Monthly Archives: July 2013

Post Tour EuroPro Review Parte Deux – Boogaloo Electrique

Hmm, no wonder Breakin’ 2 didn’t do well in France.

Alright, this is what you’ve all been waiting for (ok, it’s just me, then). It’s time for the Europro Tour de France fashion dos and don’ts. This year the peloton produced some magical sartorial moments. But for every winner, there has to be a loser. Let’s get started. And the first category is…

Best Team Kit

Winner: Belkin


Belkin – so fresh and so clean

(Lars) Boom! Their first at bat with all the bases loaded and they slam-dunk a touchdown (I got the American sporting references right, yes?). Riding for the first half of the season, they were the non-sponsored Blanco. Oddly, lots of people dug that kit, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Then the US peripheral giant steps in right before the tour with a super-clean, super-stylish, green, black and white setup. Looking good guys. Modern, yet with a nod to the golden age of trade teams. Then what happens? They were everywhere! Mollema and Ten Dam were kicking it on GC. The whole team was drilling it on the front of the windswept stage 13. They were getting max airtime for their new sponsers and looking damned good doing it. Sometimes a fresh lick of paint (and a fat sponsor cheque) can make all the difference.

Loser: Lampre

The Little Prince

The Little Prince – this photo is the only evidence that he was at the Tour de France

Lampre were nowhere to be seen at this tour, not even in the breaks, and that’s probably for the best. Cunego, the little prince, must be tiny, because I never saw him at all for 3 weeks straight. Do they ever win anything? Really? Ever? Their kit always sucks. The pink and blue is not working at all. They ditched Wilier for Merida and lost even more Italian cool points. To be honest, last year, their kit was worse, but I’m docking serious points for lack of effort. If you’re going to rock hot pink, royal blue and flouro lime, then show that crazy shit off in an attack. That way we’d maybe have seen more of the one awesome thing you had going for you at this tour (more of that later).

Best Cap

Winner: Omega Pharma Quick Step



Was it the best cycling cap at the tour? To be honest, I don’t know, but it was the only one I remember seeing. Their kit sucks. Sorry. Gradients are OVER, man! OVER! But, they are a top level team and they actually wore cycling caps on the podium. Cheers for that! Cav, keep the soul fire burning. Chapeau! #capsnothats

Loser: Team Sky

Froome in a Hat

Not a cycling cap. From a company that sells cycling caps. And doesn’t sell baseball caps.

What the fucking fuck? I’ll say this right now up front. I love Rapha’s stuff. I love all that golden age of cycling nostalgia bullshit they sell me. I lap it all up, mostly because they actually make superb clothing. I love their cycling caps. So why the hell is Chris Froome wearing that ridiculous NASCAR/F1/Golf shit on his skeletal noggin on the podium? Can I buy a Team Sky straight bill douche hat on No, I can’t. Because it’s not a cycling cap. They have a very nice Team Sky cycling cap. I own one. It’s great. So what the hell was going on here? Was this part of the Murdoch 21st Century Fox tie-in before the tour? Make it more accessible to golfers? I can’t believe Simon Mottram was down with this. This is a travesty. A travesty! Alright, it just seems kind of weird to me.

Best Facial Hair

Winner: Tie – Jerome Cousin and José Serpa

Hirsutes you, sirs!


Jérôme Cousin wins most aggresive facial hair on stage 10

Wow. First of all, Europcar are amazing. They’re like the Dirty Dozen, but mostly French, and in tight lycra. OK, they’re nothing like the Dirty Dozen. They’re like the Seven Samurai, except there’s nine of them and only one of them’s Japanese and… OK, terrible analogies. They’re just brilliant and hilarious and swashbuckling and way more exciting to watch than most teams out there. Is there a breakaway? Well you can bet your last centime that somebody from Europcar is going to be in it, and chances are they’re going to be from a woefully under-represented ethnicity, or they’re going to make ridiculous faces, or they’re going to have a spectacular moustache, like Jérôme Cousin has.


Serpa – tachetastic

Remember what I said earlier about Lampre? Why didn’t I see this magnificent bigote until the third week of this tour, and why can’t I find a better picture of it? By the third week it was taking up half his face! Shame on you, Lampre! How could you deprive us of this amazing facial foliage? Oh, and he’s Colombian. Extra awesome points.

Loser: Peter Sagan

Clown Prince of the Peloton

Clown Prince of the Peloton

Yes, he’s amazing. Maybe people still really love clowns in Slovakia, but they scare the shit out of me.

Best Way to Show Off a Leader’s Jersey

Winner: Team Sky

Yellow Jersey, not yellow bibs

Yellow Jersey, not yellow bibs

You’ve got the yellow jersey for 2 weeks. Do you dye your pubic hair yellow? No. You wear the yellow jersey with your regular team bibs. Classic, classy. The opposite of that stupid fucking baseball hat! Sure, ride a custom yellow bike into Paris when you’ve actually won the Tour de France (still in your regular bibs), but don’t do what this guy did…

Loser: Team Europcar


You think the gloves are too much? Nah, I’m sure you’ll be wearing all this shit in Paris.

First week in the tour, you’ve been over a couple of small bumps and you’ve won the polka-dot jersey, What do you do? You don’t do this. Polka-dot bibs are never, ever right. I get it, you’re wild and crazy (mostly) Frenchmen, but that ain’t right.

Best Eyewear

Winner: Ryder Hesjedal

I'm just here to catch some tasty waves

I’m just here to catch some tasty waves

Hey look, Ryder isn’t wearing Oakleys like everyone else. He’s wearing big ass funky Swedish aviators.

Loser: Ryder Hesjedal

Hey look, Ryder is so cool and laid back in his big ass funky Swedish aviators. In the words of Liberace, ‘return to the classics’. Let’s let the Badger show you how you rock aviators and stick it to the man.

Badger don't care

Badger don’t care

Best Bike

Winner: Europcar


So it’s not the best shot of the bike, but it has the seal of approval of this guy, and he’s wearing a cycling cap.

White Colnago C59 with Campy 80th Anniversary Super Record. Enough Said.

Loser: Everyone else

Post Tour EuroPro Review Parte Un

I’ve been out of action here for a while for two reasons. Watching this year’s tour has been a full time job for a start. I don’t know about you, but this has been probably the best Tour de France since the last time a British cyclist won it. How often does that happen? Also, I put a lot of my Bespoke panache into the Le Tour du Vin fundraiser that we had last week for our Bike MS team. Oh, and my laptop is now blind. It works, but the screen doesn’t. This makes writing a blog quite difficult. I’m currently tapping this out with one thumb on a tiny virtual keyboard while trying to get a two year old to stop doing Hulk Hogan moves on me and go to sleep. I’ll have to add the pictures later!

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things during and since Le Tour, but always Schwinn Paramount™ on my mind is what it means to be EuroPro. Of course, EuroPro can never truly be achieved. It is an ideal. It is always over the next HC climb or cobbled berg. EuroPro is only truly attained by the Pantheon of Gods, Demi-Gods and Demons that name the hairpins of Alpe d’Huez and the shower stalls at Roubaix, and in very special cases, both.

First of all, before we get into the stylistic elements of what EuroPro is (trust me, those are coming – this TdF has been a rich seam to mine), lets not forget the proclivities, idiosyncrasies and extravagances of the truly EuroPro are all forged in the same fire. Pain. Medievel levels of pain. You can’t ever achieve EuroPro unless you have taken physical and mental suffering so far that you find a sense of satisfaction from it. This is not masochism or martyrdom, it is the knowing that you can hurt far more than you ever have before, and more importantly, more than the guy next to you. It is a badge of honour and a stepping stone on the path to Merckxian Enlightenment. Once you know that you can take that kind of pain, then you know that you can dish it out! Here’s the Bespoke Honour Roll of PainMeisters of the 2013 Tour de France:

1. Geraint Thomas.

Welsh Hardman

Welsh Hardman – ouch that hurt, just give me a second, then I’ll ride another 3,000km full gas.

Stage 1. Fractured pelvis. That has to hurt a lot at the best of times. I can’t imagine what it’s like to ride a bike at race speed day after day, km after km like that. He kept going, his Mum back in Wales begged him to pull out. He kept going. He suffered through the Pyrenees, survived the ferocious pace from Britanny to Ventoux, and then put the hurt on everyone on the flats leading up to the Alpine climbs. Welsh. Hardman. This bodes very well for him one day joining the Roubaix Pantheon. Oh yeah, the reason he missed the tour last year? To grab a fat gold rope at the Olympics.

Drilling it on the front on Étape 14

Drilling it on the front on Étape 14 – oh are you guys hurting, let me turn it up, how about now?

2. Tony Fucking Martin.

Tony Fucking Martin

Tony Fucking Martin – easy girls, he’s taken!

Same shit, different hurt. Tony apparently left half his freaking skin in Corsica (this happens a lot in Corsica, but is usually due to drunken, ginger haired, pale skinned British tourists neglecting to apply sunscreen). How do you come back from that? You win the Mont Saint Michel Time Trial on stage 11 with blood pouring out of your bibs! Tony. Fucking. Martin!

Tony Fucking Martin

Tony Fucking Martin – rocking the Alien movie poster look.

3. Jens

The Jensie

The Jensie – the crown prince of pain.

It’s kind of a cliché to talk about Jens, but holy panéed deep fried shit balls soaked in cognac and set on fire, the man is almost 42. I’m 42. He should not be able to do the ridiculous shit that he does. Does it work? On the Amgen Tour of California? Sure. On the Tour de France? Hey, he makes them chase him down, he makes them pay for their supper. Sure, he’s going to go in reverse like an Italian tank on the last climb (what, WW2 is too soon, reallly?), but, damn, why the hell is this geriatric German who should be wearing Depends™ the last survivor of the breakaway in the big show? Jens must have made a Faustian pact to be dishing out the pain to all the young bucks out there, and wearing cycling bibs instead of a bib to catch his spilled soup. Is this really your last tour Jens? I bet, your last race is next year’s Amgen. You’re going for one last stage win, aren’t you. Shine on you crazy diamond. We’re going to miss you at the big show.

That’s just my shortlist. Of course, there were other PainMeisters out there. Who were yours? Chava? Ted King? Let me know who I’ve missed out, and why. More TdF EuroPro action to follow soon.