How to Wear a Cycling Cap: Olaf Ludwig

Wear it no matter how late you start.

though not credited at the source, I believe this is a Graham Watson photo

Olaf developed, as a cyclist, behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, and as a result he did not enter the European professional ranks until relatively late in life. When he finally did break into the [western] Euro-pro peloton in 1990 with Panasonic, it was in time to throw wheels against some of the most ferocious sprinters of all time, including Wilfried Nelissen, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (though admittedly, the two were competitors behind the curtain as well) and, of course, Mario Cipollini. 

The year he turned pro, Ludwig won the Green Jersey at the Tour de France, as well as three stages and the Points Competition at the Tour de Trump. 1992 may have been his best year, a year during which he won the Amstel Gold, Four Days of Dunkirk, GP de Fourmies, Stage 21 of the Tour, and topped the UCI World Cup rankings. Between 1990 and 1996 Olaf also won at Veenendaal-Veenendaal, the Rund um den Henninger Turm, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, the Memorial Rik van Steenbergen, Dwars Door Vlaanderen, and stages wins in the Tour de Suisse and Vuelta a Aragon. Add to those wins, thirty-three stage victories in the Peace Race and the Olympic Road Race Championship during the 1988 Games in Seoul, and you have one fine career.

When he finds himself astride a bike these days, he carries on with a significantly different attitude: "If I myself am sitting on the bike, then I want to have fun and not be quickly or first on a mountain or winning a local sign sprint" (from a 2010 interview).

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