November 06, 2016

There is a longtime affinity between cafes, coffee and cycling. Cyclists have long congregated at cafes – before and after a ride, certainly; but the "cafe stop" is as much an institution as the ride itself for most. Cycling and caffeine go together like fish and chips or Wallace and Grommit.

Not so mysterious perhaps: coffee and cake never tasted better pre and post ride. And coffee, of course, contains one of the few performance-enhancing drugs it's perfectly legal to take: caffeine. And every rider and bunch seems to have their preferred haunt for the post ride stories.

Pro cycling’s link with caffeine runs way back. Italian espresso machine manufacturer Faema sponsored a pro cycling team in the 1960s in order to promote its innovative machines.  The Faema team had star riders such as king of the classics Rik Van Looy, and Giro d’Italia winner and world champion Vittorio Adorni. The legendary Eddy Merckx rode for Faema for his first dominant Tour de France victory in 1968. 

In the 1990s, the business cooperative Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia sponsored a Latin American cycling team. The Cafe de Colombia team’s Luis Herrera won the Vuelta a España in 1987. In the 1990s Saeco, Italian maker of a home espresso machine, sponsored a pro cycling team headed by sprint star Mario Cipollini.

It seems cycling and coffee just go hand in hand.


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