We've been talking about doing a "Where Are They Now?" issue for some years now, but it was only when reading an article about former Banesto pro Vicente Aparicio in a Spanish magazine that I was really convinced by the idea. Aparicio was one of Miguel Induráin's key domestiques in the early 1990s, but unlike many other pros did not stay in the sport after ending his racing career. Instead he went back home to Valencia to work for the local council and now manages a local sewage works. Talking about this with the rest of the editorial, we thought there must be a lot of similarly bizarre and interesting stories we could dig up, and I think our latest issue underlines that perfectly.
Our intention was to offer a range of stories covering riders from different eras and backgrounds. For instance, 1998 world junior champion Mark Scanlon wasn't even 100% sure he was going to call it quits when Shane Stokes spoke to him in Ireland before Christmas. His story was fascinating because Scanlon has undoubtedly been one of the great natural talents of recent years, but has steadily become more and more disillusioned with the sport. I hope he'll return to racing at some point, but it's easy to understand reading about him why he has turned us back.
The two Frenchmen we featured, Erwan Menthéour and Christophe Bassons, offered contrasting perspectives – the former doped, got caught and wrote a best-selling book about it, the latter famously did not and got vilified by some of his peers. Life after the bike is going well for both, although Menthéour has clearly spent a lot of time coming to terms with the pressures that forced him into doing what he did, which came primarily from within his own family.
The word family leads on neatly to our focus on the Phinneys – Davis, Connie and Taylor. Mum and dad have great tales to tell of their racing years. Their son, Taylor, is now at the forefront of the next generation of talent but, thanks to his parents, seems to have his feet firmly planted on the floor. Perhaps this partly stems from his father's ongoing battle against Parkinson's disease – both personally on a day-to-day basis and through the foundation he has set up to fund research into the disease. What shines through his the whole family's positivity. Read their story and I guarantee you'll be touched by that positivity too.
I started with Aparicio and the sewage works, and one objective for our February issue was to uncover some truly bizarre stories. We reckon Jan Siemons' tale of running a bordello is the most bizarre out there – unless you can let us know differently. Writer Les Woodland admitted it was one of the strangest but most enjoyable stories he's ever written, and looking through the pics (purely for editorial purposes of course), I can see why.
We'd be interested to hear what you all make of the "Where Are They Now?" theme, as well as your views on the "50 Rides To Do Before You Die" supplement that comes bagged with it. Who would you like to see us cover if we do something similar again, and which places have we missed from our 50 Rides?