Le Bouclier Jaune

Geraint Thomas is the rightful winner of the 2017 Tour de France. In a travesty of epic proportions not seen at a Tour since the early 2000s, the yellow jersey he won in the opening time trial proved to be grossly inadequate in its defence of his race lead, in complete contrast to the stellar job it has since done for his teammate Chris Froome.

Maybe Thomas just didn’t realise the power of the bouclier jaune, or yellow shield, that sat upon his shoulders for a few days at the start of the world’s most boring sporting event. The magical qualities of the shield may have even been kept a secret from him by his very own team, who were obviously playing favourites when they made Thomas and his bright jersey carry drinks and food to the much less-talented cyclist, all while sticking out like dog’s balls in that yellow top. It was almost as if they wanted to humiliate him in front of the world.

What should be playing out right now as we enter the death throes of another three-week insomnia cure is that Thomas should still be happily cruising along at the front of the race dressed up like a skinny daffodil. Maybe if Froome and his boss Dave Frailford were a bit more forthcoming with the fact that the jersey means no-one else can challenge you, Thomas would be the first Welshman to win the Tour since Ryan Giggs back in 1992. Little did he know that by simply sticking his arm in the air any time that his overall lead was in danger, he could neutralise the ‘race’ and his ‘rivals’ would do all they could to stop themselves and each other from ‘racing’. Is that someone attacking? Mechanical. Bad legs today? Mechanical. Ate a dodgy curry and need to do a poo? Mechanical. Ridden too close to spectators when there’s a whole fucking road to ride on and brought yourself down? Mechanical. Mechanic too shit to prepare your bike properly? Mechanical. Just get that arm in the air and neutralise your way to Paris. Simple. Shit, you can even elbow your main ‘competitor’ into the crowd without a peep from the ‘race’ ‘officials’.

If Thomas had only been in yellow when he crashed and broke his collarbone, he could’ve stuck his good arm in the air, gotten race radio to call ahead, and the rest of the peloton could’ve had a coffee in that quaint little cafe they just passed while they waited for him to be taped back on his bike. And then had a nice relaxing ride to the Eiffel Tower, something Thomas has always wanted to see. Sure, the race might have taken an extra week, but this is a Tour after all, not a fucking race.

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190 Replies to “Le Bouclier Jaune”

  1. @mulebeatsdrums

    I enthusiastically agree with your sentiments, except the part about recumbents. Though they have wheels and require pedaling, they are not bikes in the truest sense and their riders are not cyclists. Recumbents aren’t even a subspecies of bikes (they have more of a parallel evolutionary origin from vehicles only used by annoying people). I’m pretty sure you’re only allowed to legally ride one if you’re competing in RAAM (or something like it) and only after suffering Shermer’s neck in a previous attempt.

  2. @Ccos

    Good point. I think I read or heard somewhere they were more accessible for people with certain disabilities. I do not remember the specific disabilities in question, nor a citation, so I could be mixing up three different factoids.

  3. @mulebeatsdrums

    @Ccos

    Good point. I think I read or heard somewhere they were more accessible for people with certain disabilities. I do not remember the specific disabilities in question, nor a citation, so I could be mixing up three different factoids.

    Any disabilities associated with recumbent users are of the personality variety I believe. However, hand cycles are Bad f’ing ass. We were out for a ride during a 1/2 iron man event and saw a legless guy crushing souls at the pointy end of the field with a hand cycle.

    There’s an outside chance we yelled something to the effect that a legless guy was kicking their ass to the next batch of racers we saw. There’s also an outside chance we were perceived as obnoxious by said soul crushed people.

  4. @Mikael Liddy

    @chris

    I’m sure @bret was just being a grumpy old git but he has managed to stir things up a bit.

    It does strike me as quite interesting that somehow we’ve managed to revive the time old tradition of talking utter bollocks with no relation to the original post…seems @Brett‘s bitter rants do serve a purpose after all!




    0

    I do hope the fact that plenty of us kicked the shit out of this particular rant doesn’t deter anyone from sounding off in future.

    It’s the privilege of the author to piss-take, rant and potentially, be amusing, but it’s the privilege of the readers to do the same straight back (or why have a comments facility?).

    Someone said the site hasn’t been as much fun from about 2 years ago. Which is when I joined. *goes quiet*.

  5. @RobSandy

     

    Someone said the site hasn’t been as much fun from about 2 years ago. Which is when I joined. *goes quiet*.

    0

    It must be due to all of the track cycling that’s been discussed lately  ;)

    [There, I did it — tossed in a winky thing to lure the keepers out of their caves to yell at me.]

  6. @MangoDave

     

    Someone said the site hasn’t been as much fun from about 2 years ago. Which is when I joined. *goes quiet*.

    0

    It must be due to all of the track cycling that’s been discussed lately ;)

    [There, I did it — tossed in a winky thing to lure the keepers out of their caves to yell at me.]

    1

    everyone knows track cycling is badass…

  7. @RobSandy

    @MangoDave

    Someone said the site hasn’t been as much fun from about 2 years ago. Which is when I joined. *goes quiet*.

    0

    It must be due to all of the track cycling that’s been discussed lately ;)

    [There, I did it — tossed in a winky thing to lure the keepers out of their caves to yell at me.]

    1

    everyone knows track cycling is badass…

    0

    Indeed.  I suspect I would enjoy the track if such a structure existed close by.  I also suspect I would be terrible at it, given my lack of explosive power.

  8. nah.  it ain’t like that.  there are disciplines for every type of rider on the track, just like the road.  it’s also a lot of fun to watch in person!  i think a lot more fun to watch than 95% of road racing.

  9. @Cary

    nah. it ain’t like that. there are disciplines for every type of rider on the track, just like the road. it’s also a lot of fun to watch in person! i think a lot more fun to watch than 95% of road racing.

    0

    It’s certainly a lot easier to watch track races ‘live’ than road races.

  10. one fine day, i shall make it across the pond to see the Ronde in person.  that’s really the only road race i need to see live before i buzz off to the great hereafter.

  11. @wiscot

    One of the Scots boys is still here, dipping in and out now and again as evidenced by my response to you weeks later. I’ve lost that desire to check in more frequently despite this page being my PC home page. I have felt for some time that the site is withering away, issues with kit orders is one of the reasons folk (me included) have gotten pissed off at the Keepers and the site. The 2017 VSP being a shadow of it’s former self and not being updated for the Tour or San Sebastian does not fill me with much hope of a return to it’s former self. Strathlubnaig now spends more time away working or on Twitter, it’s been a while since we rode together, same goes for The Engine.

    Perhaps I need to try harder, visit more often and simply post a thought or opinion.

    JB

    PS I enjoyed the Tour.

  12. @mulebeatsdrums

    I completely agree with you. Road.cc really can go fuck itself. In the ear. With a rusty desk stapler. They deleted my account for calling an Audi cunt a cunt. I mean come on! I thought cunt was a synonym for Audi driver?

    I also think this place just isnt for the main stream cyclist. It is more for the purists. But purists who dont take themselves too seriously.

    I really like this site; I came here a hairy legged mtb-ist and left a smooth gunned power meter user. I say left, but here I am.

    Mainly because I check in every now and then to see if Frank has given me my fucking mens olympic road race winners rings yet.

    I bet he still hasnt.

    Oh, and go fuck yourself, road.cc

  13. @RobSandy

    I dont know, if the Velominati want more bums on seats, maybe this place should start reviewing bikes and give EVERY ONE if them 4.5/5… or maybe start a devicive “close pass of the day” feature?

    Jesus, the hack that came up with that deserves a Pulitzer. Up side the head. Then inserted in their small intestine.

     

  14. @dinosaurJR

    @RobSandy

    I dont know, if the Velominati want more bums on seats, maybe this place should start reviewing bikes and give EVERY ONE if them 4.5/5… or maybe start a devicive “close pass of the day” feature?

    Jesus, the hack that came up with that deserves a Pulitzer. Up side the head. Then inserted in their small intestine.

    0

    Why are we talking about road.cc?

    I used to like them a lot and contribute to their discussions but a few years ago they went very commercial and click-baity. I guess they’ve got to make money somehow.

    This is what slightly puzzles me about the issues here. Velominati has finally been establishing itself as a wider brand – books, columns, product lines – and presumably offering a well-deserved chance to repay the vast time and effort which has gone into over the years. But at the same time the foundation of it all is in danger of being hollowed out and surely that base is what gives it credibility.

    It’s a bit like the Rapha discussion. If they aren’t founded on technical quality then it’s just a fashion style, and fashions have a way of falling out of favour.

  15. @ChrisO @JohnB

    Only got back just now from hols, which means I can type using a normal keyboard, but been following the discussion on “withering site” and can see some of what has been mentioned, particularly about gear not being delivered (waiting for 8 months now). Anyhoo, maybe the Keepers should appoint new pretenders to the throne? With @Gianni stepping down and to be frank (no pun intended), some other keepers loudly absent (eg (@Winnipegcyclechick, although she still cycles but tweets nowadays), there’s a need for some fresh input, no?

    And track cycling is bad ass indeed; hope the weather holds so I can go train later today on the open track again.

  16. @ChrisO

    @dinosaurJR

    @RobSandy

    I dont know, if the Velominati want more bums on seats, maybe this place should start reviewing bikes and give EVERY ONE if them 4.5/5… or maybe start a devicive “close pass of the day” feature?

    Jesus, the hack that came up with that deserves a Pulitzer. Up side the head. Then inserted in their small intestine.

    0

    Why are we talking about road.cc?

    I used to like them a lot and contribute to their discussions but a few years ago they went very commercial and click-baity. I guess they’ve got to make money somehow.

    This is what slightly puzzles me about the issues here. Velominati has finally been establishing itself as a wider brand – books, columns, product lines – and presumably offering a well-deserved chance to repay the vast time and effort which has gone into over the years. But at the same time the foundation of it all is in danger of being hollowed out and surely that base is what gives it credibility.

    It’s a bit like the Rapha discussion. If they aren’t founded on technical quality then it’s just a fashion style, and fashions have a way of falling out of favour.

    0

    i respect the idea that the Rules existed before the book.  why not apply this logic to the site?  things come and go.  the core remains, it was there to begin with.  the Rapha observation is remarkably succinct quality.

  17. @KogaLover

    It is clear I have some catching up to do. @gianni Leaving the ‘V’? A girl takes some time off to convalesce and the world falls apart. Is this because I didn’t come and visit your Godforsaken island in the spring? Probably not. Regardless, I shall catch myself up and weigh in accordingly.

  18. @Winnipeg CycleChick

    Hey, if there’s one thing I accomplished today, is getting you back to the site! I am still waiting for a picture of your de-stapled arm btw… Must say, glad to read that it has been improving; I did not see any scars on the Cima-Coppi plug you did.

  19. @KogaLover

    If it’s true that chicks dig scars, I should have a full harem by now. It’s a doozy, but thankfully in a place that does not command much attention – unless you are behind me on a bike, in which case it is appropriately badass.

    I should also clarify my role on this site – while I have contributed and consider myself a devoted fan, I do not hold official Keeper status. I’ve had similar challenges keeping my own site going – it can be a thankless full-time job, and the pay is shit. Clearly we all need wealthy benefactors with an unnatural love of bikes and high tolerance for swearing.

  20. @ChrisO

    This is what slightly puzzles me about the issues here. Velominati has finally been establishing itself as a wider brand – books, columns, product lines – and presumably offering a well-deserved chance to repay the vast time and effort which has gone into over the years. But at the same time the foundation of it all is in danger of being hollowed out and surely that base is what gives it credibility.

    Indeed, it’s a shame to have all this work go for nothing.

    There is space for at least three new Keepers. Anyone with the need to amuse and inform should write Frank and lobby for one of the positions. This site should continue to thrive and to do that it needs some new writers but Frank has always been in charge here so unless he wants it to happen, it won’t.

  21. @Gianni

    Frank has always been in charge here so unless he wants it to happen, it won’t.

    Including the coding; until he changes it, you’re still a Keepers by dint of your orange V-Cog.

    Perhaps new Keeper are the way forward but there a some fundamentally broken things that need fixing first.

  22. @chris

    @Gianni

    Frank has always been in charge here so unless he wants it to happen, it won’t.

    Including the coding; until he changes it, you’re still a Keepers by dint of your orange V-Cog.

    Perhaps new Keeper are the way forward but there a some fundamentally broken things that need fixing first.

    0

    Agreed Gianni – if it isn’t going to resume business as usual then a possible way forward is to become less of a fan club and more genuinely a community.

    There is still much goodwill and positivity to be tapped into and there are many talented people… plus @Chris too.

     

  23. There is TONS of goodwill here, and it’ll be back, no doubt.

    I think I can date the start of “The Troubles” to when Frank grew a beard; what did he expect when a Keeper flagrantly broke Rule 50? That the universe wouldn’t react?

  24. @davidlhill

    There is TONS of goodwill here, and it’ll be back, no doubt.

    I think I can date the start of “The Troubles” to when Frank grew a beard; what did he expect when a Keeper flagrantly broke Rule #50? That the universe wouldn’t react

    Would that be around the same time when he decided to wear a tie and a cardigan and hand over a certain book to Eddy M?

    @ChrisO

    I’d be interested in your view here; can you pls elaborate on difference between fanclub and community? Or rather, where do you think we are now more of a fanclub than a community?

     

  25. @ChrisO

    @chris

    @ChrisO

    I don’t think that was a compliment, but being shallow I’ll take it as one.

    0

    I could have used a winky emoji… maybe that would have brought @Frank back :-o

    0

    And on the topic of internetnonsence, can we get rid of the “like-hand”? If you agree, pls like this post

  26. @KogaLover

    @davidlhill

    There is TONS of goodwill here, and it’ll be back, no doubt.

    I think I can date the start of “The Troubles” to when Frank grew a beard; what did he expect when a Keeper flagrantly broke Rule #50? That the universe wouldn’t react

    Would that be around the same time when he decided to wear a tie and a cardigan and hand over a certain book to Eddy M?

    @ChrisO

    I’d be interested in your view here; can you pls elaborate on difference between fanclub and community? Or rather, where do you think we are now more of a fanclub than a community?

    0

    Didn’t we decide we were a Movement a couple of years back?  Cue replay of Alice’s Restaurant thread…..

  27. Let’s not get too hung up on a label. Aren’t we defined by who we are not? road.cc, cyclingtips and and all the other sneering cunts?

    The beauty has always been the disparity and irreverence of the the people who either stick around or pass through.

    If we are going to stake a claim as to what we represent, I’ve always loved the strap line:

    We are the Cyclists The Rest of the World Merely Rides a Bike

    because it doesn’t so much matter what we ride or how you ride (with the exception of recumbents and triathletes) but the fact that we give a shit about riding.

     

  28. @KogaLover

    @ChrisO

    @chris

    @ChrisO

    I don’t think that was a compliment, but being shallow I’ll take it as one.

    0

     

    I could have used a winky emoji… maybe that would have brought @Frank back :-o

    0

     

    And on the topic of internetnonsence, can we get rid of the “like-hand”? If you agree, pls like this post




    1

    The likey likey button has never worked for me so I’ll give it a dollop of nipple lube.

  29. @KogaLover

     

     

    I’d be interested in your view here; can you pls elaborate on difference between fanclub and community? Or rather, where do you think we are now more of a fanclub than a community?

    0

    First let me note that I think there will always be elements of both – this isn’t a binary choice and it isn’t that one is good and one is bad, it’s more of a continuum.

    I see the distinction being somewhere along the lines that community implies a certain sense of sharing, contribution and distribution and to some extent equality.

    A community is less likely to fall into inactivity because one or even a small group of people withdraw or lessen their contributions. It may have to work to adapt but it is resilient because it is distributed.

    The fate and feeling of a fan-club (perhaps there’s a better word but let’s stick with that one now) is to a great extent determined by the trajectory of a single object, be that a person or team. When Alberto Contador retires he will still have fans but the view becomes more nostalgic, backward-looking and not developing.

    This isn’t a criticism of whatever reasoning is behind what’s happened/happening. I completely understand the amount of unpaid work and effort which has gone into this and that it is very much Frank’s train set. If he wants to let it slowly rust or even pull up all the tracks and smash it to pieces that’s his call. We’ll be sorry but life will go on.

    I would see the suggestion about being more of a community as an evolution, building on the spirit and ethos which does exist – the community elements that are present but can be developed further.

    While I agree with Gianni’s suggestion of replacing three roles to be covered I just don’t think you can call them Keepers. To use a religious analogy it’s a bit like trying to replace the 12 Apostles – instead you have bishops and priests to spread the word and carry on their work.

    My suggestion would be to just recruit volunteers to look after some of the essential elements, and I assume he had something like this in mind.

    • An Articles Editor who would mainly vet and publish guest ideas and contributions and perhaps also seek some editorial from others.
    • A Competitions Organiser to look after the VSP and anything else (Velominati Fantasy Manager?)
    • An Admin, not in the sense of censoring or moderating but just someone reasonably technically minded who can deal with any site issues or raise them to Frank if necessary.

    I would add that I think it would be difficult to make that work if Frank has decided to just wash his hands of the whole thing. Certainly at least as a transitional stage there needs to be some continuity and direction and one would hope that he would remain engaged to whatever extent he feels comfortable with even as an eminence gris. Pope Frank perhaps.

    And maybe people do it for a limited time, a year or two at most. Maybe there’s some supervisory group, a sort of expanded Keeper-council, to keep an eye on things. There are lots of possibilities and of course one of the advantages of an autocracy as opposed to a community is a much easier decision-making process.

    But if the burden of looking after the site has become too much then I would hope that it can be given a chance to survive in the wild with the skills it has developed.

     

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