How Painful the Sport Is

On the eve of the Tour, the past is evoked


Presenting marketing copy as scholarly work should perhaps include a few footnotes? Like a nod to those who wrote the thorny-crown, hero-myth narratives before you? At least acknowledging the photographers whose work is presumably now in the public domain that crafted the imagery that’s nearly as old as a quick release patent.

Maybe I'm just sentimental about that sorta thing, the sport’s rich history on the eve of the Tour, or the greatest battle it’s known.

A bottle opener with a laser-etched marketing totem.

Also wondering how best to wear a bottle opener on a necklace. Does it go with a mesh liner and replace the dangly gold chains the Pros wear? Even with current exchange rates and a marketing totem that speaks to my passions, $45.00 is a bit much.

Evoking the past and citing the Kings of Pain to sell kits make sense when no patron since Lance has stepped up to lead the peloton around France.

Tugging Rapha jerseys onto emaciated bodies before the start, Sky also pulls therapeutic “exemption” cliches from the Armstrong era into focus, giving us every reason to speculate doping is still systemic.

And reminding us how painful the sport really is.

For the fans.

The challenge is that the appeal of the days gone by was that doping wasn't ever-present, ever challenging, while every image we see of a champion cyclist today is accompanied by a footnote about doping, whether that rider is clean or not. That’s why the nostalgia runs so high.

Rapha is bound by this schizo code now that they sponsor Sky. They will invoke both past and present simultaneously and there’s a dissonance to that. Why are they so haphazard? On one hand evoking the past and another a Tour de France contender? It’s because they make art about the most beautiful sport.

They’re pixel perfect, but imperfectly human, like our heroes.