Respect the Jersey

Cyclisme - Archive - Laurent Fignon
Laurent Fignon, in Yellow, wins the stage from Bernard Hinault.

Domination, at least from the spectator’s point of view, can quickly wring the suspense and excitement out of watching an event. In most cases, the sporting events we look back on most fondly are those most closely fought; even in recalling my own competitions, those where my winning margin was smallest feature most prominently in my memories. The smart money says Greg LeMond feels the same way.

Cycling is a difficult sport to spectate, or has been in the past. Point-to-point races covering hundreds of kilometers are hardly friendly to an audience who waits for hours at the roadside only to watch a colorful blur speed by. The modern days of start-to-finish coverage that you can watch on your mobile while driving to work, sitting on a conference call, drinking a cup of coffee, texting a friend, eating a sandwich and raging at inattentive drivers are a relatively new innovation; in the past, the races were documented only by journalists who may or may not have been in attendance of the event. The sole purpose of holding a bicycle race was often to sell newspapers, and in accordance with that goal, the journalists did what they needed to in order make the racing sound interesting. In other words, they lied like their pants were on fire.

Nevertheless, the feats documented were herculean. They built the leader and championship jerseys of our sport – the jerseys reserved for the elite of the elite – into sacred fleeces handed down from the very heights of Mount Velomis. These were jerseys that the hardest and most respected names of our sport drew unimaginable overdraft fees from the V-Bank in order to earn.

Certainly, this is why Rule #16 exists; we mortals have no business sullying such holy garments, however good our intentions may be. But the modern Pros claim their adherence to Rule #16 through their actions when offered the privilege to briefly bear its burden; invariably, they will dig deeper than ever before to stay within contention to honor their jersey. On some days, these jerseys give them wings while on other days, the jersey’s weight may prove too much.

Watching Froome lead the Tour from Stage 8 onwards challenged my interest in the event; his show of dominance on Ventoux did so even more. But with his final attack on the climb to Annecy-Semnoz, with nothing left in the tank, I recognized as a show of honor – of respect for the jersey. Of panache. He had no need to win that stage, and he had no realistic means to do so under those circumstances, given that his legs had already left him on the slopes of l’Alpe d’Huez.

But honor drove him to try – honor fueled by a respect for the Maillot Jaune. It would have been glorious for him to win the final climb of the Tour in the leader’s jersey, but attacking and failing is what earned him at least one more fan.

There’s no such thing as a failure who keeps trying
Coasting to the bottom is the only disgrace

– John C. Popper, Blues Traveler

 

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73 Replies to “Respect the Jersey”

  1. Rule #16 is respect the jersey.  Rule 12 is correct number of bikes to own is n+1….but good point about respecting the jersey.

  2. Great post Frank and well timed. Like a lot of other Velonomati, I was dissapointed with your previous attack on Froome.  Don’t let the fame off the book spoil things.

  3. It was fun in the first week to watch the unlikely lads reaction to getting the chance to ride out wearing yellow- though I’m still a little torn on the “deliberately drop yourself a couple of seconds to hand the jersey to a team mate” thing. On the one hand, an awesome display of, as they put it, “matesmanship” from someone that had earned yellow through the team effort, not a solo win. On the one hand- is that really respectful?

  4. @Al__S Gerrans didnt drop himself – whilst he was part of the bunch that lost 5 seconds to the top dozen or so riders, he was almost certainly always going to lose the jersey to Impey on that stage. Remember they did share the same time at that stage.

    All Gerrans had to do was finish something like 9 positions back from Impey (a virtual certainty given their respective lead out roles) and Impey would have gotten the jersey on countback…

  5. @Frank “…that you can watch on your mobile while driving to work…”   What the fuck?!  I know it happens; have seen it myself, but let’s not encourage the lunatics.

  6. I’ll never forget the first time I got inducted into the dirtbag hall of fame, it was the mid 90’s, and I grabbed up an Once’ jersey and wore it one day to the club ride, as I rouled in, a rider I really respected said out loud to the group ‘Hey, we have a PRO’ then he turned to me directly and said ‘so you ride for Once’ huh?’

    Point made, and thanks

    and ever since I have always held my nose seeing the maglia rosa jersey donned during club rides in May, or the Yellow jersey anytime, even as a spectator on the side of the road or worse yet is the world stripes donned by someone who is far from it.  It truly does come down to a respect factor for all of us as well.

  7. @Scott Martin

    Rule #16 is respect the jersey. Rule #12 is correct number of bikes to own is n+1….but good point about respecting the jersey.

    I thought @Frank meant the jersey rule too.

    Which I respected to the utmost until the opportunity to buy a 2013 Giro points jersey in all its wonderful Paul Smith/ Santini rosa glory arose and I succumbed because I love red jerseys.  Sorry.

  8. Love him or hate him, here’s another guy who never fails to respect the jersey when it finds its way onto his shoulders

  9. While I respect the respect the jersey rule I don’t really see it as much different than somebody wearing their favorite baseball/football players jersey

  10. @VeloVita

    Love him or hate him, here’s another guy who never fails to respect the jersey when it finds its way onto his shoulders

    Possibly true but I think he respects the TV cameras just as much.

  11. @Souleur

    I’ll never forget the first time I got inducted into the dirtbag hall of fame, it was the mid 90″²s, and I grabbed up an Once’ jersey and wore it one day to the club ride, as I rouled in, a rider I really respected said out loud to the group ‘Hey, we have a PRO’ then he turned to me directly and said ‘so you ride for Once’ huh?’

    Point made, and thanks

    and ever since I have always held my nose seeing the maglia rosa jersey donned during club rides in May, or the Yellow jersey anytime, even as a spectator on the side of the road or worse yet is the world stripes donned by someone who is far from it. It truly does come down to a respect factor for all of us as well.

    We have a guy kicking around the local peloton, a Cat 5 (can’t use Cat V as a 5 doesn’t know what that means yet), that’s been racing in Sky kit. If you have to rock generic team kit, do it out by yourself. And never, ever think you can wear Yellow, Green, Red, Pink, Dotty, or Hoops unless you earned those fuckers.

    Another local guy has won the Stars n Stripes and Worlds at Masters in the TT. He gets to wear them, and he even knows enough to only wear them when he’s TT’ing. Not while in the bunch.

  12. To extend the question, do you think the jersey has the power to permanently change a cyclist?  I do in that it opens new horizons, new possibilities in their minds.  depending on the conditions in which it is won and retained, even briefly, it confirms that they can push themselves beyond their self imposed mental limits which is some powerful mind fuel.  I saw it all the time in wrestling where a pivotal win over a key rival can change the arc and dynamics of someone’s career.  New expectations, better performance, and the cycle continues assuming good coaching.  Everyone has physical limits but that being said we most often never even approach them. The psychology is the same for selection into Special Forces, Delta, SAS ( caveat:  am not and never was any of those). The soldier accompanied only by a weapon, map, compass, impossibly heavy packe, and his own self doubts trudges endless miles with zero feedback and no known end point.  There is no published standard, they are only told to do their best.  It becomes an internal struggle between mind and body to push through ones limits only knowing that you must go faster and farther.  Those that make it, like the champions of sport reach a critical psychological break point where they simply refuse to recognize when they are physically beaten.  Find a man like that, and with the right coachung and training you have a winner.

    regarding Rule #16, john does it apply to teams no longer in the peloton, teams so far gone it would be farcical to even think the wearer was frontin’?  I lust after that wool Cinzano warmup that just oozes class.  I also wear my MG jersey mountain biking with baggy shorts.  Call me a philistine, but I love that jersey.

  13. I too was impressed by Froome’s respect for the Maillot Jaune. Rode with his regular black sky bibs and not the garish “everything has to be yellow” kit. The way he rode in the Alps was impressive by any Tour standard. Trying to win on Semnoz was classy indeed. I have a new found respect for Froome – or I should say, I now have respect for Froome. Not knowing much about him in the past, he came off as somewhat of a douche. Seems like a real good dude and a fitting champ.

  14. @Scott Martin

    While I respect the respect the jersey rule I don’t really see it as much different than somebody wearing their favorite baseball/football players jersey

    Missing the point friend. While the true purists here probably wouldn’t wear team kit, it’s acceptable as long as you don’t mix n match (no 7-11 jersey with Garmin bibs and ONCE socks for example). It’s kinda like having a replica of the Stanley Cup or Super Bowl ring on your mantel at home. Did you earn it? No. Then why do you have it?

    However, do you love Nibili? Cool, wear the Astana kit, just not the Maglia Rosa version of it. That make sense?

  15. @Jamie

    Great post Frank and well timed. Like a lot of other Velonomati, I was dissapointed with your previous attack on Froome. Don’t let the fame off the book spoil things.

    When did I attack Froome? I just said he looked like shit on the bike. Which he does. Its not even an opinion, its been proven mathematically at this point.

    Other than that, it was quite complimentary:

    There are lots of things to like about Vroomie Froomie, like his willingness to accept the fact that people are inclined to question his performances. Aside from me resenting him for leading a Tour which everyday becomes a little less exciting, he seems quite a likable guy; he is polite, respectful of the sport, wears team-issue bibs with his yellow jersey, his bike is only subtly yellow’d out, and he hasn’t publicly called anyone a c*nt that I’m aware of. That last point alone represents a refreshing change from last year.

    Also, I’m not 100% clear on what a Velonomati is, but it sounds serious.

  16. @PT

    @Scott Martin

    Rule #16 is respect the jersey. Rule #12 is correct number of bikes to own is n+1….but good point about respecting the jersey.

    I thought @Frank meant the jersey rule too.

    Which I respected to the utmost until the opportunity to buy a 2013 Giro points jersey in all its wonderful Paul Smith/ Santini rosa glory arose and I succumbed because I love red jerseys. Sorry.

    Its not a violation unless you wear it. Hang it in the workshop.

  17. @Scott Martin

    While I respect the respect the jersey rule I don’t really see it as much different than somebody wearing their favorite baseball/football players jersey

    Except football and baseball suck.

  18. @starclimber

    Andre Mahe looking similarly committed to getting shit done:

    What always amazes me is how big those gears were and how much flex there must have been in those systems, between the frames and shoes…I can’t even imagine.

  19. Before I found this site and embraced the one true way of the Velominati, my kit was team kit. I never mixed and matched but I did wear a Cervelo Test Team kit on my Cannondale. I still do, but only in the comfort of my own home when I’m on the rollers (serving my penance while sinning as it were).

    These days, it’s V-Kit or my local club kit only but I find myself somewhat conflicted. My youngest has some birthday money that he wants to spend on a Sky Wiggo replica jersey. Part of me is chuffed to bits that he’s getting into cycling and isn’t planning on buying another Barcelona kit but the other part is concious that it would amount to a clear Rule #2 breach in respect of Rule #16 and, given that his current bike is a BMX, in respect of Rule #18. I’ve suggested that Sky polo shirt would be the way to go, he can ride in it but also wear it at other time and it’s would be rule compliant but he’s set on the jersey.

  20. @frank

    @Jamie

    Like a lot of other Velonomati…

    Also, I’m not 100% clear on what a Velonomati is, but it sounds serious.

    Sounds like the cycling equivalent of Billy No Mates.

  21. @Elric

    To extend the question, do you think the jersey has the power to permanently change a cyclist? I do in that it opens new horizons, new possibilities in their minds. depending on the conditions in which it is won and retained, even briefly, it confirms that they can push themselves beyond their self imposed mental limits which is some powerful mind fuel. I saw it all the time in wrestling where a pivotal win over a key rival can change the arc and dynamics of someone’s career. New expectations, better performance, and the cycle continues assuming good coaching. Everyone has physical limits but that being said we most often never even approach them. The psychology is the same for selection into Special Forces, Delta, SAS ( caveat: am not and never was any of those). The soldier accompanied only by a weapon, map, compass, impossibly heavy packe, and his own self doubts trudges endless miles with zero feedback and no known end point. There is no published standard, they are only told to do their best. It becomes an internal struggle between mind and body to push through ones limits only knowing that you must go faster and farther. Those that make it, like the champions of sport reach a critical psychological break point where they simply refuse to recognize when they are physically beaten. Find a man like that, and with the right coachung and training you have a winner.

    It depends on the personality of the individual. There are some for whom that little push was all they needed to start taking chance; I think Cuddles was one, so was Virenque when he took Yellow early in the ’92 Tour.

    But there are just as many for whom that adds a degree of pressure of expectation that they aren’t equipped to deal with; in those cases it ruins their career because they forever think they should do better or repeat the performance.

    regarding Rule #16, john does it apply to teams no longer in the peloton, teams so far gone it would be farcical to even think the wearer was frontin’? I lust after that wool Cinzano warmup that just oozes class. I also wear my MG jersey mountain biking with baggy shorts. Call me a philistine, but I love that jersey.

    This is a gray area, but my inclination is to say yes, it applies. Those teams were great and I respect them too much to wear their colors. Taken to the maximum, I’d never wear a Molteni jersey, or a Bianchi jersey modeled after Coppi’s.

  22. @Chris

    Before I found this site and embraced the one true way of the Velominati, my kit was team kit. I never mixed and matched but I did wear a Cervelo Test Team kit on my Cannondale. I still do, but only in the comfort of my own home when I’m on the rollers (serving my penance while sinning as it were).

    These days, it’s V-Kit or my local club kit only but I find myself somewhat conflicted. My youngest has some birthday money that he wants to spend on a Sky Wiggo replica jersey. Part of me is chuffed to bits that he’s getting into cycling and isn’t planning on buying another Barcelona kit but the other part is concious that it would amount to a clear Rule #2 breach in respect of Rule #16 and, given that his current bike is a BMX, in respect of Rule #18. I’ve suggested that Sky polo shirt would be the way to go, he can ride in it but also wear it at other time and it’s would be rule compliant but he’s set on the jersey.

    I wouldn’t sweat it. Emulating your heros is a form of respect for a young gun like your kid.

    I suggest you let him get the jersey and let that enthusiasm develop. Its a small violation to allow him to ease into the sport.

    Then drop him mercilessly as he tries to hold your wheel on his BMX while you’re crushing it on the ‘Whale and then mock him for being a douche in team kit.

  23. @frank I won’t be able to do that for long if his big sister and brother are anything to go by. His 10yo big brother, Angus, was cracking along at a steady 22kph on his BMX on Sunday before he fell off and put his chain ring through the back of his leg. Brought me down as well.

    The ‘Whale is sulking in the garage waiting for some new hoods and a shifter face plate to arrive so it can have a re-cable and re-tape.

  24. @frank

    @starclimber

    Andre Mahe looking similarly committed to getting shit done:

     

     

    What always amazes me is how big those gears were and how much flex there must have been in those systems, between the frames and shoes…I can’t even imagine.

    Yeah, but when you have the tendons in your legs surgically replaced with steel cables does it matter?

  25. @frank

    @Jamie

    Great post Frank and well timed. Like a lot of other Velonomati, I was dissapointed with your previous attack on Froome. Don’t let the fame off the book spoil things.

    When did I attack Froome? I just said he looked like shit on the bike. Which he does. Its not even an opinion, its been proven mathematically at this point.

    I have to agree here.  I watched every stage and never saw Frank attack Froome – in fact I didn’t even realise he rode the Tour.  This lack of visibility must mean he was riding for either Cofidis or Lampre.

  26. @PT

    @VeloVita

    Love him or hate him, here’s another guy who never fails to respect the jersey when it finds its way onto his shoulders

    Possibly true but I think he respects the TV cameras just as much.

    I think that Voeckler is and EXCELLENT example of the respect for the jersey

    I mean, the cat rode himself into the ground defending the jersey and really came closer than I thought to riding it in to Paris.  Personally, I love him, and personally the talk in the peloton is they HATE him

  27. @Elric

    To extend the question, do you think the jersey has the power to permanently change a cyclist?

    regarding Rule #16, john does it apply to teams no longer in the peloton, teams so far gone it would be farcical to even think the wearer was frontin’? I lust after that wool Cinzano warmup that just oozes class. I also wear my MG jersey mountain biking with baggy shorts. Call me a philistine, but I love that jersey.

    to the first question: no, it does not, see Jan Ulrichs career for reference

    to the 2nd question: there is a hallowed 10 year Rule.  Please observe Rule #16 and respect the PRO jersey, or the winners jersey (of your chosing).  However, the 10 year rule is like a statute of limitaions, in that, after a team is off the map 10 years, like Cizano you may wear the kit and this actually makes you more cool, and evidences your reverence of the jersey.

    However, be careful how you mix and match this.  Customarily you should only don a cap properly, be on steel, with toe clips, threaded 7 speed cassettes, sew ups and of course down tube shifters

  28. @frank

    @Elric

    regarding Rule #16, john does it apply to teams no longer in the peloton, teams so far gone it would be farcical to even think the wearer was frontin’? I lust after that wool Cinzano warmup that just oozes class. I also wear my MG jersey mountain biking with baggy shorts. Call me a philistine, but I love that jersey.

    This is a gray area, but my inclination is to say yes, it applies. Those teams were great and I respect them too much to wear their colors. Taken to the maximum, I’d never wear a Molteni jersey, or a Bianchi jersey modeled after Coppi’s.

    How then do we feel about other team branded items? – The letter of Rule #16 and #17 seems to only apply only to kit, but what about Domo Farm Frites Merckx Team SCs or CSC Cervelo R3s for example?  Is the spirit of the Rule being broken here? (unless they were acquired after originally being used by the actual team, which of course would just be fucking awesome).  I for one wouldn’t ever wear pro team kit, but I totally dig some of the team edition bikes of years past – especially some of the Merckx MX Leader paint schemes.

  29. @frank

    @Jamie

    Great post Frank and well timed. Like a lot of other Velonomati, I was dissapointed with your previous attack on Froome. Don’t let the fame off the book spoil things.

    When did I attack Froome? I just said he looked like shit on the bike. Which he does. Its not even an opinion, its been proven mathematically at this point.

     

    when your right Frank, your right.  Its been proven over and over again.   In a few years, we’ll be looking back with a snarky grin talking about ‘that Froome’ and his spider like style.

    but with all respect, he is in yellow

  30. @frank

    @Mike_P
    And, here’s what Hinault does to Rule #16 (see, I got it right this time) violators.

    What’s going on here?

    @Souleur

    @Elric

    To extend the question, do you think the jersey has the power to permanently change a cyclist?

    regarding Rule #16, john does it apply to teams no longer in the peloton, teams so far gone it would be farcical to even think the wearer was frontin’? I lust after that wool Cinzano warmup that just oozes class. I also wear my MG jersey mountain biking with baggy shorts. Call me a philistine, but I love that jersey.

    to the first question: no, it does not, see Jan Ulrichs career for reference

    10 years is the minimum before a pleb such as you or I can wear team kit.

    Who’s Jan Ulrich? Unless of course you mean Ullrich.

  31. @Souleur

    when your right Frank, your right. Its been proven over and over again. In a few years, we’ll be looking back with a snarky grin talking about ‘that Froome’ and his spider like style.

    What about when Frank is on your left?

  32. @VeloVita

    @frank

    @Elric

    regarding Rule #16, john does it apply to teams no longer in the peloton, teams so far gone it would be farcical to even think the wearer was frontin’? I lust after that wool Cinzano warmup that just oozes class. I also wear my MG jersey mountain biking with baggy shorts. Call me a philistine, but I love that jersey.

    This is a gray area, but my inclination is to say yes, it applies. Those teams were great and I respect them too much to wear their colors. Taken to the maximum, I’d never wear a Molteni jersey, or a Bianchi jersey modeled after Coppi’s.

    How then do we feel about other team branded items? – The letter of Rule #16 and #17 seems to only apply only to kit, but what about Domo Farm Frites Merckx Team SCs or CSC Cervelo R3s for example? Is the spirit of the Rule being broken here? (unless they were acquired after originally being used by the actual team, which of course would just be fucking awesome). I for one wouldn’t ever wear pro team kit, but I totally dig some of the team edition bikes of years past – especially some of the Merckx MX Leader paint schemes.

    I’m gonna have to say that bikes are allowable, as I ride a Domo FF Merckx! But it doesn’t have any Domo branding on it, just the paint (which is, of course, awesome!).

  33. @VeloVita

    @frank

    @Jamie

    Great post Frank and well timed. Like a lot of other Velonomati, I was dissapointed with your previous attack on Froome. Don’t let the fame off the book spoil things.

    When did I attack Froome? I just said he looked like shit on the bike. Which he does. Its not even an opinion, its been proven mathematically at this point.

    I have to agree here. I watched every stage and never saw Frank attack Froome – in fact I didn’t even realise he rode the Tour. This lack of visibility must mean he was riding for either Cofidis or Lampre.

    Or Sojasun, they too wore the invisible kit.

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