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How to be a Cycle Sport Buff

We're mid Vuelta (Tour of Spain). Have you found yourself vacantly nodding along in conversations about the race or frowning at the TV as the commentator describes the on screen fireworks?

Reaching the peak of cycle sport fandom can feel like a full time job, involving hours of research and relentless one-upmanship.
As the Tour of Britain rapidly approaches and a raft of pro team and our own Rapha Condor JLT prepare for the eight stage race, former pro rider turned author and cycling columnist Tom Southam adds some pointers and tips to our guide on how to be a cycle sport buff (or at least how to blag it!).

How to be a buff

Dress the part
SHOP THE TIP: Rapha Condor JLT Replica Saddle | Katusha Cotton Cap | Oakley Radarlock Cavendish Edition

Choose a specialist area
SHOP THE TIP: COPPI by Herbie Sykes | Great Road Climbs of the Pyrenees | Rouelur Issue 38

Know the lingo
RESEARCH THE TIP: The Inner Ring Blog - Lexicon of Cycling

Be obscure

How to be a blagger

There is no point talking about the Giro when everyone's moved onto the Dauphine. Get a basic calendar that lists the Pro Tour and World Tour races.

Reel off a few obscure facts just to blow everyone out of the water. Learn them off by heart and you can rattle them off whenever you need to impress or shut another buff up.

  • According to a former coach, cycling TV presenter Paul Sherwen 'never, ever' wore gloves in his racing days.
  • Lance Armstrong finished last in his first ever World Cup race, the 1992 San Sebastian Classic.
  • Swiss Rider Thomas Wegmuller once lost Paris Roubaix when he got a plastic bag tangled in his rear derailleur in the final sprint.
  • Another Swiss, Tony Rominger, holds the record for wins in the Vuelta Espana, with three straight wins between 1992 and 1994, when the race was still held in April.
  • Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time, has a subway station named after him in Brussels.
  • Frenchman Charly Mottet once won back to back stages of the Tour de France. Not a remarkable feat in itself, except the first was won on a flat stage, when he attacked with a kilometer to go to outfox the sprinters, before taking the second on a mountain top finish the next day.
  • Another Frenchman, Marc Gomez, won the 1983 Milan San Remo as a neo pro after his breakaway companion, Alain Bondue, fell off on the descent of the Poggio.

Knowing a bunch of facts is cool, but if you enjoyed the last 10km, then say so. If you thought Sagan had it wrapped up but he lost, then say that too. Just be mindful you reference a rider that was in the race so not to raise eyebrows from your afficiondo friends.

And, if you make a comment and everyone turns to give you funny looks, just change the subject. Tell them they missed the point of the race where a dog ran out and then walk off.

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