A meeting between phenomena that took place in Cambiago, at the Colnago headquarters: Ernesto Colnago received the visit of Olaf Ludwig, the unforgettable German champion of the 80s. Born in 1960 (59 years old), Ludwig was one of the strongest amateur cyclists of those years: world champion in Prague in 1981 (when Martens beat our Giuseppe Saronni in the race reserved for professionals), he won practically everything to conquer the Olympic gold in the road racing at the 1988 Seoul Games when, he East Germans, broke the West Germans Gröne and Henn. It was the last great triumph of East Germany, given that a year later the Berlin Wall would collapse with the subsequent reunification of Germany. A professional with the Panasonic in 1990, Ludwig confirmed his great value by winning the World Cup in 1992.
Olaf, after a long time, wanted to meet Ernesto Colnago again, who for many years was the sponsor of the athletes who defended the colors of Eastern European nations, in particular the DDR and the USSR. Colnago who has always believed in the young athletes of those countries, in their tenacity and their determination, all qualities definitely out of the ordinary. Ludwig brought with him the frame with which he won the Olympic gold to restore it, a still beautiful Colnago Master in blue color (special DDR) with a chrome fork. We asked him some questions:
What memories do you have of your life as an athlete?
“It was a beautiful time, which will remain forever in my memory. I was lucky enough to learn cycling at a great sports school. I remember the grueling training sessions with an alarm at 6 am, maybe dubbed by a second training session in the afternoon”.
Can you tell us an anecdote?
“I remember that often our coaches made us ride for 6-7 hours straight without drinking water. They said it was used to temper the body and the mind to the resistance to fatigue “.
Do you still pedal?
“Yes, of course, today I pedal especially to keep myself fit, I have forgotten the competitive spirit. I will do about five thousand kilometers a year, I ride with groups of cyclists on organized tours, especially in Bulgaria it is a beautiful country.
What is the runner who excites you the most today?
“No doubt I say Sagan, I like his instinctive way of race. Modern cycling is too technological and tactical, it needs more improvisation. I also say Primoz Roglic, also like Sagan he doesn’t mind the tactics, he is always on the attack “.
Your favorite race?
“I say the Paris-Roubaix. It is a hard race suitable for powerful athletes like myself. I was around 81-82 kg at that time. Moreover, the winner enters the history of cycling”. (In Paris-Roubaix the German giant came second in 1992 behind Duclos Lassalle, third in 1993, still Duclos Lassalle’s victory over Ballerini, and fourth in 1994, Tchmil’s victory ahead of Baldato and Ballerini).
Colnago and Ludwig, of course, have unsheathed memories, rediscovered photos, visited the Colnago museum and were thrilled by the great achievements they had achieved together. As only great champions can do.