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

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 road.cc'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.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

17 comments

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russyparkin [570 posts] 4 years ago
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i suspected it was something like this but glad it has been explained.

and the millar comment, brilliant

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Cooks [491 posts] 4 years ago
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I kinda like it.

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seanieh66 [196 posts] 4 years ago
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Just be thankful it isn't the Giro that tried this.
Imagine a whole team of pink ....[editor. That's enough right there, stop].

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 4 years ago
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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:

https://twitter.com/micacquarone/status/219463789165297664

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pedalpowerDC [334 posts] 4 years ago
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I vote for some yellow stripes rather than full-on yellow.

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dino [60 posts] 4 years ago
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Awful... why not matching sunglassess, gloves, and shoes to make them a complete eyesore?

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AlfCinelli [4 posts] 4 years ago
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...and tyres...In fact why not go the whole hog & require each team to have a special set of yellow bikes?

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JohnS [198 posts] 4 years ago
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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.

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notfastenough [3681 posts] 4 years ago
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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...

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 4 years ago
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Just be thankful that they don't have to wear the Giro Aero helmets.

Eurgh

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russyparkin [570 posts] 4 years ago
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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.

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Super Domestique [1605 posts] 4 years ago
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It's truly awful to look at.

Hopefully an idea tried this year, forgotten next year!

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Paul M [360 posts] 4 years ago
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Do the team mechanics wear yellow and black helmets?

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Parkaboy [13 posts] 4 years ago
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It worked very well today, it made it easy to see Cav moving through the bunch.

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Simon E [2721 posts] 4 years ago
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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?

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othello [374 posts] 4 years ago
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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...

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doc [167 posts] 4 years ago
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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....  1