DISRAELI DOCUMENTS

Zeus - sticker 1970?

Zeus - sticker 1970? main image

I have been told that this sticker dates from 1970 - which is plausible, because it carries the rainbow bands of the World Champion. Harm Ottenbros won the World Road Race Championship riding a Zeus equipped bicycle in 1969.

The story of Harm Ottenbros captures slightly too many uncomfortable truths about our ‘brotherhood’ of cyclists. A relative unknown, Harm Ottenbros was only selected for the Dutch team at the World Championships as a last minute replacement. The race was one of the most negative of all time - the primary aim of most of the riders present was to prevent Eddy Merckx from winning. After Eddy Merckx retired, frustrated by the tactics of his rivals, the two remaining favourites, Roger De Vlaeminck and Gerben Karstens played that foolish game of cat and mouse that looses so many bike races. And so the last-minute-nobody, Harm Ottenbros, sneaked the win.

The peleton, embarrassed to its own stupidity, responded in its all-too-familiar childish way, by mercilessly persecuting the new World Champion. Among many, many, other slights, they mocked his climbing ability with the title of ‘The Eagle of Hoogerheide’ - a reference to Federico Bahamontes on the one hand, and the flattest part of Holland on the other.

Interviewed years later, Harm Ottenbros told L’Équipe “If I could live my life all over again, I’d miss out the cycling bit.”

It’s not a story that should make cyclists proud.


  • Publisher: Zeus
  • Country: Spain
  • Date: 1970?
  • Derailleur brands: Zeus
  • Derailleurs: none
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