For my second installment of my favorite cycling film I’m staying in the 70’s and staying with the Giro d’Italia with the film THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. Eddy Merckx The Cannibal Belgian superstar, Eddy Merckx, is arguably the greatest cyclist the world has ever known, so much so that his dominating career through the 1970s continues to overshadow the achievements of today’s bicycling supermen. Merckx won just about every race that was worth winning – including 7 victories in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 3 wins in Paris-Roubaix, and 2 victories in the Tour of Flanders. He was a World Champion no less than 3 times and won both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France an incredible 5 times each! Merckx’s amazing Hour Record ride in 1972 stood for 14 years.
The Greatest Show On Earth follows Belgium cycling star Eddy Merckx at the peak of his career through Europe’s best race! The Greatest Show on Earth is a brilliant documentary of the 1974 Giro d’Italia, from the opening sequence of the Pope blessing the riders to Merckx’s battle to win his fifth Giro by a mere 12 seconds.
This is probably my all time favorite cycling film. It has a great soundtrack too and it features my of my favorite cinema moments when the action follows Jose Manuel Fuente on a foggy downhill section. It features a strange piece of music where a guy is humming and the music perfectly fits the image. There a cries of FORZA by the Tifosi as he speeds down the mountain, perfect. If anyone knows what this music is please let me know. Also Fuente is one of my all time favorite riders. I love that he has a handkerchief stuffed up the sleeve of his jersey.
José Manuel Fuente (September 30, 1945 in Limanes, Spain – July 18, 1996 in Oviedo, Spain) was a former professional road racing cyclist and known as a climbing specialist. Fuente was a professional from 1969 to 1976. He had the same nickname as his father and grandfather which was “El Tarangu” which is said to be Asturian dialect for a man reputed for his strength and character. Fuente was known as one of the greatest climbers of his generation. Fuente is a two-time winner of the Vuelta a España and won four consecutive climbers classification (or King of the Mountains) at the Giro d’Italia. He was rivals with the great cyclists of his time – Eddy Merckx and Luis Ocana. He won the Vuelta a España in 1972, which at that time was held in late April and early May. Several weeks later in the 1972 Giro d’Italia, Fuente had a great battle with Eddy Merckx. Fuente took the maglia rosa early on in the race but Merckx took it back. On the mountain stage to Bardonecchia, Fuente put in an attack that put pressure on Merckx. Little by little, Merckx increased his pace and came back to Fuente and ended up winning the stage. Health problems due to kidney disease forced Fuente to retire in 1975. After retirement Fuente opened a successful cycle business in Oviedo and in 1988 was appointed directeur sportif of the Clas team. This lasted only a year, after which he was replaced in 1989 by Juan Fernadez. Fuente died following a long battle with kidney disease at age 50.