When photographer Paolo Martelli sent in an unsolicited photo essay on the Barcelona-based Genesis Cycling Team a decade ago, the sheer quality of the work shone through. Rouleur, at that point, was overwhelmingly professional cycling focussed. We had never published anything like the Paralympian and multi-world champion Juanjo Méndez and his teammates before. The feature, Il Piratas, went straight into issue 41 and was a brilliant eye-opener for us all.
Paolo has been a regular Rouleur contributor ever since, and it seemed fitting for this very special issue to revisit the Genesis squad, who Martelli has continued to document and become great friends with, and see how they have progressed. Now Juanjo has progressed to mentor and coach to young Claudia Grau, seen here making a training effort towards her goal of Paris, 2024.
“With them, it’s not about how big your problem is, it’s all about going forward,” says Paolo. “We truly decide our own limits and those are not empty words: I have more than half a million photographs to prove it.
“It’s not about medals, it’s about living the life you have to the best of your ability. And if this means relearning how to walk or how to open a bottle, well, let’s do it. Follow that philosophy and you’ll find yourself smiling, without any apparent reason, on a random warm afternoon.”
We love a bit of slow journalism here at Rouleur. See you again in a few more years, Claudia and Paolo.