Posts Tagged ‘Tour of Flanders’

The oddness of Peter Sagan

April 5, 2013

Does your life revolve around bicycle-related activities, such as blaming yourself for not riding as fast as you would like, or squinting for hours at shonky feeds of obscure European races? Then congratulations – the essence of your character and the sense of perspective you once had on your life have been forever warped by the ever-spinning world of Planet Bicycle.

You’re not alone, though, because there is another group of people who are completely immersed in cycling. They’re called professional cyclists. And I think their greatest skill is disguising how weird cycling has made them – until, that is, their weirdness finds a means of expressing itself at an inopportune moment, such as the podium of the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday.

peter sagan bottom pinching

Peter Sagan is a 23-year-old man who believes crossing the finishing line first is the most important thing he can do with his life. It isn’t – not for him, nor for any human being – but that’s what every podium contender conditions themselves to think, otherwise the job becomes impossible to do. A consequence of single-mindedness is leaving more important areas of your personality under-developed; in Sagan’s case, it’s the part that tells you goosing a stranger’s arse, especially doing it so publically, shows about as much respect as urinating against the leg of the host town’s dignitary.

Hived off in the cycle of training and competition, sports stars are paid an awful lot of money to not be normal, yet we criticise them when they don’t behave like regular, well-adjusted human beings. I’m fairly certain I would never deliver an unsolicited grope to a stranger’s arse, and I think you would say much the same thing. But we’re cycling fans – in each of our own ways we’re all a bit odd, so we can surely empathise with oddness. We did it with Cadel, and once all the hoo-ha dies down, I think we’ll do it with Sagan.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #1

April 8, 2011

5 DOWN Puns
There was a keen sense of anticipation in The DYNAMITE! Files’ famous soundproof bunker last Friday when we tore into our pile of morning papers hoping to witness an orgy of inventive punnery accompanying photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Boris Johnson riding the latter’s titular two-wheelers – so you can imagine the intense disappointment when we discovered no one had plumped for “joke pedallers”, “political Raleigh” or “Last Traction Heroes”. In fact, the only pun deployed was – wait for it – “I’ll be bike”, which was used by no fewer than five publications. I’ll be bloody bike! He’s not a bike! Neither of them are! It doesn’t even make sense! The headline should, of course, have been “Faster la Vista, Boris!” But nobody asked us, did they?

4 UP Sponsorship opportunities
Oh, cruel fate! Friend of this blog and all-round nice chap Will Hayter drew his action-packed daily diary of the Absa Cape Epic to a premature close after hitting a ditch and taking a very nasty tumble on last Friday’s 143km-long stage. The DYNAMITE! Files wishes him a speedy recovery, but having seen the wince-inducing footage of his wheel-mangling smash, it can’t help wondering why 12 sponsors would want to associate themselves with such a painful misfortune in the clip’s closing frames. Coming soon: You’ve Been Framed bike crash special, sponsored by [NAME OF WHEEL MANUFACTURER DELETED FOR LEGAL REASONS].

3 UP Wood
Another week, another groundbreaking material surely destined to usurp the carbon stranglehold – and unlike fancy-pants nylon fused by the magic of lasers in a 3D printer, this one is made from those dull, useless bits of scenery you usually ride past, or “trees” as they’re commonly known. For just £4,500, the discerning cyclista is invited to own an Audi-branded wooden bicycle equipped with SRAM Red, which you will no doubt agree is, er, truly unbe-leaf-able. Photographic evidence of two or more of these bikes actually being ridden would be a novelty, if only to make a quip about them being a splinter group.

2 DOWN Lycra
Prepare to overhaul your wardrobe, chums, because the death knell of the cyclist’s fabric of choice was sounded on Monday by no less a clothing authority than a features scribbler from the London Evening Standard. The reason? Apparently Rapha has brought out a pair of jeans which you can’t actually buy at the moment. “Lycra – your days are numbered,” the scribbler concludes, and who knows what outdoor activity will be the next victim of her withering fashionista’s eye? Possible target for the autumn/winter season: those long, thin shoes maniacs use to slide down snow-covered mountains. And the sticks! Those silly sticks! Dahling, they’ve just got to go!

1 UP Emoticons

Poor old RoboFab. The mighty mandroid, known by his adopted human name of Fabian Cancellara, got into a horrible pickle after appearing to be less-than-gracious about the manner of his defeat at Sunday’s thrillingly unpredictable edition of the Tour of Flanders. The pre-race favourite said his rivals rode “only to make me lose” and Nick Nuyens’ victory “has no value” – but as he later explained: “Interviews are not coming out like always I be thinking to say things. Specially now what’s around sounds not me. Lot get lost in translation.” Yet while the subtleties of the Fablish tongue eluded the gentlemen of the press, there could be no misinterpreting the stark binary language of the emoticon on the Swiss cyborg’s back (pictured above) which reflected his fans’ reactions to the race as it unfolded. He’s caught Sylvain Chavanel (AMAZED FACE)! Oh no – he’s cramped on the Muur (AMAZED FACE)! Now Phillipe Gilbert’s gone on the Bosberg (AMAZED FACE)! Fab’s attacked with four kilometres to go (AMAZED FACE)! But Nuyens has got it (AMAZED FACE)! Finally, Team Lay-O-Pard have found a use for that clumsily-pronounced “o”.