Czeslaw Lang was as a professional cyclist during the 1970s and 80s – wearing the legendary Del Tongo Colnago jersey. Very strong against the clock, he had his most significant successes in the time trial. Memorable TT races of his career were those raced with his compatriot, Lech Piasecki. Among his most memorable victories were at Tirreno-Adriatico, Settimana Bergamasca, and Trofeo Baracchi.
Czeslaw; how great is your passion for cycling?
“Cycling is my great love. I rode a bicycle for over 20 years, competing in two Olympic Games and taking part in various editions of the World Championships and many great tours. Then I worked as director sportif of the Diana Colnago team, also with Animex, and finally, 23 years ago, I became the organizer of the Tour de Pologne – which is now one of the most important races onthe World Tour calendar. Looking at all that, I can say that love of the bicycle has marked all the most important stages of my life.”
What drives you today, after a career as a professional cyclist, to even turn the pedals?
“The passion, specifically. If you love this sport is not impossible to conceive of and support the effort that is necessary for cycling. If you love your bike, you love the effort. It is also a matter of health, cycling is good for all ages. It is good for the body, soul, and also to the mind. The bike gives you more excitement. It also helps me to think, to find solutions, develop new ideas and new projects. Cycling is where you leave your problems behind. Cycling makes you see the world from another perspective, in constant motion.”
Can you share some fond memories of your career?
“Surely! The silver medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 was extraordinary emotional for me, both as a cyclist and as a representative of my country. Another great memory was winning the 1988 Trofeo Baracchi together with Lech Piasecki. That race was the first time we tried the brand new Colnago Ferrari time trial bike, with which we literally ‘dominated’ the asphalt with an average of over 54 km / h. It was a great day!”
Who’s a cyclist who has inspired your career as a young racer?
“Without a doubt ‘The Cannibal’ Eddy Merck, for his desire to fight and win all the time. For him I have great respect and admiration, for me he was a model to follow. Always leading, winning on all fronts in the Grand Tours, in the great Classics and in the World Championships, without forgetting business on track. A rider capable of giving strong emotions and inflaming the minds of the crowd. A legend, a true immortal of our sport. The comparisons between the ages of cycling are never easy to do, but I think Eddy can be considered the strongest cyclist of all time.”
How do you see cycling today?
“Cycling is a sport with great potential. Now it runs almost all year, from north to south through the streets around the world. But this potential must know how to develop, mainly focusing on increasing globalization, opening new horizons and working for a constant evolution. Teams, athletes, organizers of races and sector companies, we must all work together trying to go in the same direction. It takes young people and new ideas but we must also appreciate and listen to more people working for years, with passion and professionalism, for this sport, at all levels, and exploit the experience that these people have.”
Who do you currently like in the Pro Peleton?
“There are many, but all standing Alberto Contador is a champion who knows how to win, but also knows how to lose. In difficult times he never surrendered and has always managed to stand up. He races throughout the year, and for this you can admire him and cheer him on many times. He’s one who always fights, and he’s also an athlete with great tactical intelligence. These are all features that make him a complete rider and a true champion.”
Is it better to win a Grand Tour stage or a big one-day race like the World Cup or the Olympics?
“They are two completely different realities. Both are very important and allow you to become part of the history of cycling. With a stage race win you will become popular and loved by the general public. Every day you’re riding through the streets among the people and the fans. In particular, the Tour de France for three weeks – and if you win even more, you are constantly in the media spotlight. But the main difference is that a World or Olympic title is prestigious because it is for life. Once you’ve won six, you will always remain the World Champion or Olympic Champion – this is the strength of a gold medal .”
Last question – what did it mean for you to collaborate with Ernesto Colnago?
“Ernesto is a true friend, indeed more so for me it’s like a family member who gave me, and taught me, so much. It’s an honor for me to continue to work and collaborate with him. He is a person who has dedicated his life with great passion to the construction and development of the bicycle. Ernesto has been and still is a great innovator, teacher and scholar, but above all an artist of the bicycle. For years I’ve raced on Colnago bicycles and even today for my rides I choose Colnago, not only for the friendship that binds us but because Colnago bicycles are not ordinary bicycles… they have a soul.”