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Polemica Open Thread: You Call THAT a Polemica?

Gaul in the Alps at the 1957 Giro
Gaul in the Alps at the 1957 Giro
Getty Images/Keystone

Today was another marvellous day of racing and chatting about racing, two of God's gifts to mankind. The polemics between Alberto Contador and his rivals, mainly of Astana, have made for some delicious conversation and quoting. But all over Italy, elderly fans are no doubt rolling their eyes at what passes for polemics nowadays. You kids, you have no idea.

I'll offer one such vignette, and maybe y'all can add to it.

In the 1957 Giro d'Italia, Charly Gaul led Gastone Nencini and Louison Bobet by a decent amount with two relevant stages remaining. Gaul, despite his name, was not French but a Luxembourger, opposed vigorously by the French squad, led by Bobet. The two didn't like each other, but so what? As normally happens, Gaul pulled over for a nature break when he saw some other riders, including Bobet and Nencini, having just done the same. The latter two remounted their bikes and pedaled off, spotting Gaul by the roadside. And that would have been that... peloton rejoined... nothing more... had Gaul not taken his manhood and waved it at Bobet. Bobet proceeded to light a fire in the peloton, yelling to his teammate and locomotive Rafael Geminiani to hit the gas. Gem led a 45kph charge to the line for the next two hours and costing Gaul his maglia rosa, by some eight minutes. Nencini was then in pink, with Bobet a mere 19 seconds behind.

The next day was the last of any consequence, featuring three major climbs, and Bobet dropped Nencini on the descent of the Passo Rolle when Nencini flatted. Bobet was free to take the Giro, but he had only Gem -- not a great climber -- and Ercole Baldini, a countryman if not a teammate of Nencini and in Italy that meant he couldn't afford to help. Nencini, meanwhile, had a new ally... wait for it... Gaul. The Angel of the Mountains put the maglia rosa on his wheel and proceeded to chase down Bobet, preserving the 19 second lead for one of the closest Giro outcomes ever. Gaul earned the nickname Cher PIpi (costly pee), which only added to his anger. Afterward he reminded Bobet that he was a former butcher and threatened to kill Bobet with a knife.

So. Obscene taunts, attacking a nature break and a flat tire, unholy alliances and threats to butcher each other. THAT is a polemica.