Rudi Altig - 1969 Ajman postage stamp

Rudi Altig - Ajman postage stamp main image

Rudi Altig, German, 1937 - 2016

Rudi Altig was a tall, 'powerfully built', German track star who strayed into the road racing scene in the 1960s - with considerable success. He won the Vuelta and Tour de France Green Jersey in 1962, and was World Road Race Champion in 1966.

Wikipedia reports that in his later life as a TV commentator, Rudi Altig described Lance Armstrong as "a tyrant who exploits his team-mates without leaving them the least initiative." In Britain, for many years, Lance Armstrong was lionised as a great champion and an admirable human being. But I could never like him, long before the whole doping maelstrom, because of his strange obsessive, megalomanic, demeanor. I am heartened that Rudi, much better informed and considerably closer to the action, clearly saw the same thing.

But getting back to Rudi Altig... My appreciation of Rudi Altig is inevitably coloured by many hours spent in oily workshops working on the horrendous Rudi Altig branded ten-speed bikes that flooded into Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These were manufactured by Schauff GmbH of Remagen, West Germany, the town where Rudi also lived. If I remember correctly they had his photo as part of the head badge - a classy touch. They also had thick walled tubing, pressed and spot-welded ends, dodgy European components and cables that were always about two feet two long and used outer cabling for their whole length - due to the lack of brazed-on stops on the frame. They seemed to be sold by a tacky mail-order vendors who specialized in 'easy payment terms' and, with badly adjusted brakes and skipping gears, obviously did not give a fig whether their customers lived long to pay them off! Hell on wheels.

I think that Rudi Altig used a Campagnolo Record (1020) derailleur to win his 1966 World Road Race Championship.

This particular image of Rudi, is from a postage stamp issued, in 1969, by the tiny Emirate of Ajman, in the Persian Gulf. It is one of two images of Rudi on this web site, the other is here.

Rudi Altig - Ajman postage stamp main image