An insanity that was with him for the rest of his life

Conrado "Tito" Gallo (Photo: Unknown, from the archives of Horacio Gil Ochoa)

Conrado "Tito" Gallo was part of the first generation of riders from Antioquia who dominated Colombian cycling in the early 1950s. Seen here at the end of a Vuelta a Colombia stage, Gallo would only compete in the first three editions of the race.

In 1953, while descending from the mythical Alto de Minas climb, Gallo crashed. He fractured his skull. Badly hurt, Tito Gallo's behavior became increasingly erratic after the crash. He never recovered, and lived with what one newspaper described as "an insanity that was with him for the rest of his life." The photographer Horacio Gil Ochoa remembered that Tito was greatly affected mentally, and had difficulty speaking for the rest of his life.

In Ramon Hoyos' biography, which was written for the El Espectador newspaper by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he remembers Tito in this manner:

Bad News

My happiness about winning was clouded by bad news: Tito Gallo, my great friend, one of the first cyclists in my department [Antioquia], had a terrible accident at the exact time that I was receiving an amazing ovation in Caldas. Tito Gallo was also trying to win the stage into Medellin that day, and had forced the pace as all of us from Antioquia did then. With his cranium fractured, Tito Gallo was driven to the hospital, as I was triumphant in Medellin. Something was bothering me, something in the back of my mind. And something kept bothering me when I saw my picture in the front pages of the newspapers, due to my stage victory, but also because I was now leading the third Vuelta a Colombia.

 Start of a race in Colombia, circa 1949. 
From left to right: Unknown, Tito Gallo, Galo Chiriboga, Aurelio "Grillo" Toro (who went from being on the forefront of Colombia's nascent cycling scene, to doing the same in the auto racing circuit), and Ricardo Montoya (Photo: Unknown, from the archives of Horacio Gil Ochoa)


Perhaps I'll sound like an aging old man when I ask this, as it might be akin to asking where I can buy a decent 8-track player, so bear with me. I've noticed that an increasing amount of blogs no longer offer the ability to subscribe through RSS. Why is that? Are we expected to go to these websites on a daily basis to see if something new is posted? As far as I can tell, most of these blogs I'm referring to don't have any alternate way to announce new postings (Twitter or the like). So my question is, am I missing something, like a new alternative to RSS? Do you subscribe to this blog via RSS? If not, how do you keep up with the blogs you read?

Over the last week, two interesting pieces were published (one from an AP journalist who covered the Tour, and one from Steve Madden, editor of Bicycling Magazine during much of the last decade) regarding the role of journalism in the Armstrong affair. Both were interesting, since they seem to confirm what many feared, that they looked the other way. But like the rider affidavits that were published as part of the USADA findings, it's the details they provide that make them interesting, while they merely confirm what was already known.

Steve Madden's piece in particular is illuminating, as it shows that if Bicycling had really covered the story, or done interviews with the likes of the Andreus or Emma O'Reilly, Armstrong could have very easily cut off the magazine's oxygen supply (my witty way of saying "advertising revenue"). His article, after all, is titled "There's a reason we never went after Lance for doping." In it, Madden states, "...he [Armstrong] could make an advertiser disappear from our pages with the same flick of an elbow that one rider uses to silently tell another to pass him."

This, he says is part of the reason why they didn't pursue the story. And in a way, I suppose this is to be expected, since Bicycling (like all magazines) is expected to turn a profit. Additionally, Bicycling has never devoted it's pages to in-depth investigative journalism. It's not what they do, which reminds me of an old Colombian saying, "don't ask the mango tree for lemons."

Nevertheless, both articles were interesting, since they show that newspapers and magazines primarily aim, not to educate their readerships by informing them with truth (though know that, despite its definition, truth appears to be a nebulous concept at best), but rather give them exactly what they want. Like a spoiled toddler who only wants to eat chicken nuggets and soda three times a day, that's what's published and consumed.

You can read the articles here and here.