La Vie Velominatus: The Goldilocks Principle

La Vie Velominatus: The Goldilocks Principle

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The Rules are about cultivating a passion for riding our bikes to gain the maximum enjoyment possible. This requires humility, for one thing, and devotion, for another. It requires a balance between focusing on progress and enjoying the journey. It demands a reverence for our history paired with a hunger for evolution. The Rules teach us balance, to embrace the contradiction of opposing forces for the positive that each can bring us.

And so it could be said that The Goldilocks Principle is one of the fundamental tenets of Rule Holism. Along our journey to La Vie Velominatus, we will swing like a pendulum from left to right before we find our resting place somewhere between two extremes, whether in our training, our position, or kit, or even our very commitment to Cycling itself. No one can tell another where this balance lies; the path is for each of us to walk, we can only be shown The Way.

My STRAVA account is a good example of this. A beautifully designed service, this is a powerful training tool that lets you measure yourself against your previous performances and those of others. And therein lies the rub: since my return from Belgium, each ride I’ve been on I’ve buried the pin going after a KOM or personal best on a particular segment. This, of course, is the principle danger in training by numbers and flies in the face of Training Properly. But the tool is new to me, and I will allow myself this dalliance on the condition that I learn to cope with the pressure of having a computer that is recording my ride for future analysis. Failing that, the computer will be relegated to use only on those rides where I wish to test myself. Balance.

But the Goldilocks Principle also applies to wearing of the kit – in particular the length of sleeves, shorts, knickers, and socks. We have seen a dangerous trend of late – spearheaded by the English-speaking population of the Pro peloton, into the realm where shorts flirt with becoming knickers, socks threaten to become shin guards, and short-sleeves portend to their supposed fate as three-quarter tees.

As Velominati, it is our duty to band together and provide guidance to the rest of the Cycling community of which we are part: boundaries give us definition, and definition distinguishes us from the savages. Looking at the peloton and my peers on the road, it is clear to me that it is our obligation to issue a refresher on The Goldilocks Principle as it relates to cycling kit fit:

  1. Shorts Leg Length: Whether worn with knee-warmers or not, the grippers on the legs of shorts must fall somewhere between the midpoint of the thigh and the base of the base of the rectis femoris. The rectis femoris is the muscle on your thigh that, together with the Vastus Lateralis and Vastus Medialis form the shape of a V on your guns. Under no circumstances should your shorts cover this point up, as it is one of the primary focus points of The V. The more massive the cannons, the higher the accepted line can be, though it should be noted that the reverse does not apply to lowering the line to cover up a pair of starter pistols.
  2. Socks Length: Socks must cover the ankle in its entirety, and should end just above the narrowest point of the shin. Under no circumstances may the sock extend to the point beyond which the calf muscle is reached or exceed the maximum width of the anklebone.
  3. Jersey Sleeve Length: Jersey sleeves must extend beyond the deltoid muscle and come to rest at a point somewhere between zero and twenty-five percent of the bicep muscle. This point should be determined when the arm is relaxed at one’s side.
  4. Jersey Torso Length: The back of the jersey must extend to a point beyond the waist and above the gluteus maximus. Ideally, the jersey should come to rest somewhere along the rearward up-facing plane created by the forward rotation of the hips and torso; under no circumstances may the jersey sag down beyond this point to cover any portion of the buttocks.
  5. Knicker/Knee Warmers: Knickers embody the very essence of the Goldilocks Principle when it comes to kit; this garment is neither shorts nor tights and their length should demonstrate this fact. Knickers/Knee Warmers should extend past the bottom of the knee joint to the point at which the calf is at its widest point. Under no circumstances should the lower extremity of said garment venture significantly past the calf where it may be confused with being a too-short pair of tights.

[dmalbum path=”/velominati.com/content/Photo Galleries/frank@velominati.com/Golidlocks/”/]

// Kit // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro // Nostalgia // The Rules

  1. Can’t take issue with Sean. That should be a rule on its own. (Although this might be something to do with a youth spent peddling the lanes of Sussex with my shorts hoicked up hoping to catch a glimpse of the man…) He ties into your strava fetish, frank – when 7-eleven all had to have avocets on their bikes he refused to let it be connected, such was his hate for the things. I’ve taken to making sure I clock at least one computer-free ride a week to get away from the f****g numbers, and I’m currently pondering whether to leave it off the race bike altogether. Good recces and bad legs don’t lie.




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  2. There’s nothing like a well researched article. Loved it




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  3. @xyxax
    Beauty of a strip.




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  4. @936adl
    The finish is at about 36 minutes, if you haven’t seen it yet. Impressive stuff from Wiggins.

    Tour de Romandie stage 1 summary




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  5. @Dr C

    What the….. go Grandad….. what an awesome finish

    Except in this one he’s poking his finger in the Astana rider’s ear – which I think is rubbing it in a bit




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  6. @Oli
    Cheers. I watched the highlights on Eurosport last night, a mightily impressive win!




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  7. Loving Wiggo’s jersey as well. Must be one of the nicest national kits in the peloton.




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  8. @936adl

    Loving Wiggo’s jersey as well. Must be one of the nicest national kits in the peloton.

    Do you think ? I’ve never really liked it – too French.

    Would prefer something more Union Jackish.




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  9. Maybe it’s become a superstition for Wiggo…the more absurd the sock, the better his performance! Can wait to see what he’s wearing if he’s serious about the tour!




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  10. @Dr C

    What the….. go Grandad….. what an awesome finish

    I’m king of the world……




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  11. @ChrisO
    Agreed. It nods too much to the French, or Dutch really if we’re just talking about the flag. Also, the sleeves are too long and its practically see-through. Points awarded for wearing the national champions jersey with black shorts though, but then taken away for said shorts approaching the length of anti-cellulite shapewear




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  12. @itburns

    @frank

    @The Oracle, @Cyclops
    Doesn’t matter. There is nothing that says you have to stretch the legs of your bibs all the way down as far as they go. Just pull them up to where they should be, and let the sandex do the rest. Its OK if it bunches a little bit along the way. Properly fitting bibs will always have some bunching of the spandex in order to accomodate our massive guns.

    I thought that wasn’t bunching, it was V ripples.

    That’s absolutely what I’m going to call it from now on.




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  13. @the Engine
    HA!




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  14. @Oli

    @936adl
    The finish is at about 36 minutes, if you haven’t seen it yet. Impressive stuff from Wiggins.

    Tour de Romandie stage 1 summary

    Thanks for that link!

    I do have to say though a BIG F.U. to the bottom line/ticker nonsense. If I’m watching cycling why in the heck do they think I care about baseball scores? First of all, I strongly dislike baseball. Secondly, even if I liked it, there are, oh, 400 games left to play. Who cares? With the prevalence of the net everywhere, if you want to see a score you can check for yourself.

    And on top of all this the sports I actually follow rarely, if ever, are included in the line.

    Oh well, American sports are totally fucked.




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  15. I think Wiggins is overlapping his arm warmers and jersey sleeves in hopes of making his arms look bigger than string beans.




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  16. Woah, wait. Is Pozzato racing in that photo? At first I assumed a training ride, but the number and the Katusha rider made me reconsider. How does the UCI feel about shirtless, helmetless racing if they are now weighing in on sock length?




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  17. @Marcus

    @frank
    maybe Pippo wins the shortest shorts award? Sorry for posting this. I should know better.

    Although Potato is Rule #76 compliant (and riding my bike (nearly))




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  18. @Ron
    At least the newtworks are getting better with how they actually manage the tickers. Several years ago when European football made its way onto mainstream US networks (i.e. ESPN) they would show the matches on tape delay, but since they had already ended, the final scores were in the ticker – idiotic.




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  19. @Oli

    @936adl
    The finish is at about 36 minutes, if you haven’t seen it yet. Impressive stuff from Wiggins.

    Tour de Romandie stage 1 summary

    Wow, that’s incredible. He was definitely sprinting, but when he took the front, he just went more faster. Awesome ride! Shit socks!




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  20. @ChrisO, @936adl
    I agree the current British National Champs jersey is a beauty – one of the best around. Can’t see how its like the French one, other than you guys all have the same colors involved in your flags (as do we an many more…)

    I realize the Union Jack is your flag and all that, but it would never work as a jersey – too busy and so forth. The US National Champ Jersey just barely squeaks by as being workable.




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  21. @Marcus

    And now for the fugliest race jerseys in history.

    “Hey, let’s make it look like they are wearing their bibs over their jerseys!”.

    Only in America.

    Yet another example of why the Amgen ToC won’t be in the VSP. Have mercy, that’s ugly. We’re here to uphold standards, for Merckx sake.




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  22. @Nate

    @Marcus

    And now for the fugliest race jerseys in history.

    “Hey, let’s make it look like they are wearing their bibs over their jerseys!”.

    Only in America.

    I think they are trying to pay some sort of homage to the Castorama kit:

    OMM, put a big yellow smiley on that and he can work at Walmart!




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  23. @Marcus @Frank

    Why the hell would you design a jersey that imitates the look of wearing bibs on the OUTSIDE? For fuck’s sake.




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  24. Regarding the ToC jerseys… If I were in the hunt for the Best Young Rider jersey (I’m not) I may be tempted to throw the race to stay away from that awful plaid kit. That’s the best they could come up with?
    They now award 5 different jerseys daily… I see a trend. It’s getting like pee wee league sports where everyone gets an award.




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  25. @VeloVita

    @Ron
    At least the newtworks are getting better with how they actually manage the tickers. Several years ago when European football made its way onto mainstream US networks (i.e. ESPN) they would show the matches on tape delay, but since they had already ended, the final scores were in the ticker – idiotic.

    Ha, that’s a way to look on the bright side. Thanks for adding some optimism. A few years ago when I had access to a t.v. I’d actually do mid-day winter rides on rollers and watch the Champions League matches. Forty-five minutes without any breaks was really nice. Until they started running Favre “news” for all 45 minutes. That’s when I pulled out the black duct tape & arranged my own “fit to size” image.

    It still amazes me though – for some sports they’ll tell you what the third stringer had for breakfast, yet other “worldwide” sports aren’t even covered in terms of scores, wins, losses, etc.

    Oh, and if anyone has a Castorama jersey they are looking to unload, I’m your guy. I’d trade one that fits me for a PDM jersey that’s a bit big on me.

    And heck yes, quite a finish from Wiggins. I wonder if the lack of fear of losing, since it’s not the TdF, allowed him the nerve to go for the line from that distance?




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  26. @frank

    @Oli

    @936adl
    The finish is at about 36 minutes, if you haven’t seen it yet. Impressive stuff from Wiggins.

    Tour de Romandie stage 1 summary

    Wow, that’s incredible. He was definitely sprinting, but when he took the front, he just went more faster. Awesome ride! Shit socks!

    That is badass. I’m now firmly cemented in the Wiggins fanboy camp after toying with the idea all spring. I may even get some long socks. Excellent riding with the double kick. Cool.




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  27. xyxax – I like it!

    scaler – Oh yes, it’s all about balance. Pretty easy to tell when someone is working too hard for a look & when the look is just workin’!




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  28. @Tartan1749

    @Marcus @Frank

    Why the hell would you design a jersey that imitates the look of wearing bibs on the OUTSIDE? For fuck’s sake.

    Fignon helped design it and he was really proud of it; Castorama was a Home Depot-like company (is?) and the kit was designed to look like overalls.

    Still, shit. Completely.




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  29. @Marko
    You already have too-long socks. You’re all set.




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  30. Those are the ATOC leaders jerseys? Wow, Merckx-awful. Are they manufactured by Danny Shane?

    Regarding the Britsh Champions jersey, I do agree with Frank the using the Union Jack would just result in something garish. I do like the tricolor stripe, it just doesn’t say UK to me. Maybe if Wiggins paired it with a top hat, pocket watch and some spats…




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  31. @frank, @Marcus
    I was contemplating a ride over to see the Mt Diablo stage, but in light of these jerseys must now strongly consider boycotting.




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  32. @VeloVita

    Those are the ATOC leaders jerseys? Wow, Merckx-awful. Are they manufactured by Danny Shane?

    Regarding the Britsh Champions jersey, I do agree with Frank the using the Union Jack would just result in something garish. I do like the tricolor stripe, it just doesn’t say UK to me. Maybe if Wiggins paired it with a top hat, pocket watch and some spats…

    It could be on an angle, or the red white and blue could be proportioned – thick red stripe, white borders on a blue background. Lots of ways.

    Just a tricolor in red white and blue is French to me – I know it’s actually the Dutch flag it is closest too but I think Orange when I think Dutch. I would probably think the Dutch national champion was French too.

    The Aussies and Kiwis have been clever and developed sporting colours that are not those of the national flag, while the Americans have the stars and stripes pattern that doesn’t rely on colours.

    That’s one of the strengths of the Union Jack too – do it in green, yellow and brown and it would still be recognisable whereas the French or Italian tricolors wouldn’t be. So they should use the strong part of the design, not just the colours.

    Wiggins probably would prefer an RAF style roundel – very Mod. I’d even go for that over the bands.




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  33. @Oli

    @936adl
    The finish is at about 36 minutes, if you haven’t seen it yet. Impressive stuff from Wiggins.

    Tour de Romandie stage 1 summary

    Excellent finish, but am I the only one that was getting hypnotized by the rotation of those socks? Must be a super secret MI6 project to lull the competition to sleep.




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  34. Another perspective on the Wiggins-Sky performance – are we seeing how difficult it will be with Cavendish and Wiggins in the team together ?

    He’s been dropped on both days – OK today wasn’t his type of finish but if the team has to work every day, not just on the days when it is a sprint finish, they are using a lot more energy and won’t work as well for Cav, and he too will not be as protected on his ‘days off’.

    He should have joined Boonen.




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  35. @frank @marko @mcsqueak
    @Ron

    Thank you, fathers. I am especially glad about the shoes.
    As for monochrome, no, that is Vaughter’s level trying-too-hard. I would consider jaundice, though, if I got the yellow jersey in the TdF.

    On another subject, is it ever freezing enough to justify this? Someone’s porridge is too cold.




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  36. @ChrisO
    Correct. This is going to be a massive problem. Cav should forget the Tour and focus on the Olympics, maybe do the Tour but be on his own and win sprints that way; he’s proven he can win without a leadout. And let Wiggo focus on losing the Tour.

    @ChrisO
    Your union jack idea is cooky, mate. Thought it best you heard it from a friend. Too complex. The British jersey as-is has been this way for ever; its the death of the classic Tricolore and move towards other jerseys looking like the british that has you puzzled. It used to be the only white jersey with horizontal red/white/blue stripes. You’re a victim of the time; its the other nations that have it wrong, not yours.

    And as for the Dutch/French. They are opposite. Completely fucking different. Jebus.

    Dutch:

    French:




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  37. @Nate

    @frank, @Marcus
    I was contemplating a ride over to see the Mt Diablo stage, but in light of these jerseys must now strongly consider boycotting.

    Boycott?? One the contrary…fly your V-Kit and show ’em how a proper jersey should look!




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  38. @frank

    @Marko
    You already have too-long socks. You’re all set.

    and a Rule #82 violation.

    the difficulty with the goldilocks principle outlined here is that for the average person, we must buy our clothes off the rack and hope they fit. for some people with different body proportions (say, a longer femur, shorter forearm, etc), that gets difficult. sometimes you can work around it with bunching of lycra as frank mentioned, but how can you make sleeves shorter or longer as needed? maybe not buy that company’s fit, i guess.

    anyway, point is it’s not always easy for amateurs. and while that’s no excuse, it’s at least understandable that sometimes you find shit on sale that might not be ideal but it’s all you can afford; or you want to support a local/internet-based club (velominati) or ride for your local shop’s race team, etc… and they only offer one fit. not much you can do.

    pros, on the other hand, have no excuse for poorly fitted kit. i just read an article in rouleur on santini and how they’d spend hours for each individual rider, getting their exact dimensions and customizing their entire kit, giving them a dozen or so of each article therein. all free, of course. how do you go about having poorly fitted kit when it’s customized, short of just having bad sense?




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  39. I like the RAF roundels idea. Very Wiggo!




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  40. @chiasticon

    @frank

    @Marko
    You already have too-long socks. You’re all set.

    and a Rule #82 violation.

    the difficulty with the Goldilocks Principle outlined here is that for the average person, we must buy our clothes off the rack and hope they fit. for some people with different body proportions (say, a longer femur, shorter forearm, etc), that gets difficult. sometimes you can work around it with bunching of lycra as frank mentioned, but how can you make sleeves shorter or longer as needed? maybe not buy that company’s fit, i guess.

    anyway, point is it’s not always easy for amateurs. and while that’s no excuse, it’s at least understandable that sometimes you find shit on sale that might not be ideal but it’s all you can afford; or you want to support a local/internet-based club (velominati) or ride for your local shop’s race team, etc… and they only offer one fit. not much you can do.

    pros, on the other hand, have no excuse for poorly fitted kit. i just read an article in rouleur on santini and how they’d spend hours for each individual rider, getting their exact dimensions and customizing their entire kit, giving them a dozen or so of each article therein. all free, of course. how do you go about having poorly fitted kit when it’s customized, short of just having bad sense?

    Busted but I blame the DS (William) for not wanting to wait long enough to remove the leg warmers after the Pave laid waste to the arm warmers. Ironic too as I am the originator of Rule #82




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  41. @doubleR
    Positive thinking, I like it.




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  42. @Ron
    He’s probably riding to a start or from a finish.

    @Marcus
    The fact that @minion hasn’t given you shit about posting this begs the question of what unspeakable things he is off doing.




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  43. @Nate

    @Marcus
    The fact that @minion hasn’t given you shit about posting this begs the question of what unspeakable things he is off doing.

    We don’t speak of sheep shagging anymore?




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  44. @itburns

    @Nate

    @Marcus
    The fact that @minion hasn’t given you shit about posting this begs the question of what unspeakable things he is off doing.

    We don’t speak of sheep shagging anymore?

    We’ve already heard about that — I thought I might prompt Marcus’s imagination for some new trans-Tasman insults.




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  45. @chiasticon

    @frank

    anyway, point is it’s not always easy for amateurs. and while that’s no excuse, it’s at least understandable that sometimes you find shit on sale that might not be ideal but it’s all you can afford; or you want to support a local/internet-based club (velominati) or ride for your local shop’s race team, etc… and they only offer one fit. not much you can do.

    I’ve never actually done this, as I find my kit fits me just fine, but it can’t be that hard (or cost more than $10) to get a tailor to shorten your sleeves. I don’t settle for poor fit in my street clothes, and I wouldn’t limit myself to off the rack fit for a bike jersey either. You won’t ever get the fit of a custom made jersey, but you could get close with a cheap jersey and a decent tailor. I would NEVER think of letting a tailor do my bib shorts though, that’s just akward. And I’m pretty sure my tailor would agree.




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  46. @Marko
    Arm warmers and knee warmers were having a hard time staying put with all that shakin’ and a-bakin’ going on. More compliant approach would have been to shove them down and leave them there. But still.

    The socks. We still need to talk about the socks. What is with the “6” anyway? Should be a 5, no?




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  47. @razmaspaz

    @chiasticon

    @frank

    anyway, point is it’s not always easy for amateurs. and while that’s no excuse, it’s at least understandable that sometimes you find shit on sale that might not be ideal but it’s all you can afford; or you want to support a local/internet-based club (velominati) or ride for your local shop’s race team, etc… and they only offer one fit. not much you can do.

    I’ve never actually done this, as I find my kit fits me just fine, but it can’t be that hard (or cost more than $10) to get a tailor to shorten your sleeves. I don’t settle for poor fit in my street clothes, and I wouldn’t limit myself to off the rack fit for a bike jersey either. You won’t ever get the fit of a custom made jersey, but you could get close with a cheap jersey and a decent tailor. I would NEVER think of letting a tailor do my bib shorts though, that’s just akward. And I’m pretty sure my tailor would agree.

    I’ve actually tried this (my first V-Jersey was too big) and it was remarkably hard to find someone willing to do the fancy stitch that the kit used. But, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist, though. But its a good point that a tailor should be able to at least do a good enough job to reign in a bad fit.

    O’Grady was Aussie road champ a few years back and was riding around in a jersey that was much too much too much too big. Very strange, considering his options. He got it sorted later on in the season (maybe by the Tour) but it was rough for a while there. Can’t find a pic of it, though.




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  48. Nate – ah, very sharp, always a step ahead my friend, always! That’s good thinkin’.

    The Lil’ Prince looks as if he’s carrying a Thermos or a jumbo bidon behind Tommy V there.




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  49. @frank

    I am hallucinating, or does it say “Thomas” on the left shoe strap and “Voeckler” on the right? Looks like the Lotto (?) rider behind him has the same get-up.




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  50. @Ron
    The neon of the Prince’s Wilier and kit is just astounding.




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