Team Sky's yellow helmets cause a kerfuffle during Tour de France Stage 1

Accusations of presumptuousness thrown at British team - but the brightly coloured lids are a bright idea from ASO

by Simon_MacMichael   July 1, 2012  

Yellow helmet (pic from Christian Knees of Team Sky on Twitter)

One of the big talking points on Twitter during today’s Stage 1 of the Tour de France surrounded the fact that Team Sky’s nine riders were each wearing yellow helmets, with many interpreting it as a rather presumptuous statement of intent about Bradley Wiggins’ maillot jaune aspirations. The truth, however, is that they had to wear them after finishing yesterday’s time trial as the leaders in the team classification, due to a rule change introduced by organisers ASO this year.

The riders from the team at the top of that classification traditionally wear a yellow dossard, but ASO, or possibly Digital, which sponsors the team standings, have evidently decided that a yellow background on the race number isn’t quite enough, so now riders have to wear yellow helmets – supplied by the team, not the race organisers, which in Sky’s case means Kask lids – to make them more visible to fans.

If you’ve ever stood at the roadside of a Tour de France stage, you’ll know that as the riders approach, everyone is craning their neck to get a glimpse of the maillot jaune, the race leader; we’ve yet to meet a spectator who was disappointed because they weren’t able to work out who was topping the team classification as the peloton flashed by.

Moreover, one unintended consequence of the new rule is that it actually makes it harder to pick out the race leader himself – Fabian Cancellara was wearing a yellow helmet today to match his jersey, but at times found himself riding alongside several Team Sky riders near the front of the group.

We reckon there must have been a few Belgian kids disappointed because they couldn’t work out which one he was if he was on the far side of the road, for instance.

A quick straw poll we conducted on Twitter found 17 of's followers thought it was a bad idea, three considered it a good idea, and rather touchingly one  took the trouble to tweet to say that he was indifferent about it.

If the yellow helmets weren’t a universal hit with the fans, the same goes for some of the riders according to some tweets we saw.

Christian Knees of Team Sky tweeted prior to the stage start, “I thought they were joking this morning when they told me first team in GC have to ride yellow helmets!!” his post accompanied by the picture above.

A post from Peter Kennaugh’s account – we’ll give the young Manxman the benefit of the doubt about whether he was the author, because we suspect from Isle of Man-related tweets when he is racing elsewhere that he’s not the only person who tweets from it went slightly off message, reading: “like the sky helmets were not already bad enough...”

Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar, meanwhile, spared a thought for Bradley Wiggins. With the black shorts, green jersey and yellow lid combo the Team Sky man was wearing, Millar said “Not cool that ASO made @bradwiggins look like a Liquorice Allsorts today. Not very mod.”

Wiggins, who had been wearing the maillot vert today in place of points classification leader Fabian Cancellara, will be back in a standard Team Sky jersey tomorrow, but like his eight colleagues, he’ll be sporting a yellow helmet again. Sky lead the classification by four seconds from RadioShack-Nissan.

With tomorrow’s stage likely to end in a bunch sprint, the likelihood is that they’ll be in them for a few more days yet.

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

i suspected it was something like this but glad it has been explained.

and the millar comment, brilliant

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
1st July 2012 - 22:56


I kinda like it.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [521 posts]
1st July 2012 - 23:12


Just be thankful it isn't the Giro that tried this.
Imagine a whole team of pink ....[editor. That's enough right there, stop].


posted by seanieh66 [197 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 2:23


You might want to have a look at what Giro race director Michele Acquarone tweeted on that very subject yesterday.

As a family website, we couldn't possibly repeat his comments here, but here's the link:


Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9336 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 2:31


I vote for some yellow stripes rather than full-on yellow.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [301 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 3:34


Awful... why not matching sunglassess, gloves, and shoes to make them a complete eyesore?

posted by dino [60 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 7:12


...and tyres...In fact why not go the whole hog & require each team to have a special set of yellow bikes?

posted by AlfCinelli [4 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 8:36


This is nothing new, surely? I remember the leading team being entitled to wear yellow casquettes during the 1980s.

The yellow helmets had me fooled for a few seconds until I remembered Sky was leading the team competition.

posted by JohnS [198 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 8:39


This isn't being entitled though, this is ASO instructing the leading team to do so.

I think the riders of the leading team should be given sufficient drugs and alcohol to induce jaundice. That would give their flesh a nice yellow tint, as well as providing an innovative handicap system...

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3701 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 9:08


Just be thankful that they don't have to wear the Giro Aero helmets.


Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 11:05


AlfCinelli wrote:
...and tyres...In fact why not go the whole hog & require each team to have a special set of yellow bikes?

also tatooed yellow arms, yellow contact lenses, team vans and cars resprayed. also drink excessive amounts of alcohol the night before to ensure bright yellow urine.

posted by russyparkin [578 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 14:54


It's truly awful to look at.

Hopefully an idea tried this year, forgotten next year!

posted by Super Domestique [1686 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 14:55


Do the team mechanics wear yellow and black helmets?

posted by Paul M [342 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 15:14


It worked very well today, it made it easy to see Cav moving through the bunch.

posted by Parkaboy [12 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 16:57


It might be nice for Sky fans to spot Cav or Eddy but I don't think it is appropriate and it does reduce the distinctiveness and visibility of the GC leader's yellow attire. Clicking on the link to Acquarone's tweet also displayed a tweet by @dimspace:
"Apart from looking silly, Jaune, like the Rosa, should be a special privilege for just one rider."
I agree.

And where do you stop? Will the rider who wins the combativity prize have to wear a red helmet the following day?

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2356 posts]
2nd July 2012 - 23:05


The KOM had a red polka dot helmet on yesterday. Is that now a requirement too?

Caused debate on the sofa while watching the highlights last night. My wife and daughter (6) said they liked it. My son (7) said they looked like 'plonkers'. I had to agree...

othello's picture

posted by othello [336 posts]
3rd July 2012 - 9:01


othello wrote:
The KOM had a red polka dot helmet on yesterday. Is that now a requirement too?

Caused debate on the sofa while watching the highlights last night. My wife and daughter (6) said they liked it. My son (7) said they looked like 'plonkers'. I had to agree...

Out of the mouths of babes.... Smile


posted by doc [167 posts]
3rd July 2012 - 11:06