Defining Moments: Sprinteur to Rouleur

As we grow older, humility takes it’s chilling hold. The little nagging questions like, “Will this next activity kill me?” start to weigh heavier on our minds.  It’s not that these questions weren’t asked when we gripped our youth like a toddler grips his penis; it’s just that they didn’t mean as much to us then as they do now.

You see, when you’re young and that particular question is asked, it is spoken in a wimpy voice which sounds a lot like it’s being a Pussy. As we get older, the Smart Ones realize that annoying sound is actually the “Voice of Reason” and that perhaps we should not ask our buddy to “hold our beer” while we attempt the as-yet-unaccomplished feat of jumping our BMX from the top of the interchange to that tiny little ledge an impossible distance away.

Such is the progression from Sprinteur to Rouleur. The devaluation of risk versus reward; of the pleasure of winning versus the pleasure of winning at all costs. We’ve seen it before; Sean Kelly wins Green at the Tour more times than I can count and then turns to winning the Classics instead. Eddy Planckaert starts as a sprinter, eases into winning Flanders, then wins Green, and turns to winning Roubaix. Johan Museeuw wins Green and becomes the Lion of Flanders, never to ride the Tour again. George Hincapie made the same transition, albeit without any of the aforementioned results. I feel strongly that after a season of near-misses in the classics and taking a beating in the gallops, Tom Boonen is about to follow suit.

It’s a natural move from Sprinteur to Rouleur, but often it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time when the transition happens; Kelly, Planckaert, and Museeuw made the  change gradually. I don’t know who the guy is pictured here in front of Jalabert – he appears to be either Dutch or Luxembourgian, based on the cuffs of his sleeve. Whoever he is, he looks completely fucked – not to mention that we never heard from him again after such a nasty crash. I can make an educated guess that, based on the apish look on his face, he’s probably Dutch. (I’m Dutch, so that’s not racist. If you lash back in kind, I’ll sic the Anit-Dutch Police on you. They are mean, and will get the Swiss to write you an angry letter, so don’t tell me you weren’t warned.)

Between the two subjects in the photo, the Dutchemburg guy looks by far the better off. The crash was caused by a Policeman wanting to photograph the finish of the 1994 Tour Stage to Armentieres, and who in his idiotic Darwinism stepped into the path of the charging bunch. Jalabert required extensive facial surgery in order to stop looking like a stand-in for a horror movie, but nevertheless returned to win the Dotty Jumper a couple times in the Tour – distinguishing himself as the only rider besides Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault to win both the Spotted Dick and the Green Willie.

For that, I thank the ape-man in the sweet Cinelli hairnet for offering us the Defining Moment in Jalabert’s career when he became an all-rounder who won our hearts.

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92 Replies to “Defining Moments: Sprinteur to Rouleur”

  1. @Steampunk
    Thor would be all: “was that my jersey sleeve flapping in the wind or a fly or something, oh well, no matter, c’mon young T-bone try to stay on my wheel and let’s go to the line and btw, have you seen Renshaw?”

  2. @Marko
    D’you really think Thor’s got any loose fabric in that sleeve? But yes: keep up Corn-fed. I’m not a physicist, but I wonder how significant Thor’s size would be as a lead-out man. We know he’s fast as fuck, but I wonder if there’s any advantage to his being a bigger rider and, presumably, having a bigger draft for Corn-fed to fit into?

  3. @G’phant
    Pot, kettle. That may be true, but Renshaw does little to dissuade the reputation Australia has for being an island full of exported crooks and thieves. The man is missing at least one, perhaps two, chromosomes.

  4. @frank
    Ok Frank, you have gone fishing so I’ll bite:

    1. Renshaw began his career as a track sprinter. If you ain’t born crazy, track sprinting will do the job for you.

    2. He is a World Champion on the track as well as having been part of a world record pursuit team. Combine that with being the best leadout man in the business and I believe a modicum of respect is warranted.

    3. “Exported thieves and crooks”. Despite your woeful tortology (thieves are crooks Dutchy), all I will say is that yes, a few convicts hit our shores in our early days. That was about the time that the country you choose to live in was running slaves and not long after the country you claim as your own fucked their economy by speculating on the price of tulips. I will take a few light-fingered founding fathers over that any day!

  5. And I discovered what could be a new favorite recovery drink after racing last night. The club’s esky (ice box) had no beer so I was foreced to grab and alternative. Icy cold cans of pre-mixed Jim Beam and Coke. Just the right amount of sugar and alcohol on a hot night.

  6. @Marcus

    Way to defend your homeland with point #3 up there. But did you really have to go and drag the good ‘ol USofA into it just because Frank offended your sensibilities about your heritage? Maybe someone needs to go watch a certain YouTube clip again. Don’t make me send Chopper Reid after you.

  7. @Marcus
    A “few”? C’mon, now!

    Chapeau, though: I’ve been waiting for the right moment to make a tulips crack on here, but the opportunity hadn’t presented itself.

  8. @Marcus

    What he’d really say is “Oi, my mate here has the bloody word ‘squeak’ in his name, because that’s the only sound others can muster as he lays down The V.”

    You know, like when one of those big-ass bodyguards (who doesn’t even know what The V is, but can certainly lay it down) is named ‘Tiny’. No need for a tough or manly name.

  9. @Marcus
    Chapeau. Very well played, indeed. But…

    He is a World Champion on the track as well as having been part of a world record pursuit team. Combine that with being the best leadout man in the business and I believe a modicum of respect is warranted.

    I had much more than a modicum of respect for him until his well-deserved ejection from the Tour. Putting your colleagues’ in danger pointlessly is worth much worse punishment than being disparaged on the interwebs by some Dutchman who knows little about anything. That was a classless act, and the last thing of note that he did this season. Massive fail for that, regardless of nationality or how good he is at anything. That one’s up there with Cav’s behavior.

    There are plenty great Aussies to cheer for. What’s wrong with O’Grady? O’Grady figures high on the list of “Dude’s I’d Like to Have Beers With”. As does Jens and Thor. And it’s a short list.

    As for the tulips, tell me your heart doesn’t skip a beat when you gaze upon these fields:

  10. mcsqueak :

    @Marcus

    What he’d really say is “Oi, my mate here has the bloody word ‘squeak’ in his name, because that’s the only sound others can muster as he lays down The V.”

    You know, like when one of those big-ass bodyguards (who doesn’t even know what The V is, but can certainly lay it down) is named ‘Tiny’. No need for a tough or manly name.

    Which is why me, as a 6’2″ 90kg rider uses the nomenclature that i do. Juxtatastic.

    Bit like finding Abdouzhaparov likes fluffy animals (he had a farm). With a name like his, you’d think he ate them raw directly from his musette. An Abdouzhaxaposition.

  11. @Zoncolan
    ++1 – though most farmers I know (and, being a Kiwi, I know a few) don’t particularly like fluffy animals. In fact, the fluffiest animal we have here is the possum. We got it from Australia and now it runs rampant destroying our native flora and fauna and giving our farm animal diseases. So farmers (and, frankly, quite a few of us who aren’t farmers) shoot it. Often. And not just because it’s Australian. Though that does help.

  12. @Zoncolan

    Ah, nothing wrong with eating raw animals! While I generally don’t eat raw land mammals, raw sea food is quite delicious.

    Also, Abdouzhaparov failed tests for Clenbuterol. You say he had a farm. Señor “Finger-Bang” has said that his Clenbuterol contamination came from eating beef.

    Coincidence? Or Ex-Soviet plot? I’ll let you decide.

  13. G’phant :

    @Zoncolan
    Sorry – let’s get this back on track. Renshaw. Bastard – or not? Discuss.

    Renshaw, loyal lieutenant, yes. Slightly psychotic yes. Bastard, not really, remembering some of the antics of lead out men in the 90s (hooking, punching) he is a junior hoodlum at best. Good rider for Cav although track sprinters are a little otherworldy.

    That said Julian Dean, not exactly a wilting flower.

    Anyway for those looking for a pattern, here’s Micky Rogers easing through some spectators as he tries to Climb Well for his Weight.

  14. mcsqueak :

    @Zoncolan

    Ah, nothing wrong with eating raw animals! While I generally don’t eat raw land mammals, raw sea food is quite delicious.

    Also, Abdouzhaparov failed tests for Clenbuterol. You say he had a farm. Señor “Finger-Bang” has said that his Clenbuterol contamination came from eating beef.

    Coincidence? Or Ex-Soviet plot? I’ll let you decide.

    Yes you are right. Reds under the bed/massage table.

    Still he knew how to headbutt the tarmac that boy and his Guns were quite remarkable (not getting all Faboo about him). However a flagrant disregard for Rule 59 meant he was un punchable, perhaps a lesson Mr Dean might want to consider when next he want to give Marky R a kiss in the last 100m.

    So in conclusion, Renshaw a level 5 git only. I think we all learnt something here today.

  15. @frank

    frank :@G’phantPot, kettle. That may be true, but Renshaw does little to dissuade the reputation Australia has for being an island full of exported crooks and thieves. The man is missing at least one, perhaps two, chromosomes.

    Franky boy, you can’t say you want to get all buddy buddy with Australians like Stuey O’G after dissing the whole country (not just Reckshaw).

    yes, it was an ordinary act from him, but sheesh, imagine the shit that he cops every leadout from people trying to bust up the HTC train? And it was only a Kiwi he was putting in trouble. Who gives a fuck about them?

  16. Hobbits are made of tougher stuff than it would appear, they certainly like their food and smokes, but when it comes down to it, they can dish out The V as well or better than anyone else. Joaquin Rodriguez may have some hobbit in him and I don’t mean that in a dirty way.

  17. Renshaw’s headbutting was a pretty standard track manouvre to gain some room, the hysterical squealing afterwards from his detractors was all handbags. Funny, because the bitch fight earlier in the Tour between Rui de Costa and his girlfriend looked a lot worse (for the sport and every bloke basically) got nothing.

    Hendo is all right, for a Kiwi. Took it with good grace and didn’t sledge Renshaw afterwards, which is not what his Kiwi bitchsquealing compatriots (especially in cricket) always do.

    Renshaw is no big bloke, so he does well to pilot Cavendouche like he does. In fact, Renshaw is good enough to win plenty of those sprints (remember his second place on the Champs at the 2009 Tour?) but never whinges about carrying that little Manxgina.

    Add Renshaw to the list of Aussie hardmen like Adam Hansen – remember his stage when he drove the front of the bunch for HTC for a lazy hour or so after a crash, then retired that night with a broken collarbone (after Renshaw rode him back from the crash then himself placed 2nd that stage after Cav crashed).

    Level 5 git is way too harsh, give me a psyhco sprinter like him anyday. Incidentally, I saw him at the Worlds last month standing amongst us mug punters on that last climb and the boy had a Velomihottie on his arm of the highest order. Quality.

  18. Geof :Hobbits. Hobbits care about us. They just don’t cycle very well…

    I thought Cadel was Australian. Now I’m confused.

  19. @Marcus @frank @G’phant

    You know: get penal colony, hobbits, Chopper, Geof’s all-black V status, and Renshaw out of the discussion, you could easily be talking Canada-US relations (or England-Ireland, for that matter). So I guess, by default, a Canadian has to have a certain relational sympathy with New Zealand on that front (Damn Yanks!)…

  20. Eh, I didn’t see what the big deal was about the headbutt. I know it’s not really sporting, but sometimes I like to see these guys kind of lose it and just do something that catches everyone by surprise.

    Like at the World Cup four years ago, when Zinedine headbutted that Italian and knocked him on his ass. Dick move? Maybe. But entertaining as hell, and I have to admit that I loved it.

  21. @Steampunk

    You know: get penal colony, hobbits, Chopper, Geof’s all-black V status, and Renshaw out of the discussion, you could easily be talking Canada-US relations (or England-Ireland, for that matter). So I guess, by default, a Canadian has to have a certain relational sympathy with New Zealand on that front (Damn Yanks!)…

    You guys thinking about striking?

    And then, of course, there’s this:

  22. @Marcus

    Franky boy, you can’t say you want to get all buddy buddy with Australians like Stuey O’G after dissing the whole country (not just Reckshaw).

    OK, OK. I didn’t mean to insult your entire country. Just that fuck knuckly Reckshaw. (Nice one, by the way, into the Lexi with that one.) Besides, I didn’t say Aus is an island full of misfits, I said he does nothing to disuade the reputation that it is.

    I think we can be friends again now that I’ve switched to making fun of Canada, yes?

    @SupermanSam
    Well, there’s something to be said for adding some flair to the train-led bunch gallops which generally are massively lacking in excitement, but I could do without the unnecessary roughness. Nothing against his skill – it’s the recklessness in an already dodgey bit of the sport. That Champs sprint was a class-act, both for the Douche and Reckshaw.

    (Aside: Mark Rickshaw for dragging ‘Cav to the line all the time?)

    Adam Hansen gets the highest marks for his feat; if it existed at the time, we would have certainly shipped him over a Rule 5 Award like we did to T-Bone this year for winning at losing with a busted wrist.

  23. @SupermanSam

    Incidentally, I saw him at the Worlds last month standing amongst us mug punters on that last climb and the boy had a Velomihottie on his arm of the highest order. Quality.

    That comment is useless without photos.

  24. It was Julian Dean that Renshaw butted (not just once but three times!), not Greg Henderson. We all may be hobbits to you Yanks but at least try to get our names right please..

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