Of all the sports I watch, which is pretty much everything besides the highly overrated football, I always thought cycling deserves the most recognition. All athletes work hard for their achievements, but there’s something quite special about cyclists. Whether you’re world champion or a neo-pro, you need to have a certain level of fitness and determination to finish a race, regardless of its status. A runner can trip and fall and he’s already thinking about the next competition, but when a cyclist does it, it’s a problem for the whole team. A skier can take a decent summer holiday and can still sustain 2 minutes of intense effort down a slope but a cyclist needs to handle at least a couple hours of monotonous pedalling in heat, rain and apparently a snowy blizzard if last year’s Milan – San Remo is anything to go by.
I know, it’s apples and oranges, but that is my reasoning for believing that cycling is a little bit special. And for that exact reason I thought that this superhero theme would be appropriate. I don’t know my superheroes that well so the comic connoisseurs/geeks need to forgive my mix of Marvel heroes and DC Comics, but just like in cycling, there are teams and people pick sides.
The casting process was quite quick; I just picked my favourite characters and matched them with the first rider that seemed to suit the description as accurate as possible. The top 10 got a little photoshop makeover (again, my editing skills are about as good as my pedalling – barely there) and for the ones who didn’t make the cut it means I evaluated the match as not deserving of this much effort. Nibali’s baby blue kit just screamed “Aquaman” but disappointingly, Aquaman dresses in orange and green. What’s that about? Anyway, here we go…
Peter Sagan as The Hulk
OK, so this is an obvious one: green Cannondale kit, green TdF jersey and the obvious Hulk celebration. Not much more evidence needed to be fair.
Andre Greipel as Iron Man
The Gorilla gets rebranded to something a bit more suitable to his lovely personality. He’s big, he’s tough and he means business. Plus that kick-ass suit is an improvement on the Lotto-Belisol kit while still keeping the shiny metallic glow of those terrible…umm, I mean, tremendous helmets of last year.
Taylor Phinney as Captain America
Besides the obvious geographic implications, I always thought Captain America was the pretty boy of the Marvel gang. Popular, perfect hair, lovely smile and a loyal helper to his teammates when he’s not out there fighting himself. Not one to give up easily – just like Taylor. And he sure knows his way around words; I doubt there’s a journalist out there who doesn’t have a soft spot for him.
Alberto Contador as Magneto
Mainly because he’s the guy who draws bad luck, forbidden substances and troublemaker investors like a giant magnet. As soon as he ended his unwelcomed holiday, he jumped straight into the bear trap that is Oleg Tinkov’s sponsorship. All while Alberto and that yellow jersey seem to be like two North poles of a magnet – never bound to meet. He can’t seem to catch a break.
Marcel Kittel as The Flash
His Tour antiques of last year would suggest he is indeed the fastest man in the peloton, maybe not a true rival for the original Flash but still the one who gets closest. Plus he’s tall, thin and his hair looks like a real lightning bolt helps him style it in the morning.
Eddie BH as Thor
For some reason I always thought of Thor as Scandinavian, so that’s how I explain this particular choice. The other reason would be that he’s quite a hit as far as lady fans are concerned and his purpose is still a bit blurry to me. Like I never understood if Thor is meant to protect the Earth or that Asgaard planet of his, back here in the real world I’m not quite sure what sort of rider Eddie is meant to be. Not a sprinter, not a climber, not yet a success in the classics. That’s a dilemma I hope to be resolved soon.
Mark Cavendish as Superman
Aka Mark of Steel – that has a cool ring to it, doesn’t it? This doesn’t need much explanation. He’s quite a legend; arguably the most popular presence at any race and his Champs Elysees strike rate is as thoroughly documented as Superman’s adventures.
Purito as Spiderman
Maybe he’s not as tall or flexible – and I’m pretty sure Spiderman doesn’t celebrate a good job with a smoke – but Purito’s ability to stick like glue to any ridiculously abrupt surface and fly over summit finishes is quite a catch.
Chris Froome and Richie Porte as Batman & Robin
Again, not much explanation needed. I think they make a great pair, fighting crimes against malnutrition on the mountains of France and then hiding in their highly secluded Monaco cave. Chris is like the honest anonymous underestimated hero that rises to the occasion when he’s needed and doesn’t make a big deal about it. I don’t think the loyal Robin ever wanted to call it a day and make a name for himself, but in Richie’s case I know that day is (almost) here. Still, as good a sidekick as you’ll ever find.
Dave Brailsford as Nick Fury
A little bonus feature, with Sky’s evil genius figure in the role of Nick Fury, the clever guy who leads the Avengers gang of superheroes. No one can claim that he’s not a brainy guy who gathered a bunch of pretty special dudes with various superpowers and sent them to conquer the world. Just like Nick.
So there you go – my pedalling gang of superheroes. Feel free to complain, compliment or complete the list with your ideas 🙂