The lads

Guest Article: Anatomy of a Photo – The Look

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This article could be just about the wearing-o-the cotton cap. That is the Pro look right there folks. It’s too bad this helmet craze has gone and ruined it all. It’s almost reason enough to ride the old timey Eroica Strade Bianche; a natty cap worn backward with no-one having a moan about it. @Wiscot is doing his usual excellent work here. Thanks @Wiscot.

VLVV, Gianni

As we all know, a certain rider from a southern US state famously threw out a “look” at Jan Ullrich on L’Alpe d’Huez during the Tour de France in 2001. It was a look that said “I’m outta here and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Given the Texan’s masterfully measured intake of pharmaceuticals, there was indeed little Ullrich could do.

Let’s turn the clock back to 1978 and the Tour de France. Two young professionals are lined up at the stage start, ready to do the bidding of their team leaders. English-speaking riders were still relatively scarce at the time so these two had something in common besides their status as domestiques.

On the right we have the 22 year old Paul Sherwen from England. He turned professional in 1978 for Fiat-La France, a French team and whose teammates in the 1978 Tour included no-one of any real accomplishment, although the directeur sportif was the legendary Raphael Geminiani. Sherwen would win seven races as a professional, establishing himself as an excellent and tough domestique who fully earned his few opportunities to win.

On the left is the 22 year old Sean Kelly from Carrick-on-Suir in the Irish Republic. He turned professional a year earlier than Sherwen in 1977 and rode the 1978 Tour for Flandria, a Belgian team containing such hard men as Marc DeMayer, Michel Pollentier, Freddy Maertens, Joaquim Agostinho, Rene Bittinger and Marcel Tinazzi. He would win a stage of the Tour that year, outsprinting Gerrie Knetemann on stage six to Poitiers. He would go on to lead teams for 12 years and win Paris-Nice seven times.

However, in 1978, both riders’ palmares were very slim indeed as their job was not to win for themselves, but to assist others in doing so. Their futures were unknown, but surely neither could guess that they would both later land gigs as commentators – and both in English. At the time that would have been regarded as highly unlikely as Kelly’s grasp of the English language was famously difficult to ascertain. He was a rider who, legend has it, nodded in affirmation to a question asked on radio. English-speaking teammates found it easier to communicate with Kelly in French.

But back to the expression on Sherwen’s face. The look Sherwen is giving Kelly is, to me, one of pure disdain. “Who is this barely intelligible tattie-howking peasant from Ireland, and why is he next to me? I rode for the Altringham Road Club, he rode for the Carrick Wheelers.”

Kelly, on the other hand, does a great job of not caring. His crystal ball says “I will become an all-time great. I will win five stages of the Tour, four green jerseys, nine Monuments, podium twice in World Championships and win a Grand Tour. In 1984 alone I will win 33 races, you will become an apologist for one of the greatest cheaters in the history of sport.”

Be careful who you give the evil eye to.

// Anatomy of a Photo // Guest Article

  1. Just excellent!




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  2. Kelly already has the world stripes on his jersey.

    Show some respect Sherwin!!!!!!




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  3. @velomonkey

    Kelly already has the world stripes on his jersey.

    Show some respect Sherwin!!!!!!

    I beg to differ; it is Kelly who should have some respect – what did he steal Freddy’s jersey? Kelly was never world champion and should not have the bands on his jersey.




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  4. Loving the amount of Kelly-worship around here.

    Phenomenal athlete.

    Fuck the worlds, he won Roubaix twice!




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  5. @frank

    @velomonkey

    Kelly already has the world stripes on his jersey.

    Show some respect Sherwin!!!!!!

    I beg to differ; it is Kelly who should have some respect – what did he steal Freddy’s jersey? Kelly was never world champion and should not have the bands on his jersey.

    Yep, probably, perhaps that’s the origin of Paul’s derision ’cause that’s probably what I look like when I see some knucklehead wearing something like that. And by knucklehead, I mean the fat dude rolling down the street defaming a leader’s jersey, world champion’s jersey, etc.

    By the by, that Flandria kit is one of the all time greats.




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  6. That photo is excellent. I need that framed on my wall of cycling rememberance. I love to listen to both of them during a race. Kelly’s accent is the bees knees.




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  7. @DavyMuur

    Loving the amount of Kelly-worship around here.

    Phenomenal athlete.

    Fuck the worlds, he won Roubaix twice!

    This! 2X Roubaix is enough said.




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  8. I spent my first 10 years on this bike with no helmet, just a cap, and it was totally normal. These days I wear a helmet 95% of this time, but on the days I am feeling saucy, and I wear only a cap, I get berated by other riders like I am driving drunk or stoned.




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  9. Actually what Lance was doing was not staring at Jan but looking past him to see who was coming up to them/dropping back from them.

    He had SPF 30 Coppertone getting into his eyes which drew out the looking back time.




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  10. Jury still out on whether or not he managed to pull this look off.




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  11. As for the bands issue, it’s not as if he’s wearing a full-on rainbow jersey. That would be ludicrous indeed. And by the way, how many times did he win the super prestigel/UCI world cup again?

    Future King Kelly wears what he likes.




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  12. @frank

    Hold your fucking horses cowboy! That was Flandria Velda Lano jersey in ’78

    Marc Demeyer was not WC either.

    Anyway please don’t tell me you gonna go with Sherwin here. I think all these years you’ve been watching cycling on wrong channels.




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  13. @TommyTubolare

    @frank

    Hold your fucking horses cowboy! That was Flandria Velda Lano jersey in ’78

    Marc Demeyer was not WC either.

    Anyway please don’t tell me you gonna go with Sherwin here. I think all these years you’ve been watching cycling on wrong channels.

    Stud!! Muff said




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  14. I did some digging and can’t find a good reason for the Flandria boys wearing the WC bands. Freddy Maertens won the WCRR in 1976 so he would have worn the WC jersey for most of the 77 season and been entitled to have the rainbow bands on his kit thereafter. The Kelly-Sherwen pic is from 1978. Basking in Freddy’s awesomeness? I don’t know.




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  15. @TommyTubolare

    Looks like Marc there spent far too much time in the swimming pool over the winter.

    With that upper body these days the bike he’s holding would be equipped with tri-bars and the water bottle stuck on the back of the saddle.




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  16. @wiscot

    I did some digging and can’t find a good reason for the Flandria boys wearing the WC bands. Freddy Maertens won the WCRR in 1976 so he would have worn the WC jersey for most of the 77 season and been entitled to have the rainbow bands on his kit thereafter. The Kelly-Sherwen pic is from 1978. Basking in Freddy’s awesomeness? I don’t know.

    I think the basking in Freddy’s awesomeness theory is a sound one. Kelly and the rest of them were there to make sure Freddy won TdF stages, essentially all wearing Freddy’s jersey. Extensions of Freddy’s winning will. And no, I’m not drunk. It’s 8:25 am here.




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  17. @Gianni

    @wiscot

    I did some digging and can’t find a good reason for the Flandria boys wearing the WC bands. Freddy Maertens won the WCRR in 1976 so he would have worn the WC jersey for most of the 77 season and been entitled to have the rainbow bands on his kit thereafter. The Kelly-Sherwen pic is from 1978. Basking in Freddy’s awesomeness? I don’t know.

    I think the basking in Freddy’s awesomeness theory is a sound one. Kelly and the rest of them were there to make sure Freddy won TdF stages, essentially all wearing Freddy’s jersey. Extensions of Freddy’s winning will. And no, I’m not drunk. It’s 8:25 am here.

    Indeed. How awesome was Freddy? in 1976 he had 54 wins (record tied with the Prophet) that included 8 Tour stages (again, a record tied with the Prophet). In 77 he won 13 stages of the Vuelta and 53 wins overall. He would have won more but was off the bike for three weeks after breaking his wrist in the Giro. Freddy and Marc DeMayer were Kelly’s teachers and he the willing and talented pupil.

    As for DeMayer, he was one of “the Three Muskateers (DeMayer, Maertens and Pollentier). De Mayer won the 76 Paris-Roubaix as immortalized in Jurgen Leth’s classic film “A Sunday in Hell.” Call him a triathlete at your peril. Look at the gears on that bike of his: 53-42 and a 12 straight through by the looks of things.




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  18. @wiscot

    Great photo and article, nobody is using Freddy’s jersey though. IIRC those years they redesigned the jersey few times a year at least. From 1976 I have seen jerseys with rainbow bands around the neck and sleeves, only around the neck and without rainbow bands at all. In the link from Ronde van Vlaanderen 1976 Demeyer’s jersey is without bands. He finished 3rd. The same year he won Paris-Roubaix though.

    Photos from 1976 Tour de France show jersey had bands though. Just like Pollentier for example

    1975 Trofeo Baracchi – Maertens and Pollentier with bands on the jersey

    1976 Trofeo Baracchi

    Flandria Team 1976

    Look at Maertens and Tabak jersey, the first two from the left, jersey is different.

    You can read more at Flandria bikes if you have time

    http://www.flandriabikes.com/heroes




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  19. @Chipomarc

    You what?

    On cobbles he would destroy you and your bike, on the first sector.

    Tour de France? Maybe you’re right but I don’t fucking care.




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  20. @wiscot

    The team photo supposed to be big, don’t know what happened.




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  21. @TommyTubolare

    @frank

    Hold your fucking horses cowboy! That was Flandria Velda Lano jersey in ’78

    Marc Demeyer was not WC either.

    Anyway please don’t tell me you gonna go with Sherwin here. I think all these years you’ve been watching cycling on wrong channels.

    Thank Merckx! But demerits to the designers of the Flandria jersey for their disrespect! I assume Kelly and Sherwin are bemoaning the jersey, its the only explanation.

    As for Sherwin, he is a fixture of the sport over this way and after listening to those two for 30 odd years, I have nothing but love for them. Those voices are part and parcel of what Cycling means to me, irrespective of whether there might be better commentators about. (The Flemish commentators are unbeatable when it comes to the Spring Classics, saying things like, “Here comes Spartacus on his moped!)




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  22. @DavyMuur

    As for the bands issue, it’s not as if he’s wearing a full-on rainbow jersey. That would be ludicrous indeed. And by the way, how many times did he win the super prestigel/UCI world cup again?

    Future King Kelly wears what he likes.

    The same number of times he won Roubaix. And still his biggest regret is not winning the worlds in 1989.




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  23. @TommyTubolare

    @wiscot

    The team photo supposed to be big, don’t know what happened.

    That’s the original Magnificent Seven right there.They ate Schecks for breakfast.




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  24. Sherwen was a badass. Not on the level of King Kelly, but a get-the-job-down badass in the mold of one Sean Yates.

    A shame he’s spent his later years covering for a golden-tongued fella with a penchant for saying stupid shit.




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  25. “get-the-job-DONE” (hope that doesn’t qualify as saying stupid shit)




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  26. @Joe Cline

    “get-the-job-DONE” (hope that doesn’t qualify as saying stupid shit)

    Saying shit like that will get you killed

    http://www.safetybob.com/toolbox/talk3.shtml




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  27. In the 70s the rainbow bands weren’t as sacred as they are now – even amongst the pros you would routinely see them on sleeves, collars, tights cuffs, mitts and caps regardless of whether or not they’d been “earned”.

    It’s not a lack of respect, it was just a totally common use of the sport’s iconography before the Rules were even a glint in baby Frank’s eye.




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  28. @wiscot

    @TommyTubolare

    @wiscot

    The team photo supposed to be big, don’t know what happened.

    That’s the original Magnificent Seven right there.They ate Schecks for breakfast.

    A-Merckx to that. Those guys must have struck fear into the competition.

    Notice different sock height amongst riders of same team. Freddy very confident in his sock height to calf girth, Pollentier not so much.




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  29. @Gianni

    @Gianni

    @wiscot

    @TommyTubolare

    @wiscot

    The team photo supposed to be big, don’t know what happened.

    That’s the original Magnificent Seven right there.They ate Schecks for breakfast.

    A-Merckx to that. Those guys must have struck fear into the competition.

    Notice different sock height amongst riders of same team. Freddy very confident in his sock height to calf girth, Pollentier not so much.

    I really wish nowadays cyclists could pose for a photo just like that instead of totally goofing off like a bunch of girls.




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  30. @Chipomarc

    Why are you using the phrase “bunch of girls’ in a pejorative sense?




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  31. @Oli

    @Chipomarc

    Why are you using the phrase “bunch of girls’ in a pejorative sense?

    They are the ones who started the silly act when having a picture taken, and now everyone is doing it.




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  32. @Oli

    @Chipomarc

    Why are you using the phrase “bunch of girls’ in a pejorative sense?

    I had to google ‘ pejorative ‘.

    Didn’t mean it that way.

    That’s just a term that was common back in the day and I haven’t updated myself yet.




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  33. That little exchange between Oli and Chipomarc is one of the reasons I love the Velominati.




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  34. Wow, some good history lessons here and some great information about the racers. Thank you all for sharing. As much as I knew Freddie M. was a stud, this has demonstrated he’s pure class.

    Wiscot – I’d expect nothing less from you! As your work is always classy.




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  35. @freddy

    That little exchange between Oli and Chipomarc is one of the reasons I love the Velominati.

    Yep, me too. Funny funny stuff.

    I had to look up pejorative also.




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  36. @Oli

    @Chipomarc

    Why are you using the phrase “bunch of girls’ in a pejorative sense?

    Maybe he meant this bunch of girls?




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  37. I’m actually surprised to see piping on the sleeves and collars of the Flandria riders who never won the WC. It’s not about adhering to Rules, but actually an adherence to the Regulations. I have no idea when this version of UCI’s Regulations were made, but today those jerseys would never happen.

    1.3.064
    Without prejudice to paragraph 2 below, only the current world champion rider may wear rainbow piping on his equipment (such as bike, helmet, shoes) as per the technical specifications in the brochure which will be sent to him by the UCI. However, he may use the equipment bearing the rainbow piping only in events of the discipline, speciality and category in which he won the title and in no other event. The current individual time trial world champion is authorised to use rainbow stripes on their time trial bicycle for individual time trial and team time trial events.

    When he no longer holds the title of world champion, a rider may wear rainbow piping on the collar and cuffs of his jersey, to the exclusion of any other equipment, as per the technical specifications in the brochure which will be sent to him by the UCI. However, he may wear such a jersey only in events of the discipline, speciality and category in which he won the title and in no other event. In compliance with the provisions 1.3.056 and 1.3.059, he is not authorized to add the rainbow piping on his national team clothing. Any equipment bearing the rainbow piping shall be submitted to UCI for approval before production. (text modified on 1.01.05; 1.09.05; 24.09.07; 1.10.10 ; 1.01.15).”




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  38. @LIIIXI

    @Oli

    In the 70s the rainbow bands weren’t as sacred as they are now – even amongst the pros you would routinely see them on sleeves, collars, tights cuffs, mitts and caps regardless of whether or not they’d been “earned”.

    It’s not a lack of respect, it was just a totally common use of the sport’s iconography before the Rules were even a glint in baby Frank’s eye.




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  39. @RobSandy

    @Oli

    @Chipomarc

    Why are you using the phrase “bunch of girls’ in a pejorative sense?

    Maybe he meant this bunch of girls?

    That`s when they have their race face on and pumping out 185 watts. : )

    I put a smiley at the end of last sentence so you`re not allowed to dump on me.

    This is the issue:

    Pulling rap gangsta, hip hop, and air guitar moves for the camera.




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  40. @Chipomarc

    @Oli

    @Chipomarc

    Why are you using the phrase “bunch of girls’ in a pejorative sense?

    They are the ones who started the silly act when having a picture taken, and now everyone is doing it.

    Seeing as Quickstep have been taking these style team photos for years at the request of their pillow making sponsor, I don’t think it’s a gender thing…




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  41. @TommyTubolare isn’t that against current rules to wear rainbow stripes if you’re not a WC? I wonder if this was changed after this photo?




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  42. One other thing, didn’t Jan Ulrich take his fair share of pharmaceuticals? Who is to say that Lance took anymore than Jan? We may never know, right?




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  43. @Mikael Liddy

    Ok, ok, I`ll give you that – you have a valid point.

    But that`s one reason I haven`t been riding for a pro team.




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  44. @Gianni

    @wiscot

    @TommyTubolare

    @wiscot

    The team photo supposed to be big, don’t know what happened.

    That’s the original Magnificent Seven right there.They ate Schecks for breakfast.

    A-Merckx to that. Those guys must have struck fear into the competition.

    Notice different sock height amongst riders of same team. Freddy very confident in his sock height to calf girth, Pollentier not so much.

    I doubt the UCI rules were applied much back then. For starters, these guys are wearing two versions of the jersey. Starting from Freddy on the left, he and #2 are wearing the same jersey, riders #2-7 a different version. I think this is from 1976 when they were sponsored by Flandria Velda Westvlaams Vleesbedrijf.

    How good was Freddy in 76? 54 wins including the World Championship RR, 1st Belgian RR, 1st Championship of Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem, Henniger Turm, Amstel Gold, Championship of Zurich, 8 styages of the Tour and the Green jersey, the Grand Prix des Nations, 4 Days of Dunkirk, and the Prestige Pernod and Super Prestige Pernod awards. That’s Merckx-like domination!




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  45. @DavyMuur

    Loving the amount of Kelly-worship around here.

    Phenomenal athlete.

    Fuck the worlds, he won Roubaix twice!

    Hats just good common sense, n’est pas?




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  46. @wiscot

    It wasn’t even a UCI rule then!

    In the 60s, 70s and 80s the bands were on non-World Champion’s shoes, socks, mitts, tights, bikes, bidons, caps, jerseys, you name it, and up until the mid 90s the rainbow bands were everywhere, it was just when the UCI decided to monetise “their” intellectual “property” that it changed – first they said you had to have been a World Champion in any discipline and you could wear the bands in ALL disciplines, then in the late 90s (’99, I think?) they harshed our mellow and set the rules as they are today.

    Trying to apply today’s rules to the past is just silly, we should admire (or not) the past as it was, not as we think it should be today.

    In my humble opinion, of course …




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  47. @Oli

    first they said you had to have been a World Champion in any discipline and you could wear the bands in ALL disciplines

    This is why you had guys like Roger de Vlaeminck, Stuart O’Grady or Chris Boardman (shown below in Fleche-Wallone, 2000) wearing the bands in road racing even though they never won a road World Championship.




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  48. @Oli

    Did you know you can get a World Champion’s Rainbow Jersey for ‘Artistic Cycing’?




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  49. @frank

    @DavyMuur

    Loving the amount of Kelly-worship around here.

    Phenomenal athlete.

    Fuck the worlds, he won Roubaix twice!

    Hats just good common sense, n’est pas?

    C’est! Naturellement.

    Enjoy LDN. Gutted not to be there this wknd. Will be over in January. Alas, no rouleur classic in January.




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