Retired Italian star and former world champion, Gianni Bugno issued a unique plea to cycling journalists: “stop using the google image of me as a helicopter pilot.”
The unexpected request from the talented rider who won the Giro in 1990 and took second place to Miguel Indurain in the 91′ Tour de France, was a surprise and caught many cycling media people off-guard.
“Yes, I retired, I’m a helicopter rescue pilot now, but does every story have to have show my macho Italian self in a tough guy chopper?” asked Bugno. “They’re embarrassing me — even Cipo laughs at my expense.”
In recent weeks, Bugno has been front and center in the cycling news because he’s the head of the International riders association (CPA) and an outspoken critic of the UCI ban on race radios.
“Every day, without fail, when I am quoted — especially by the lazy bloggers — they use my helicopter shot. Okay, fine, I am a man’s man, guys all over the world envy the fact I was a champion and then a badass chopper pilot but this must stop,” said Bugno.
The signature image of Bugno’s chiseled good looks in the cockpit of his chopper has become the only image cycling journalists use when writing a story. “Look, google has a hundred pictures of me, when I was riding, when I retired, eating food, just hanging out with friends, some of them are very nice photos, but always, it’s the damn helicopter shot. It infuriates me,” said Bugno.
While many riders would welcome the repetitious image of virility and Italian machismo, Bugno has grown increasingly weary of the constant type-casting.
“Look, I understand the reasons: I’m dark and handsome, my stubble is flawless, sexually needy women drop at my feet, men envy my immense and raw love-mojo even more than that Old Spice black guy model, but still — I am not one dimensional. I deserve a wider range of pictures,” said Bugno.
The cycling press has yet to issue a response. Stay tuned.