“Blimey, you’ve been piling on the pounds.”
That was my opening line when seeing an old racing pal of mine for the first time in a while. Mrs C pulled me up sharp. Reckoned it was out of order.
She had a point. Where else but in the world of cycling would one man approach another and immediately comment on their weight? Sumo wrestling, I suppose.
“Hey, you’re practically busting out of your nappy, my man.”
“Arigatou, dear boy.”
“Doo itashimashite, old chap.”
Cyclists always tell me how fit I’m looking, just because I’m a skinny wretch. But it doesn’t work like that, unfortunately. Fitness comes from training, dedication and a healthy ratio of good genes, not from pork pies, smoking and drinking, sadly.
This struck me yesterday when we posted a shot of Jan Ullrich and wished him a happy 41st birthday on Twitter. Social media being what it is, there were a few weight-related mentions – gateau, fat legs, lightweight, that sort of thing. Nothing too offensive, but not exactly respectful either.
Ciao, Jan, my man. Need a hand?
Here is a man who most of us watched on TV for hours on end, battling it out with Armstrong at the Tour, providing gripping entertainment for the masses and hooking millions to bike racing.
Leaving aside the drug cheat issues involved with these two (because that is an entirely different and massive can of worms I have neither the time nor the inclination to go into right now), how is it okay to take the piss out of one of the sport’s finest riders in recent history because he carries a few more kilos around than most?
Sense of humour failure on my part? Maybe. But it struck me as disrespectful. Would you call Ullrich a lard arse to his face? No, I thought not.
Rest assured, Der Kaiser could still rip your legs off, no matter how many gateaux he’d consumed the night before. Weight is temporary but class is permanent.
STATS THE WAY, UH HUH UH HUH
10,000 - more or less, turned out at the cyclo-cross World Cup in Milton Keynes. And they ALL shouted.
10 - seconds before the comments on Tinkoff-Saxo's camoflage kit started flooding in. PR genius.
The brilliant battle between Sanne Cant and Katie Compton on the final lap at Milton Keynes World Cup
"Go on, Joe, go on Joe. Go on Jack, go on Jack." Opening off-camber carnage from juniors Jack and Joe and pals at MK
"Do you wanna go?" Luke Rowe with onboard camera and some chit-chat in the bunch at the Revolution meeting.