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Weekly Wibble: Black on the Chaingang

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Racing cyclist from various teams line-up next to race winners jersey

Princes of darkness


Notice anything about this shot from the Tour Series launch? There was a time, not so long ago, when you could safely refer to the Rapha-Condor squad as “the boys in black” and be clearly understood.

Now half the British bunch has followed suit. Poor old Hugh Porter will be spitting feathers trying to make sense of it all from his commentary box, as black-clad rider follows black-clad rider across the line. As if the Tour Series wasn’t confusing enough already…

So hats off to Velosure-Giordana for their TV-friendly fluo orange, and Raleigh for making the most of milking their heritage with a variation on the classic ‘70s and ‘80s TI design. As for the rest, Rapha have the only true black. The rest are pale imitations.

No matter. Time to settle down in front of the telly and watch some proper Belgian action. What a stirring sight, half of the OPQS riders shaking it up at the front. Is that a Sky man we see tucked in at the back? Stannard perhaps? Or a Trek? Maybe a Movistar? Who knows? They all look the same, frankly.

Heck, now it’s raining and BMC’s red is rapidly merging into the black. Even Belkin’s vivid green disappears from view when the TV camera is behind the break. And we almost forget to mention IAM Cycling, the only team to be named after a brand of cat food, whose overwhelmingly dark blue design may as well be black when the sun’s in front of the cameraman’s lens. 

Maybe there’s a conspiracy here to make the viewing public purchase 40-inch plasma screens, as that would seem to be the only way of working out WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.

Come on, team kit designers. Give us a chance. We, the viewing public, pay your wages, after all.



11 – Number of Belgian riders at the 2013 Strade Bianche.

0 – Number of Belgian riders in this year’s edition.

1 – Belgian winner of the race: Philippe Gilbert in 2011.

You’d think they would love a bit of gravel action, wouldn’t you? (Thanks to Pro Cycling Stats for the pointer).



Fran Millar’s little dig at Orica-GreenEDGE’s comparative lack of followers compared to Sky bought a cutting response from the Aussie team’s video guru Dan Jones (featured in issue 43).

“Trash talking music vids? We’ll do Mr. Roboto with you guys given the ‘robotic’ personalities on your vids.”

Ouch. Common sense prevailed and the #SKYvOGE war of words was settled over a ‘friendly’ game of rock, paper, scissors. Politicians, take note.



Only Ballan can hold Gilbert’s wheel on the gut-wrenching climb to the Piazza del Campo, but the Belgian outsmarts the Italian on the final corner. A fine end to the 2011 Strade Bianche.

Coppi, Bartali, Koblet; this clip has them all, plus frantic accordian music and impassioned commentary from the 1951 Giro del Lazio – now rebranded as Roma Maxima – won by the great Fiorenzo Magni. 

The Fast Show’s artist could have been a team kit designer: “Black! Black! Black, like the eyes of despair as it clutches at me with its tiny claws!”



February 19: Just Deserts?
Feburary 26: True Racing Returns
March 5: Holding On

Did this wibble make you wobble? Got a thing for men dressed in black lycra? Could you kick Team Sky’s backsides at rock, paper, scissors? Get in touch @rouleurmagazine on Twitter or editorial@rouleur.cc by email.


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