Teleny is a Victorian gay pr0n novel published anonymously, but attributed to Oscar Wilde. Above is a discussion about what to wear to a gay symposium, which turns out to be an orgy. In 2014, you’d squeeze into Rapha merino wool to be the hottest piece at the symposium.
In cycling, to a certain extent, anatomy is destiny. There’s really no good way for Andy Schleck to race like Andre Greipel, or vice versa. Sometimes, temperament is destiny, too. Something about the brain chemistry in a baroudeur like Johnny Hoogerland or Juan Antonio Flecha propels them onto suicidal attacks. These are all fixed states of being as a rider: whether it’s February or October, a sprinter is gonna sprint and a rouleur is gonna roll. Being a Classics rider, though, isn’t so much a state of being as a state of becoming. State of being allows for extremes—Hello, Wiggins! Hello, Kittel!—but a state of becoming is something transient looking for homeostasis. An ideal Classics body—a beefy waif—is hence an oxymoron.
A mask is but a sum of lines; a face, on the contrary, is above all their thematic harmony.
— Roland Barthes, "The Face of Garbo"
Professional cyclists aren’t much more than their palmares most of the time. As unfamiliar opportunists and workhorses jettison themselves into breakaways, commentators read off a litany of their accomplishments as if we’re breakaway admissions deans requiring justification for their presence on our screens. Some riders offer serendipitous mementos for us to remember them. Who’s Maxim Belkov? You’ll remember his energy bar dangling precariously from his jersey pocket. Eduard Vorganov? The shower cap dude from Milan-Sanremo 2013.
Sep Vanmarcke is a rider who already has prestigious wins and near-wins on his palmares, but I’ll always remember him for his extreme sadface. Like, his Wu Tang name would be Sadface Killa. When he lost Paris-Roubaix 2013 to Fabian Cancellara in a velodrome sprint, he didn’t give that typical, shrugging “Well, the best rider won and that wasn’t me today” interview. Instead, he wept. He let his voice break and quaver. He had a very public private moment, breaking bad the convention of losing gracefully. A year later, Sporza’s Ronde 2014 post-race coverage included this green room diptych: Fabian, again a winner, uncaps a beer bottle on the edge of a chair, then chugs it; next to him is Sep, sweaty and unwashed inside his private nadir, holding his head and screwing up his face in regret.
Pinstripes have been on my mind lately. What with Wolf of Wall Street and the return of American Psycho to Netflix streaming, the quintessential Wall Street style seems ripe for revival. (Caveat: chalk stripes, not pinstripes, are more prominent on Leo DiCaprio in Wolf.) If the New York Times is ON IT reporting that bankers of today eschew pinstripes and strong shoulders, you know paradigm usurpers are wearing exactly that.
The designers at Trek Factory Racing (a.k.a. Trek-Fabs) probably don’t have a wet finger in the wind of directional fashion, but they serendipitously chose the pinstripe as motif of the inaugural team kit, which, says team PR, "reflects the promise of cycling’s future while paying homage to the sport’s culture." ORLY? Pinstripes bring to my mind Wall Street assholes and Al Capone, whose final court appearance was in a double-breasted navy pinstripe suit. I suppose EPO-era mythology that Trek helped to build up fits somewhere between robber baron bankers and Prohibition era public enemy number one? While I DIE at the thought of Fabs at team camp doing his version of the Gordon Gekko "Greed is Good" speech or the Al Capone baseball speech from The Untouchables (spoiler alert: the Schlecks should wear helmets to that team meeting, just in case), I just don’t believe pinstripes reflect the promise of cycling’s future. Neither is signing both Schleck brothers or Yaroslav Popovych in 2014, by the way.
Please play in your mind the “Previously on Mad Men…” voice saying “Previously on Tour of Utah…” Then, string together a montage of all the stuff you liked from the race. Edit them with zero narrative coherence like those Previously-on-Mad-Mens. Make it good. We’re Previously-on-Tour-of-Utahing the series finale, Stage 7. Yes, I know Tour of Utah only had six stages.
Can Chris Froome grow a respectable mustache? That’s a question yet to be asked in the glut of cycling media post-Tour ruminations. While sparks flew on the cols and cross-wind flats, a war amongst the Tour mustaches went relatively unnoticed. Even within the greater facial hair narrative, Peter Sagan’s green goatee—facial hair equivalent of an attention-seeking wheelie—is all we have after the last of the revelers left the Champs Elysees.