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Mark Cavendish's Tour de France shoes inspired by Brazil football legend Ronaldo

Shoes Dimension Data rider wears on today's opening stage based on Nike Mercurial design from 1998 World Cup...

England may be playing Sweden in the World Cup quarter final this afternoon, but it’s a Brazilian football legend who has provided the inspiration for the cycling shoes that Mark Cavendish is wearing on the opening stage of the Tour de France today as he seeks to home in on Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage victories.

The Dimension Data sprinter, who has 30 stage wins in cycling’s biggest race, posted a picture of his shoes to Instagram yesterday, and explained how they are inspired by the Nike Mercurial boots that Ronaldo – not to be confused with the Real Madrid and Portugal player of the same name – wore during the 1998 World Cup in France.

Some might wonder if Cavendish’s choice of footwear might be tempting fate somewhat, given Brazil lost in the final in Paris – the city where the Manxman took four successive victories on the Champs-Elysees between 2009 and 2012, but has drawn a blank ever since.

The 1998 World Cup Final had been billed as a showdown between Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane of host nation France, but billions watching around the world were astonished to learn shortly before kick-off that the Brazilian had been omitted from the team sheet.

He did take to the pitch but was a peripheral figure during the match and it later emerged that he had suffered a convulsion hours before the match.

Zidane netted twice and Emanuel Petit sealed a 3-0 French victory by latching onto a pass from then Arsenal team mate Patrick Vieira – inspiring the front page headline in the following day’s Daily Mirror, Arsenal Win The World Cup.

As sports footwear goes, the Nike Mercurial 1998 are as iconic as they come, and cycling isn’t the only sport that has seen the design rebooted – Neymar Junior’s boots during this year’s World Cup were an update to the ones worn by Ronaldo in 1998.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Martyn_K | 5 years ago

Agreed. Just because you can does not mean that you should!

Rapha Nadal | 5 years ago

When cycling shoes turn bad.

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