The Pull: Remembering Roland Della Santa

The Pull: Remembering Roland Della Santa

This week, I’m devoting the show to frame builder Roland Della Santa who passed away last weekend at the age of 72. Della Santa is most famous for helping to launch Greg LeMond into bike racing; one of the earliest shots of LeMond winning a bike race is of him wearing a Della Santa jersey astride one of the builder’s bikes.

Della Santa was a builder at a crucial time of development for cycling in the U.S. He was both a builder and a racer during the era when the likes of Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey and George Mount were ascending the ranks. It’s worth noting that he was among the very earliest builders in the U.S. and his bikes and teams were an integral part of the rise of racers and racing in Northern California.

My guests this week are Don Walker of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, longtime friend Jan Johnson, Greg LeMond biographer Daniel de Visé, Gary Fisher (yeah, that Gary Fisher), Della Santa’s assistant Jake Barrett and Olympic Silver Medalist Inga Thompson.



Show links:

Della Santa Bicycles

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  1. Jan Johnson

    What a tribute to an amazing human being.
    So honored to have been included in this podcast. Thank you for doing this, Patrick.
    Roland will live on forever in our hearts.

    1. Author

      I sorted out the file issue. It didn’t fully upload. Download it again and it’ll be fine.

      Everyone: if your file is 48 minutes and not an hour, download again. The full episode is 1:00:25.

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  3. Bjr

    I was at a show when someone asked the purpose of hid pierced ‘Ossobuco’ chainstays. He just shrugged and said “because it looks cool!”

  4. Craig Reppe

    My most treasured cycling memory was going for a spin with Roland while riding my then-favorite Serotta prior to him building a custom frame for me back in ‘93. Had to wait 6 months for delivery, but it was worth every minute. Best ride ever. Had it stolen from me in a home break-in 10 years later, and to this day I keep an eye peeled for it wherever I go. RIP Roland.

  5. Greg Ford

    Roland told me many stories…
    Well into Greg LeMond’s development as a junior champion, Roland knew that Greg would be great. Early on, he declared to the Director Sportif of a French team of notoriety that Greg, one day, would win the Tour de France. The consummate, arrogant Frenchman scoffed. Roland knew.
    Roland explained to Bob LeMond that young Greg needed to go to Belgium to train in the Summer riding camps to learn the “ropes” of European cycling so he could evolve to survive and compete among European pro-riders. In addition to Roland conceiving such vision and direction, he contributed financially to Greg going to the Belgian training camps.
    Roland was a major visionary and fundamental contributor to Greg LeMond’s rise.
    Ample preamble, cut to the chase; Greg LeMond did not attend Roly’s funeral, Greg LeMond did not send an Emissary to deliver a message of condolence, Greg LeMond did not send a card, flowers, or any conveyance what-so-ever.
    Frank Kratzer, you know this is true; don’t you dare remove this post.

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