Tuesday, December 8, 2009
If there was a word to the wise back in the early 1990's, it was don't piss off Michel Zanoli. The 6'5" powderkeg punched a photographer and Davis Phinney in the 1992 Tour DuPont. Davis came out the worse of the two with a bloodied nose and, remarkably, still finished second in a sprint finish to Phil Anderson on the stage. If I remember correctly, there was some footage of the altercation with the cameraman that made the local news channel here in Chicagaland. I don't think they mentioned who won the stage though.
Zanoli's career took a nosedive after the bruising altercation of 1992. Zanoli was sacked by Motorola and ignored by the top teams of the peloton. He bounced around between lower tier continental squads for a few years before retiring from cycling at the age of 28, an age where cyclists typically are coming into the peak of their skills. Michel passed away on December 29, 2003 from a heart attack at the age of 35.
I suppose that if I had to be punched in the face in 1992, Michel Zanoli would be the guy I'd have wanted to do it.