Anatomy of a Photo: Sean Yates V. 2.0

"What we have here is a failure to communicate." photo by Andrew Hood

Sweet Jesus, here is a DS you can’t bluff. Having Raas, Tchmil or Sean Yates as a director must make you a better rider; you will be getting little sympathy from the team car with one of these guys behind the wheel. Some ex-racers really let go when they retire but only Sean Yates looks meaner and leaner after he quits the pro peloton. This photo is quite a contrast to an old photo from his early years in the professional ranks.

We have always held Sean in very high esteem. He has always appeared unstoppable, indestructible, a cyclist who actually might end up winning a bar fight. I bet he can put some of the present climbers on the Sky team in a spot of bother on the flats any time he rides with them. He even looks bandaged up here like he went down in a corner. And that black wrist band, I reckon it is a HTFU, Rule V special. No need to speak to a rider when he drops back to the team car to moan about the work being done on the front for Cav, just a quick look towards his black wrist band is all it takes.

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94 Replies to “Anatomy of a Photo: Sean Yates V. 2.0”

  1. @The Oracle

    @Buck Rogers

    @Adrian

    How did he get so thin eating that crap in his left hand?

    I do not think that he actually eats it. More likely he just beats his riders with it and swings it round for emphasis.

    It reminds me a bit of Brad Pitt’s character in Ocean’s 11-always stuffing his face with some godawful junk food, but still exuding the sense that he is a 100% cool customer that you do not want to fuck with.

    The new face of Chanel #5. Brad, spritz on a little Rule 5 instead, huh?

  2. Back in the 80s/90s Yates was the coolest of the cool. I used to love watching him in the Tour – once he was on the front of the peloton setting out to reel in a break you just knew that they’d be strung out behind him within minutes, riders being shelled out the back with no mercy.

  3. Joe Parkin had a few things to say about LeMan in his book _Dog in a Hat_. Later in LeMan’s career, Joe was with him in a race. LeMan apparently looked just shelled, and in an exasperated moment, asked Joe, “Isn’t this really fast? Aren’t these guys going really fast?” Vestiges of the quantum leap in speed of the peloton LeMan has commented on many times since.

    As I’ve learned more about the history of our sport, I’ve come to understand his bitterness. It really turned me off at first, but I begin now to understand.

  4. From Wikipedia
    “For a rouleur Yates climbed very well for his weight.”
    OK so which joker is going to fess up to that.
    Mind you I bet he did/does.

  5. The Telegraph: Team Sky sports director Sean Yates plots downfall of RadioShack’s Lance Armstrong
    (great read and info)
    Most importantly, he showed Armstrong how to corner the hitherto unique Yates way. The classic style, and still the most common technique, going into a sharp bend is to open out your inside leg from the knee, almost to 90 degrees which shifts your body’s weight to that side.

    Partly because Yates was so big and tall for a Tour rider he found this uncomfortable so chose instead to do the complete opposite – press his inside leg hard against the top tube of the bike frame.

    That in turn enabled him in turn to press hard down on the opposite pedal and gave the bike greater stability and therefore speed.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/lancearmstrong/6989480/Team-Sky-sports-director-Sean-Yates-plots-downfall-of-RadioShacks-Lance-Armstrong.html

  6. @Lepidopterist

    From Wikipedia
    “For a rouleur Yates climbed very well for his weight.”
    OK so which joker is going to fess up to that.
    Mind you I bet he did/does.

    That’s definitely our work. You can find the history over here.

  7. @frank
    Yeah, i think the last issue of Rouleur interviews him and he talks about racing literally with a pacemaker implanted in his chest as he had a few small heart attacks a while ago. Says that he tries to be the first pacemaker implanted finisher in each race he does. Dude is a pure BadAss!

  8. @itburns

    @scaler911
    I think he is sprinting for the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich stand. Actually, it’s his bitterness that is the saddest part.

    He seems way less bitter recently in interviews and has even had a few guest slots on some live update tickers. I imagine he is less bitter now as almost everything he has claimed for the last twenty years is coming out nearly 100% correct. But then again, i am not too objective as I will always think he is the BEST!

  9. Is no one going to comment on the hosiery Wiggins is wearing in the photos with Yates? (looks like & name on ribs looks like Wiggins)

    And, the photo of Yates in yellow at the head of the pack. His hoods are so far down. Can’t imagine riding like that. Compare the position of them in that photo to Wiggo’s in the dual shot. Very different. I’m still curious why such a drastic change in reach/positioning.

    Is it wrong that I kind of like that photo of Yates & a young COTHO? He seems likeable, hungry, a like cool racer when younger. Vastly different from what he became. (though I might become a nut if I nearly died AND had such popularity.)

  10. I am thinking Wiggins is becoming the Sinatra of pro cycling — a Chairman of the Board.
    (Romandie Casino Hotel image)

  11. @Ron

    Is no one going to comment on the hosiery Wiggins is wearing in the photos with Yates? (looks like & name on ribs looks like Wiggins)

    And, the photo of Yates in yellow at the head of the pack. His hoods are so far down. Can’t imagine riding like that. Compare the position of them in that photo to Wiggo’s in the dual shot. Very different. I’m still curious why such a drastic change in reach/positioning.

    Is it wrong that I kind of like that photo of Yates & a young COTHO? He seems likeable, hungry, a like cool racer when younger. Vastly different from what he became. (though I might become a nut if I nearly died AND had such popularity.)

    Sean took Pharmy under his wing when Lance was a neo pro. Actually, a lot of pros hated him already for being a dick, but at the time I liked him. He was brash, did some good races, and was something fresh. Sean thought so too and tried to help him become acclimated to European racing. Sean failed, but Pharmy worshipped him, and I always – to this day – admired that fact about heuvo lanceros. At least he had the sense to honor Sean. It was only later he got to sour cream.

  12. @Ron

    I’m still curious why such a drastic change in reach/positioning.

    Seems to me that the current trend towards a raised position for the hoods gives a bit of an aerobar effect that gives the rider something to hold onto whilst resting his forearms on the bar and maintaining a low flat back but not actually being in the drops. Having small hands, I can’t get away with it and end up with a much more vertical lever.

  13. @Chris

    @Ron

    I’m still curious why such a drastic change in reach/positioning.

    Seems to me that the current trend towards a raised position for the hoods gives a bit of an aerobar effect that gives the rider something to hold onto whilst resting his forearms on the bar and maintaining a low flat back but not actually being in the drops. Having small hands, I can’t get away with it and end up with a much more vertical lever.

    As the sport becomes more scientific, fitters are taking a closer look at the body-angles certain component-shapes force on a rider, and as a result component-designers take a look at the ergonomics of their products. Modern lever-hoods, for example, are designed to form a flat, seamless surface with the upper part of an ergo- or compact-drop bar. This reduces lateral twist (and thus, pressure) of the hand-joint. With a classic-bend bar, you get a shorter flat surface (just the hoods, as they don’t sit flush with the bars). That upward kink mostly serves as a “stop” for our hand – we then no longer need to grip the hood, but can simply rest on top of it. Again – reduced fatigue through improved ergonomics.

    If you look at Sean’s hands, they’re not in an ideal position. Angled awkwardly, and too stretched out. Old levers and hoods were designed to provide comfort and control in the drops, and the hoods were more of an afterthought.

  14. Yates ran his ‘bars like that because he liked his hands to be tucked right into the hooks to reach his brake levers with two fingers while still having straight wrists. His in-the-drops-riding-hard-on-the-front style is simply unparalleled and near impossible to emulate. Even though I hated the look of his set-up it certainly worked for him. Legend.

  15. @Nate

    @Campagnolo Vince!
    That suggests he is becoming a patron in the peleton. I don’t see that, although I give him props for having his way with the francophone press at the Romandie interview.

    And he will need a “Rat Pack” trio

  16. @Oli

    Yates ran his ‘bars like that because he liked his hands to be tucked right into the hooks to reach his brake levers with two fingers while still having straight wrists. His in-the-drops-riding-hard-on-the-front style is simply unparalleled and near impossible to emulate. Even though I hated the look of his set-up it certainly worked for him. Legend.

    This.

  17. @Campagnolo Vince!
    Les Claypool also happens to be one of the most amazing musicians ever. He is/was the frontman of Primus, as well as a whole bunch of his own groups after and to this day.

    I was going to post a video, but it really takes a lot of his songs to understand.

  18. @DerHoggz

    @Campagnolo Vince!
    Les Claypool also happens to be one of the most amazing musicians ever. He is/was the frontman of Primus, as well as a whole bunch of his own groups after and to this day.

    I was going to post a video, but it really takes a lot of his songs to understand.

    Oh, I love this guy — as far as guy love goes. Trying to find a Primus (video) because it has a certain ‘cadence’ that (for me) connects to cycling — and found badass PIG HUNT instead.

    Lacquerhead
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY7jSesdxl0

    I am still inspired to learn the bass one day due to Claypool.

  19. Got the HTFU wrist bands in the mail!! Only thing is, how, as a school teacher, do I get away with it, or at least remember to remove it before going to work??

    “Teacher, what does your wrist band say?”

    oooohhhh shit.

  20. @packfiller

    Got the HTFU wrist bands in the mail!! Only thing is, how, as a school teacher, do I get away with it, or at least remember to remove it before going to work??

    “Teacher, what does your wrist band say?”

    oooohhhh shit.

    How old are the kids you teach? Whatever it is, its probably not too young for the Rule 5 Talk.

  21. @frank

    @packfiller

    Got the HTFU wrist bands in the mail!! Only thing is, how, as a school teacher, do I get away with it, or at least remember to remove it before going to work??

    “Teacher, what does your wrist band say?”

    oooohhhh shit.

    How old are the kids you teach? Whatever it is, its probably not too young for the Rule #5 Talk.

    With my V year old and my V/2 year old, I simply shorten the phrase to “Harden Up.” I find it to be an indispensable parenting tool.

  22. @packfiller

    Got the HTFU wrist bands in the mail!! Only thing is, how, as a school teacher, do I get away with it, or at least remember to remove it before going to work??

    “Teacher, what does your wrist band say?”

    oooohhhh shit.

    Ha! I have worn one ever since Stewart O’Grady had them at the tdf and I saw it in a photo. I have never had any patients, or anyone else, ever remark on it. I wear it in clinic everyday. The few times I have told someone about it, they have always said that they thought it was a memorial bracelet or a POW bracelet and did not realize what it actually said. But then again, you’re dealing with kids, and they often seem much more perceptive of their immediate environment than adults.

  23. @frank, @Nate
    I’ve found the truncated Rule 5 to be invaluable both as a parent and as a first aider to the Under 9’s rugby team although you’ve got to be a little careful with how you phrase it with the new kids.

    Mummy, that man just told me not to be such a wuss…

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