Saturday, January 13, 2007

Laurent Brochard Spotlight - A Photo Essay

Many cycling fans know Laurent Brochard for one reason and one reason only. Despite a long and successful career, fans can often recall Phil Sherwen (they may as well be one person at this point) calling out Brochard in the peloton by pointing to one very distinctive element of his appearance. Evidence of what he is known for can be seen in the photograph below:

As you can see, the French rider is the proud owner of one of the most distinctive visual elements in all of professional cycling: The rainbow stripes of World Champion on the sleeves of his jersey. There is absolutely nothing else about his appearance that is strange or unique or deserving of attention. Further evidence of his very unique visual style can be seen in the photo below...on the collar of his jersey. Again, nothing else about his style is worthy of note.

In addition to his attacking style and obvious flair for style and fashion (note the exquisite manscaping of the chin...its laser precision and consistent rate of curvature a sure testament to his work ethic and attention to detail) Brochard has accumulated an impressive list of victories over the course of his career. His biggest victories came in 1997 when the rider from Le Mans won a stage of the Tour de France and became the professional World Road Champion in San Sebastian. The fact that he was implicated in the Festina affair, won a World title between the likes of Johan Museeuw ('96) and Oskar Camenzind ('98) and had only moderate success after '97 doesn't take any of the lustre off those stripes on his jersey though. People still just focus only on those stripes and no other feature of his appearance.
Here are those famous World Champion stripes again in a photo that is obviously focusing only on Brochard's famous jersey style and not anything else on or growing out of his head. Off the subject completely is the fact that Brochard is a huge fan of the French comic book character Marsupilami, as evidenced by the headband he is wearing in the above photo. But once again, there is nothing else unique about the head or appearance of Laurent Brochard.

The only other thing that cycling fans recognize Brochard for is the phrase that he famously uttered after a Tour de France stage in 1996. When asked what is was like in the peloton Brochard commented "It's business in the front, party in the back."

Brochard will be racing for the Bouygues Telecom squad in 2007 and although he still has the World Champion Stripes on his sleeves and collar...something just seems missing. The beard?


Anonymous said...

Hell Yeah! Nice piece.. I miss the Mullet.

curtis said...

the oonly man keeping it real in cycling!

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