For the duration of the cycling season, we see the sport’s protagonists in formulaic garb. On the bike: all lycra, all the time – maybe a podium cap thrown on in moments immediately before and after races. Off the bike: team tracksuits, sponsor-correct runners (/
Safety Joggers), sensible athletic-wear with logos all over it.
Fashion is, for many people, a way of showing a bit of personal flair and identity – and we never get that insight into the personalities of the vast majority of pro cyclists. Except for one hallowed day of the year where all the stars align. The athletes are there, wearing what they want to wear. The photographers are there, too, ready to capture the riders in their finest smart casual-wear. The riders walk across a stage, wave at people in an auditorium, go and sit in assigned seating, and pop on little translator headphones like they’re United Nations delegates.
We are talking, of course, about the Tour de France route presentation.
So who was the snazziest bicyclist in Paris last night? Who had the crispest white sneakers? What was in Maxime Bouet’s backpack?
Let’s take a look. (Oh, and for the record, this is only covering the men’s fashion as – being a man – that is the only fashion I feel qualified to comment upon.)
Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën) is a veteran of the Tour de France route presentation, often wearing grey suits with a t-shirt undermeath. The definitive Van Avermaet outfit, for mine, was 2016’s Big Brown Scarf; this doesn’t reach those heights, but is suave enough. His shoes are certainly white.
Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic) has had a long journey back to health after a horrible crash at the Tour of Turkey, and will be hoping to break his winless streak at his home Grand Tour. He’s one of the peloton’s more controversial figures due to at least five aggressive incidents throughout his career, but has recently become a father and has a nice brown suede jacket so we shall see whether either of those things soften his pugilistic demeanour.
Felt cute, might delete later.
David Gaudu, the peloton’s foremost Twitch streamer, looks like the peloton’s foremost Twitch streamer.
Pierre Latour (Team Total Energies) almost disappears into the background with this dark ensemble, giving a pursed-lips wave to the auditorium.
In the more sharply contrasted environs of this picture, you can see he’s got a nice floral print, a waistcoat and a pensive demeanour. I am into all three.
Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-Citroën) has a blazer, a confident stare, and just so many things in his pockets.
The champion of carrying stuff into the presentation, however, is Arkea-Samsic’s Maxime Bouet. Not content with looking like he’s just raided Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible wardrobe, Bouet has a banger of a shirt jacket, some big black boots, black-on-black everything else, and a backpack with metal studs on it. My love for this outfit is equalled only by my curiosity. Let’s send it viral: #whatsinyourbackpackMaxime?
Valentin Madouas, who usually looks like he’s stumbled shaggy-headed out of a Sunn O))) or Sleep concert, has had a haircut for the occasion. He’s wearing a blue velvet blazer which regrettably says Groupama-FDJ on the breast, paired with trousers in a subtly different blue hue.
Tom Pidcock waits morosely for Annemiek Van Vleuten to arrive in her slightly grubby looking seat.
Ever the showman, Tadej Pogačar rocks up in a suit with a chessboard pattern and some high-cuffed trousers, paired with some cheerfully vibrant Stan Smiths.
Does he let the swag stop there? He does not. Suspenders, ladies and gentleman.
Michael Matthews in a remarkably Bling-free black and white ensemble. When the only pop of colour comes courtesy of a bottle of France’s most soapy bottled water, you know it’s an austere outfit. Still, could be worse. After all, he’s carrying a Vittel, not a molten cup of Senseo.
Mark Cavendish’s contract and Tour attendance are still up in the air for next year, but he was in Paris nonetheless. He might not know how to wear his little UN headphones, but the guy sure knows how to wear a suit.
This picture is mesmerising to me on several levels. Centre of frame: Original Prankster Aurélien Paret-Peintre, freshly returned from best man duties at Benoît Cosnefroy’s lovely wedding. What he’s wearing that you can’t see from this angle: a nice white shirt with a floral blue print, and a blue suit. What’s happening behind him, top left, in my imagination: ‘Tour de Romance’ – cycling’s freshest new rom-com, coming to a streaming platform near you in 2023.
You can usually rely on at least one turtleneck. Traditionally it’s worn by someone like Romain Bardet – a peloton intellectual, surveying the room with the cool remove of a Serge Gainsbourg. For 2022, a new star has risen. Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citröen) is a new contender for that tier of riders that are still interesting off the bike – as we found at the Tour this year, he is the peloton’s most avid homebrewer, and this year started his own brand to sell his debut commercial blonde tripel (8%!) across Flanders. Here, he has a turtleneck, a fresh haircut and a happy little face. Keep doing you, Stan.