Friday, 3 June 2011

The rainbow jersey - a season spoiler?

Cursed, bad luck or part of the game?

Photo by Thomas Rasmus Skaug.

It has been quiet from the reigning World Champion Hushovd after Paris-Roubaix. A vacation to Dubai with his family and the endless training rides around Monte Carlo, are some of the things he has been up to. No doubt he was disappointed, having dreamed about a victory in that particular race for years, an opportunity to do so wearing the rainbow jersey, is even more seldom. Witty tongues have said it is a rare as eating a steak contaminated with Clenbuterol... Hushovd did an interview three weeks after P-R, stating that everything was not tip-top in the Garmin team, read my post concerning that here.

Let's be honest, Hushovd's season hasn't been good. He is a man of few words, but it is easy to tell by the look on his face that he's not to happy himself.

Before the season kicked off, Hushovd's personal coach, Atle Kvålsvoll, wrote to me on twitter that Hushovd had planned three peaks to be "en forme"; Paris-Roubaix, the Tour and the Worlds.

Still, the God of thunder, Smash and what else he's being called, hasn't delivered up to his own goals or others for that matter. But judging from his three goals, he has some time to re-amp the expectations world wide.

There are other perspectives that need to be addressed. For instance, from a team/sponsor perspective, all seem to be pretty good. Could have been better with a win or two, of course, but I have never seen so much media and pictures of a WC before, so it got to be worth something. His season results have been missing in action and that is of more concern. Fans, commentators and journos have already started to whisper "the Curse of the rainbow jersey". To Hushovd's defence, of the big races he's attended so far, only one, the Paris-Roubaix, was the one he could win. Well, his placing in Milan-San Remo could have been better, but that is about it.
As a cycling enthusiast, I have many times criticized Hushovd for his lack of ability to position himself in the bunch. This applies for this season too. Always at wrong side of that crucial break away, a crash happened and Hushovd caught behind it and so forth. Then again, perhaps this is just a part of the game?

Many have mentioned that the rainbow jersey comes with an obligation to ride in a specific way. I do agree that honouring the jersey, or the fans, is important. Cadel Evans was a great WC in my eyes, he really rode with honour and panache. Perhaps it is unnatural for a sprinter (turned classics rider) like Hushovd to be out there in the front, to be more visible during races and not just in the final 300 meters?

Going for green again?

I don't have that much faith in Hushovd winning the Worlds in Copenhagen in September, that will be a race for the pure sprinters.

One thing is for sure, if Hushovd doesn't pick up a win or two during the Tour, his season will be miserable, and I think I know what race which will haunt him...until he nails it.


  1. Tom Boonen had a rather good season with the Rainbow Jersey. But sometimes it looks like there is lying a curse on it. Ballan was sick with Epstein Barr, Bettini lost his older brother and Cadel Evans broke his arm during the Tour 2010. Just some examples.

  2. Anonymous; you mention some good examples from recent times. One of the reasons it is called a curse could be that everyone is so focused on the WC, easy recognisable too, that every little (and big ones as you mention) thing that happens get noticed.

    Some is probaby bad luck, some is self-inflicted and some... could be a curse...

  3. I dont believe in * curses * For some it is the peak of an achievement, and then, with the prize won, some of that inner drive dies, and what made them great leaves them for a while. Retaining something, especially something as elusive as *form * , is harder than achieving it in the first place.