What follows has really nothing to do with actually winning the Tour de France. Of course you need to attack to win. Or, at the very least, you can follow somebody else when they attack, then kill ‘em in the closing time trial.
No, the kind of attack we’re talking about today is the kind that assaults the eyes. The kind that makes you wonder if there’s anybody in a WorldTour bus capable of saying no. It’s the kind of attack that ends up with kit like this:
Really, Sammy Sanchez? What are you, a jockey?
If there was one thing Lance Armstrong was good at during his seven-year run — other than riding his bike very quickly, of course — it was looking the part of a Tour de France leader. No banana suits. No all-yellow bikes. Just a yellow jersey and team shorts. And sometimes a personalized helmet. Or, in other words, act like you’ve been there before.
When Thomas Voeckler took over the race lead this year, he’d been there before — a 10-day run in yellow in 2004. But he was all over the map in terms of style.
There’s a line in Bull Durham when Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) is talking to Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) about the latter’s shower shoes being moldy:
“Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You’ll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you’ll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.”
Think classy, you’ll be classy. You think Eddy Merckx wore yellow shorts? Did Fausto Coppi go all pink in the Giro? No and no. Armstrong often canceled his classiness out when he started talking, but you have to admit one thing: He looked good on that bike.
Where is all of this going? Behold, your 2011 Tour de France champion:
Despite his past offenses in yellow, Cadel Evans defined class when he pulled on the jersey after his Tour-winning time trial. Team shorts, yellow jersey, nothing crazy with the bike. His BMC team sported yellow Oakleys on Sunday in Paris. And that’s it. Nice.
Of course, he rode a pretty classy race as well. When gaps opened and nobody jumped to close them, Evans did. When Andy Schleck went off to play in the mountains, Evans wound up the chase and limited his losses. And don’t forget his Stage 4 victory on that long, uphill drag.
Think classy, you’ll be classy. Thank you, Cadel Evans, for winning the Tour with class … and also not looking like a spaz while doing it.
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