Professional Cycling For the Fans - Question about Charly Gaul, winner '58 TDF
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I have wanted to know more about Charly Gaul after he retired and lived a hermit's life in the forest. Does anyone know why he did it? I do not believe there is a biography in English; I found a biography for sale on a french website, but do not speak the language unfortunately.
Right, does anyone know why he took to living a hermit's life? The wikipedia article gives no reasons.
06-16-08, 03:22 AM
My luxembourgish is crap so I too have not read Charly's bio. When I first moved to Lux I was reading up on him - quite an amazing character. The fights he had (not physical but mental) with other riders in the Giro - especially the part where he pulled off to piss and thus began the war with Bobet who attacked during the break. The very next day, having lost his shot at a Giro defence, he drags Nencini up the mountain to Bobet ... Bobet lost by 18 seconds!! What b-lls did Charly have!
I met someone who knew him in the 60s - he just had retired (or possibly retired again) and had a cafe near the Gare.
From him I learned Charly was supposedly a very insecure man - his life in Luxembourg as a child was hard and he was extremely petty with money. Apparently one of his first two wives also dumped him - mostly about money but it was for another man.
Can't say this is conclusive, but my sense is that after the limelight of being a pro, his return to sleeply Luxembourg simply feed into his psychological issues. The word is that he was a nice man but more of a celebrity than someone you'd call a friend.
I was here in Lux for just one month when I read he had passed - he was mourned by many ... it was surprising to see how many "regular" people not only knew him but really understood the history of the sport - sort of like how in the US almost everyone knows about the "legends". Europeans love cycling but the BeNeLux folks thrive on it.
I asked a friend who works at a radio station in town to ask around (she speaks Burgish) and to find out if there are any historian types who are English literate. If I am able to find more I'll post.
So - here's to the Angel of the Mountains - I'm sure he is a happy man now.
Thanks luxroadie, this looks like decent info. It isn't always easy finding information online like "they" would have us believe.
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