The fashion magazine stylists say that yellow is on trend this summer, well “mustard” to be precise. In the first three weeks of July, a different shade of yellow is in fashion in France. The in-your-face, full on, sunflower yellow that is the Tour de France’s General Classification leader’s maillot jaune or yellow jersey.
The colour is important reflecting the paper that the Tour’s original sponsor, L’Auto was printed on. For many years, the jersey was all that distinguished the leading rider. More recently, the winners of the various competitions, general classification, points and King of the Mountains have started harmonising with their respective jerseys.
So why not some yellow bar tape, or green framed sunglases? If you’ve done enough to get into one of the coveted jerseys, why not trick your bike out a little? Recent years have seen teams getting seriously carried away. GC leaders look like they’ve been in a messy collision with a road marking truck (in the UK parking restrictions are indicated with yellow lines – just in case that didn’t translate too well).
Riders are now sporting yellow helmets, sunglasses, shoes, shoe covers, gloves and (a particular style crime) yellow shorts. Worse their bikes can have any (and usually most) of the following; yellow frames, tyres, bar tape, brake hoods, saddles, stems, computer covers, brake and gear cables.
As the UK adjusts to the prospect of the first British rider to ever win the Tour in its 109 year history, it’s worth having a look at how Bradley Wiggins is adjusting to a life in yellow. Known for his sideburns and Weller-esque Mod-style, his two weeks leading the Tour have been enhanced (in Cyclostyle’s opinion) by a very restrained use of yellow bling. He’s just got the maillot jaune and some yellow shades, but significantly he’s avoided the crime of yellow shorts. His Pinarello Dogma sports some yellow bar tape, a yellow saddle and an elegant yellow stripe along the top tube and down tube, but that all. Contrast this with Contador in Bananaman yellow kit and a fully jauned-up Trek.
There are rumours that the Sky mechanics have a similar yellow extravaganza waiting in their team truck. Perhaps it’d be a shame for all that restraint to be blown on the Champs-Elysees. But to be honest the prospect of “Le Gentleman” (as the French press have dubbed him) on top of the podium makes it excusable.
Note: this blog is decending into an appreciation society for Brad ‘n’ Vicky (“Bricky”?). I have got other stuff prepared, as soon as the Tour and the Olympics are out of the way it’ll be back to the subtleties of vintage chain guard design and obscure cycling texts. Bet you can’t wait.