Pro secrets, quirks and superstitions

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

Jump To Comments

Last week I wrote a post that listed a few of the subtle things that pros do that make them who and what they are. I thought it would be fun to take it a step further and dig deep into the psyche and quirks of the seasoned pro. Some of these are hard fact, some of them generalisations, and some of them are unsubstantiated tales from dodgy sources. Hell, I even made some of them up. Take it for what it is.

Quirks and Secrets

1. Many pros will get their chamois changed over to Assos as soon as they get their kit.

2. Pros will wear Oakley sunglasses while training regardless of who their eyewear sponsor is.

3. Pro helmets are often custom made so that they look smaller and have an individual fit.

4. Pro shoes are often made with a custom fit.

5. Pros will cut off their long sleeve jerseys at the elbow for extra warmth, but not too much warmth. They’ll often cut them to short sleeves as well. One of the original reasons for this was because the short sleeved pro jerseys did not have full length zips. This was so they could not fully unzip them and the sponsor logos could be seen. However, the long sleeve jerseys did have full zip. This is how they got around the problem. Now this is often done just because it’s the cool thing to do.

6. Pros will cut off the elastic cuff on their short sleeved jerseys and put a small snip on the inside of the arms. This allows more airflow into the arms and has a great cooling effect. It also makes them easier to roll up (see #12)

7. Pros will cut off their knee warmers just above the knee. This will provide extra warmth around the upper leg and add a little more length towards the knee.

8. Pros will sometimes snip holes all over their undershirts to make them cooler.

9. Pros always train with two waterbottles, a small saddle bag (with tyre lever, allen key, and tube), and a manual pump.

10. Pros do not wear white shoe covers. They wear black shoe covers. The only time white shoe covers might come out is during racing.

11. Shoe covers are for one of two reasons: 1. To cover up the type of shoes being worn if they’re not from the official sponsor, or 2. for warmth. Shoe covers are not for aerodynamics unless it is for a TT.

12. Tan lines on legs are okay, but not on arms. PROs always roll their sleeves up as high as possible when the opportunity arises to even up the tanlines.

13. Pros race with gloves, train with bare hands (unless it’s cold out). It’s all about the tan lines.


1. Pros will often wear their undershirt the way it comes out of the wash. It doesn’t matter if it’s inside out or not. That’s the way it’s meant to be worn if the washing machine says so.

2. If you get #13 in a race, you are to wear it upside down. There is no telling what will happen if it is worn right-side up.

3. Pros don’t shave their legs on the morning of the race. It’s bad luck.

4. Pros don’t shave the day before a time trial. Very bad luck.

5. Pros get a lot of kit. This kit is to be separated into “training kit” and “racing kit”. Keeping training socks and knicks away from racing socks and knicks is of paramount importance.

6. There is one set of socks and one undershirt deemed to be “good luck”. These are only to be used during the races of utmost importance.

7. It is tradition for the Aussies to bleach their hair in the Track World Championships.

Editors' Picks