einer identifizierten oder identifizierbaren natürlichen Person zugewiesen werden.

„Profiling“ jede Art der automatisierten Verarbeitung personenbezogener Daten, die darin besteht, dass diese personenbezogenen Daten verwendet werden, um bestimmte persönliche Aspekte, die sich auf eine natürliche Person beziehen, zu bewerten, insbesondere um Aspekte bezüglich Arbeitsleistung, wirtschaftliche Lage, Gesundheit, persönliche Vorlieben, Interessen, Zuverlässigkeit, Verhalten, Aufenthaltsort oder Ortswechsel dieser natürlichen Person zu analysieren oder vorherzusagen.

Als „Verantwortlicher“ wird die natürliche oder juristische Person, Behörde, Einrichtung oder andere Stelle, die allein oder gemeinsam mit anderen über die Zwecke und Mittel der Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten entscheidet, bezeichnet.

„Auftragsverarbeiter“ eine natürliche oder juristische Person, Behörde, Einrichtung oder andere Stelle, die personenbezogene Daten im Auftrag des Verantwortlichen verarbeitet.

Maßgebliche Rechtsgrundlagen

Nach Maßgabe des Art. 13 DSGVO teilen wir Ihnen die Rechtsgrundlagen unserer Datenverarbeitungen mit. Für Nutzer aus dem Geltungsbereich der Datenschutzgrundverordnung (DSGVO), d.h. der EU und des EWG gilt, sofern die Rechtsgrundlage in der Datenschutzerklärung nicht genannt wird, Folgendes:
Die Rechtsgrundlage für die Einholung von Einwilligungen ist Art. 6 Abs. 1 lit. a und Art. 7 DSGVO;
Die Rechtsgrundlage für die Verarbeitung zur Erfüllung unserer Leistungen und Durchführung vertraglicher Maßnahmen sowie Beantwortung von Anfragen ist Art. 6 Abs. 1 lit. b DSGVO;
Die Rechtsgrundlage für die Verarbeitung zur Erfüllung unserer rechtlichen Verpflichtungen ist Art. 6 Abs. 1 lit. c DSGVO;
Für den Fall, dass lebenswichtige Interessen der betroffenen Person oder einer anderen natürlichen Person eine Verarbeitung personenbezogener Daten erforderlich machen, dient Art. 6 Abs. 1 lit. d DSGVO als Rechtsgrundlage.
Die Rechtsgrundlage für die erforderliche Verarbeitung zur Wahrnehmung einer Aufgabe, die im öffentlichen Interesse liegt oder in Ausübung öffentlicher Gewalt erfolgt, die dem Verantwortlichen übertragen wurde ist Art. 6 Abs. 1 lit. e DSGVO.
Die Rechtsgrundlage für die Verarbeitung zur Wahrung unserer berechtigten Interessen ist Art. 6 Abs. 1 lit. f DSGVO.
Die Verarbeitung von Daten zu anderen Zwecken als denen, zu denen sie ehoben wurden, bestimmt sich nach den Vorgaben des Art 6 Abs. 4 DSGVO.
Die Verarbeitung von besonderen Kategorien von Daten (entsprechend Art. 9 Abs. 1 DSGVO) bestimmt sich nach den Vorgaben des Art. 9 Abs. 2 DSGVO.


Wir treffen nach Maßgabe der gesetzlichen Vorgabenunter Berücksichtigung des Stands der Technik, der Implementierungskosten und der Art, des Umfangs, der Umstände und der Zwecke der Verarbeitung sowie der unterschiedlichen Eintrittswahrscheinlichkeit und Schwere des Risikos für die Rechte und Freiheiten natürlicher Personen, geeignete technische und organisatorische Maßnahmen, um ein dem Risiko angemessenes Schutzniveau zu gewährleisten.

Zu den Maßnahmen gehören insbesondere die Sicherung der Vertraulichkeit, Integrität und Verfügbarkeit von Daten durch Kontrolle des physischen Zugangs zu den Daten, als auch des sie betreffenden Zugriffs, der Eingabe, Weitergabe, der Sicherung der Verfügbarkeit und ihrer Trennung. Des Weiteren haben wir Verfahren eingerichtet, die eine Wahrnehmung von Betroffenenrechten, Löschung von Daten und Reaktion auf Gefährdung der Daten gewährleisten. Ferner berücksichtigen wir den Schutz personenbezogener Daten bereits bei der Entwicklung, bzw. Auswahl von Hardware, Software sowie Verfahren, entsprechend dem Prinzip des Datenschutzes durch Technikgestaltung und durch datenschutzfreundliche Voreinstellungen.

Zusammenarbeit mit Auftragsverarbeitern, gemeinsam Verantwortlichen und Dritten

Sofern wir im Rahmen unserer Verarbeitung Daten gegenüber anderen Personen und Unternehmen (Auftragsverarbeitern, gemeinsam Verantwortlichen oder Dritten) offenbaren, sie an diese übermitteln oder ihnen sonst Zugriff auf die Daten gewähren, erfolgt dies nur auf Grundlage einer gesetzlichen Erlaubnis (z.B. wenn eine Übermittlung der Daten an Dritte, wie an Zahlungsdienstleister, zur Vertragserfüllung erforderlich ist), Nutzer eingewilligt haben, eine rechtliche Verpflichtung dies vorsieht oder auf Grundlage unserer berechtigten Interessen (z.B. beim Einsatz von Beauftragten, Webhostern, etc.).

Sofern wir Daten anderen Unternehmen unserer Unternehmensgruppe offenbaren, übermitteln oder ihnen sonst den Zugriff gewähren, erfolgt dies insbesondere zu administrativen Zwecken als berechtigtes Interesse und darüberhinausgehend auf einer den gesetzlichen Vorgaben entsprechenden Grundlage.

Übermittlungen in Drittländer

Sofern wir Daten in einem Drittland (d.h. außerhalb der Europäischen Union (EU), des Europäischen Wirtschaftsraums (EWR) oder der Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft) verarbeiten oder dies im Rahmen der Inanspruchnahme von Diensten Dritter oder Offenlegung, bzw. Übermittlung von Daten an andere Personen oder Unternehmen geschieht, erfolgt dies nur, wenn es zur Erfüllung unserer (vor)vertraglichen Pflichten, auf Grundlage Ihrer Einwilligung, aufgrund einer rechtlichen Verpflichtung oder auf Grundlage unserer berechtigten Interessen geschieht. Vorbehaltlich gesetzlicher oder vertraglicher Erlaubnisse, verarbeiten oder lassen wir die Daten in einem Drittland nur beim Vorliegen der gesetzlichen Voraussetzungen. D.h. die Verarbeitung erfolgt z.B. auf Grundlage besonderer Garantien, wie der offiziell anerkannten Feststellung eines der EU entsprechenden Datenschutzniveaus (z.B. für die USA durch das „Privacy Shield“) oder Beachtung offiziell anerkannter spezieller vertraglicher Verpflichtungen.

Rechte der betroffenen Personen

Sie haben das Recht, eine Bestätigung darüber zu verlangen, ob betreffende Daten verarbeitet werden und auf Auskunft über diese Daten sowie auf weitere Informationen und Kopie der Daten entsprechend den gesetzlichen Vorgaben.

Sie haben entsprechend. den gesetzlichen Vorgaben das Recht, die Vervollständigung der Sie betreffenden Daten oder die Berichtigung der Sie betreffenden unrichtigen Daten zu verlangen.

Sie haben nach Maßgabe der gesetzlichen Vorgaben das Recht zu verlangen, dass betreffende Daten unverzüglich gelöscht werden, bzw. alternativ nach Maßgabe der gesetzlichen Vorgaben eine Einschränkung der Verarbeitung der Daten zu verlangen.

Sie haben das Recht zu verlangen, dass die Sie betreffenden Daten, die Sie uns bereitgestellt haben nach Maßgabe der gesetzlichen Vorgaben zu erhalten und deren Übermittlung an andere Verantwortliche zu fordern.

Sie haben ferner nach Maßgabe der gesetzlichen Vorgaben das Recht, eine Beschwerde bei der zuständigen Aufsichtsbehörde einzureichen.


Sie haben das Recht, erteilte Einwilligungen mit Wirkung für die Zukunft zu widerrufen.


Sie können der künftigen Verarbeitung der Sie betreffenden Daten nach Maßgabe der gesetzlichen Vorgaben jederzeit widersprechen. Der Widerspruch kann insbesondere gegen die Verarbeitung für Zwecke der Direktwerbung erfolgen.

Cookies und Widerspruchsrecht bei Direktwerbung

Als „Cookies“ werden kleine Dateien bezeichnet, die auf Rechnern der Nutzer gespeichert werden. Innerhalb der Cookies können unterschiedliche Angaben gespeichert werden. Ein Cookie dient primär dazu, die Angaben zu einem Nutzer (bzw. dem Gerät auf dem das Cookie gespeichert ist) während oder auch nach seinem Besuch innerhalb eines Onlineangebotes zu speichern. Als temporäre Cookies, bzw. „Session-Cookies“ oder „transiente Cookies“, werden Cookies bezeichnet, die gelöscht werden, nachdem ein Nutzer ein Onlineangebot verlässt und seinen Browser schließt. In einem solchen Cookie kann z.B. der Inhalt eines Warenkorbs in einem Onlineshop oder ein Login-Status gespeichert werden. Als „permanent“ oder „persistent“ werden Cookies bezeichnet, die auch nach dem Schließen des Browsers gespeichert bleiben. So kann z.B. der Login-Status gespeichert werden, wenn die Nutzer diese nach mehreren Tagen aufsuchen. Ebenso können in einem solchen Cookie die Interessen der Nutzer gespeichert werden, die für Reichweitenmessung oder Marketingzwecke verwendet werden. Als „Third-Party-Cookie“ werden Cookies bezeichnet, die von anderen Anbietern als dem Verantwortlichen, der das Onlineangebot betreibt, angeboten werden (andernfalls, wenn es nur dessen Cookies sind spricht man von „First-Party Cookies“).

Wir können temporäre und permanente Cookies einsetzen und klären hierüber im Rahmen unserer Datenschutzerklärung auf.

Falls die Nutzer nicht möchten, dass Cookies auf ihrem Rechner gespeichert werden, werden sie gebeten die entsprechende Option in den Systemeinstellungen ihres Browsers zu deaktivieren. Gespeicherte Cookies können in den Systemeinstellungen des Browsers gelöscht werden. Der Ausschluss von Cookies kann zu Funktionseinschränkungen dieses Onlineangebotes führen.

Ein genereller Widerspruch gegen den Einsatz der zu Zwecken des Onlinemarketing eingesetzten Cookies kann bei einer Vielzahl der Dienste, vor allem im Fall des Trackings, über die US-amerikanische Seite http://www.aboutads.info/choices/ oder die EU-Seite http://www.youronlinechoices.com/ erklärt werden. Des Weiteren kann die Speicherung von Cookies mittels deren Abschaltung in den Einstellungen des Browsers erreicht werden. Bitte beachten Sie, dass dann gegebenenfalls nicht alle Funktionen dieses Onlineangebotes genutzt werden können.

Löschung von Daten

Die von uns verarbeiteten Daten werden nach Maßgabe der gesetzlichen Vorgaben gelöscht oder in ihrer Verarbeitung eingeschränkt. Sofern nicht im Rahmen dieser Datenschutzerklärung ausdrücklich angegeben, werden die bei uns gespeicherten Daten gelöscht, sobald sie für ihre Zweckbestimmung nicht mehr erforderlich sind und der Löschung keine gesetzlichen Aufbewahrungspflichten entgegenstehen.

Sofern die Daten nicht gelöscht werden, weil sie für andere und gesetzlich zulässige Zwecke erforderlich sind, wird deren Verarbeitung eingeschränkt. D.h. die Daten werden gesperrt und nicht für andere Zwecke verarbeitet. Das gilt z.B. für Daten, die aus handels- oder steuerrechtlichen Gründen aufbewahrt werden müssen.

Änderungen und Aktualisierungen der Datenschutzerklärung

Wir bitten Sie sich regelmäßig über den Inhalt unserer Datenschutzerklärung zu informieren. Wir passen die Datenschutzerklärung an, sobald die Änderungen der von uns durchgeführten Datenverarbeitungen dies erforderlich machen. Wir informieren Sie, sobald durch die Änderungen eine Mitwirkungshandlung Ihrerseits (z.B. Einwilligung) oder eine sonstige individuelle Benachrichtigung erforderlich wird.

Google Analytics

Wir setzen auf Grundlage unserer berechtigten Interessen (d.h. Interesse an der Analyse, Optimierung und wirtschaftlichem Betrieb unseres Onlineangebotes im Sinne des Art. 6 Abs. 1 lit. f. DSGVO) Google Analytics, einen Webanalysedienst der Google LLC („Google“) ein. Google verwendet Cookies. Die durch das Cookie erzeugten Informationen über Benutzung des Onlineangebotes durch die Nutzer werden in der Regel an einen Server von Google in den USA übertragen und dort gespeichert.

Google ist unter dem Privacy-Shield-Abkommen zertifiziert und bietet hierdurch eine Garantie, das europäische Datenschutzrecht einzuhalten (https://www.privacyshield.gov/participant?id=a2zt000000001L5AAI&status=Active).

Google wird diese Informationen in unserem Auftrag benutzen, um die Nutzung unseres Onlineangebotes durch die Nutzer auszuwerten, um Reports über die Aktivitäten innerhalb dieses Onlineangebotes zusammenzustellen und um weitere, mit der Nutzung dieses Onlineangebotes und der Internetnutzung verbundene Dienstleistungen, uns gegenüber zu erbringen. Dabei können aus den verarbeiteten Daten pseudonyme Nutzungsprofile der Nutzer erstellt werden.

Wir setzen Google Analytics nur mit aktivierter IP-Anonymisierung ein. Das bedeutet, die IP-Adresse der Nutzer wird von Google innerhalb von Mitgliedstaaten der Europäischen Union oder in anderen Vertragsstaaten des Abkommens über den Europäischen Wirtschaftsraum gekürzt. Nur in Ausnahmefällen wird die volle IP-Adresse an einen Server von Google in den USA übertragen und dort gekürzt.

Die von dem Browser des Nutzers übermittelte IP-Adresse wird nicht mit anderen Daten von Google zusammengeführt. Die Nutzer können die Speicherung der Cookies durch eine entsprechende Einstellung ihrer Browser-Software verhindern; die Nutzer können darüber hinaus die Erfassung der durch das Cookie erzeugten und auf ihre Nutzung des Onlineangebotes bezogenen Daten an Google sowie die Verarbeitung dieser Daten durch Google verhindern, indem sie das unter folgendem Link verfügbare Browser-Plugin herunterladen und installieren: http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout?hl=de.

Weitere Informationen zur Datennutzung durch Google, Einstellungs- und Widerspruchsmöglichkeiten, erfahren Sie in der Datenschutzerklärung von Google (https://policies.google.com/technologies/ads) sowie in den Einstellungen für die Darstellung von Werbeeinblendungen durch Google (https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated).

Die personenbezogenen Daten der Nutzer werden nach 14 Monaten gelöscht oder anonymisiert.

Erstellt mit Datenschutz-Generator.de von RA Dr. Thomas Schwenke