Anatomy of a Photo: You Can Leave Your Hat On

Anatomy of a Photo: You Can Leave Your Hat On

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Sometimes, when there’s a job to be done, you just don’t care what you look like. As with gardening, changing the oil or building that new pergola, the best gear for the job is usually the most practical, not the most stylish. In this Cor Vos image from the 1985 Liége-Bastogne-Liége, keeping warm is clearly the main objective of this hard working trio.

De Wolf (L) has gone for the classic beanie with pom-pom, a look usually favoured more by Saturday morning rugby dads than pro cyclists. He also raided the cupboard under the kitchen sink for his gloves, which as anyone who has ever done the dishes knows, do a better job of letting water in than keeping it out. Contini (R) has tried to keep the style points accumulating by jamming a cap over the tuque that his grandmother knitted him, and almost pulls it off, if not for the slightly sheepish look on his face hinting at a modicum of embarassment. Winnen (C) has tried the opposite approach, going for the wooly hat over the cap, which looks like it’s had its visor modified crudely with a pair of scissors. He’s thrown all style and three-point-system pointers right out of the window, and doesn’t give a fuck. Both Contini and Winnen possess guns which are impervious to water and cold.

Looking closer, it seems all three may well be wearing hairnets, making the combining of multiple layers of headwear a challenge that each has met in his own unique way, and somehow manage to still look hard as nails.

// Anatomy of a Photo // Racing // The Hardmen

  1. Staying warm and Looking Fantastic don’t need to be sets without an intersection.

    The Prophet, in one of my favorite photos ever.

    Hinault doing it both.

  2. @Steampunk

    @Nof Landrien
    That was one of my first thoughts, too.

    Contini and De Wolf were both Monument winners (Contini @ LBL 1982; De Wolf @ Lombardia & MSR 1980 & 1981, respectively). By 1985, both were in the twilight of their careers. Maybe that adds something to the picture: hardmen on the cusp of having time pass them by…

    This photo send the same message to me. The snarl on Merckx’s face is him getting ready to spit out his failure to keep the tempo when Hinault attacks in a bit (also LBL, but I believe this is 1977).

  3. @frank
    If it actually is LBL, it will indeed be 1977 as Maertens is World Champion, the title he won in ’76.

  4. On the marigolds front, I’ve done quite a bit of surfing in colder waters (think Orkney and the Hebrides, the arse end of New Zealand) and the best cold-water gloves I ever found were basically marigolds with a wrist seal, under which I wore thin woolly gloves. Perfect, toasty warm, and cheap, which probably explains why you can’t get them any more. The humble marigold is not to be underestimated. (And neither is moving to somewhere warmer…)

    I’ve always faintly mourned the passing of those trade team winter hats – the ones without a trace of natural fibre that looked like golf caps without the pom-poms, with the fake wool skirt that covered the ears. I’ve been passively looking for a la vie claire one for years…

  5. Oooof. I lived in Dunedin for a bunch of years, and can remember putting the wetsuit on in the shower to fill it up with hot water. I wasn’t going anywhere, just that was the cheapest way to keep warm.
    And walking on sand in spring in golden sun, which felt like walking on broken glass. Top waves though.

  6. Peter Winnen hated that race. He hated every race, actually, now I think about it. Only in Spain and the Tour because it was at least warm then.

  7. @frank

    Sloppy work, fellas. Did you miss your espresso today? Fixed your posts.

    @Campagnolo Vince!


    My rules go something like this:
    Look good, have fun, safety third. For the most part, cyclists have this down to a science.

    Yes, look good while having fun, but don’t kill anyone “” least yourself! Our science is more like mysticism. Meg you must have a slew of points from this blog site by now. +1


    Looks like a typical March group ride here on the hinterland – but badass and stylish all the same.

    Style – not giving a crap what anyone else thinks and backing it up V & XVV

    We are a base-V community, the symbol X holds no meaning for us.

    Unless X is used to represent the intersection of 2 (or 4) Vs. Perhaps symbolising that the many forms of the V all point back to the same philosophical centre.

    My work here is done. I will now disappear for another week…

  8. Apart from the Joe Cocker reference (though, being a Randy Newman original, redeems itself), a fine piece Brett!
    Contini’s gaunt, has anyone seen my nuts ’cause it’s so fricken’ cold, look is pretty hardcore. De Wolf’s yes, I’m chewing on one of them now look, is brilliant.

  9. @Bianchi Denti
    Good work, but it still doesn’t represent the number ten in a base V numbering system. I love the X being symmetric V’s that all point back to the V-Locus.

    I might have to watch that tonight.

  10. @sthilzy
    Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, PTSD just kicked in. Thanks a lot for that, sthilzy.

  11. @CanuckChuck

    @Buck Rogers

    That is the type of photo that inspires me to get out there and ride.

    So Buck, can we expect you to be sporting an equally stylish ensemble in Vermont?

    God Damn, that’s setting the bar pretty high right there, mate! Maybe if we roll a Cogal in December we might be able to pull off an ensemble like that.

  12. What sort of violation is riding a bike while wearing a cowboy hat?

    And woah, I sometimes ride with a guy who looks an awful lot like Costner there. Hmm, I’m guessing he’s a big fan of the movie considering his mustache is quite similar. Never thought of that until seeing that photo.

  13. @Ron
    It’s the violation that says Kevin Costner sucks.

  14. great one brett! nice work

    temprature perception on the bike is via the feet and hands
    I have never had problems with cold hands, but my stinking feet/frozen toes are always the challenge

    so the pic with The Prophet donned in gloves and a short sleeve wool jersey makes a ton of sense to me

    and yes, being a hardass and riding in snow, sleet, and a hard North wind may lend to momentary lapses in style judgement. Most forgiveable, but violations

    However, when done right, its RIGHT
    I first witnessed this as a newbie sophmore rider in 1992, one winter, as I went to ride all bundled up like the michelin man and a svelt rider came effortlessly by in 3/4 knickers, roubaix-esque top and the thing that caught my eye was the had…no helmet, and a cool capo styled knit cap with a draw string…dangling in the breeze as he worked on the spin…it was RIGHT

  15. The Tumblr caption is wrong too wtf, and it was only posted minutes ago.

  16. @Ron

    What sort of violation is riding a bike while wearing a cowboy hat?

    Don’t worry, Eddy’s taking aim at the hat! “Not on my watch!”

  17. Rule violations aside, their dirt covered bodies & the look on their faces gives them a free pass for the day. It would be nice to know if these boys were constant violators or if this truly was a weather condition exemption.

  18. So, what size Marigolds would be needed to match this headgear?

  19. wooly hats and sleeves? – don’t be so childish!

  20. @sthilzy

    Ok. What the fuck is a Marigold? You lot have been talking about that shit for two days now.

  21. @torrefie

    wooly hats and sleeves? – don’t be so childish!

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!! That’s a proper hardman right there! Fuckin’ spot on. If I hadn’t just given the +1 badge away yesterday, you’d have got it there.

  22. @frank
    I’m guessing it’s a UK brand of dishwashing glove?

  23. @Oli, @frank
    Correct. Generally yellow.

  24. @frank


    Ok. What the fuck is a Marigold? You lot have been talking about that shit for two days now.

    Guess I’m not the only one who didn’t know. I’m just too dumb to ask.

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