Reversing a Curse: 5 universe champions who’ve shone in a rainbow jersey

You’ve listened of a ‘curse of a rainbow jersey‘ – a materialisation whereby winners of cycling’s Road Race World Championships go on to have awful injury- or illness-blighted, or indeed simply unsuccessful, seasons in their pleasing white jerseys with a rainbow bands.

Surely such bad fitness can be explained divided by a weight of expectancy heaped on such riders after holding a sport’s ultimate one-day prize.

Or, as many believe, it’s simply self-inflicted as a outcome of maybe celebrating their new standing as champion of a universe usually a small too much, or committing to one too many open appearances or media final for interviews during a time when other riders are already knuckling down to training for a deteriorate to come.

Does a abuse unequivocally exist, or can a rainbow jersey in fact pierce we luck? Here are 5 examples of men’s highway competition universe champions who have left on to have really successful seasons in a year after they won their rainbow jerseys.

1976 universe champion Freddy Maertens’ 1977 season

Freddy Maertens’ Worlds highway competition win in Ostuni, Italy, in 1976, for that he’d started as a favourite, was a initial of dual universe championship titles achieved by a Belgian, who won again in Prague, in a Czech Republic, in 1981.

But it was a 1976 pretension that paved a approach to his vastly successful 1977 deteriorate in a rainbow jersey, while roving for a mythological Flandria team.

At a Vuelta a España, still hold in April/May behind then, Maertens raced to a honestly absurd 13 theatre wins out of a probable 20, including a voluntary time trial, and won a competition overall, 2:51 forward of Spain’s Miguel María Lasa.

Maertens afterwards went on to win 7 stages during a Giro d’Italia a month after – all in a initial 9 days, and again including a voluntary time trial, that gave him a pinkish jersey.

However, while sprinting for a theatre win during a Mugello engine circuit on theatre 8b – a second of a ‘split-stage’ day, with Maertens already carrying won theatre 8a that morning – he crashed and pennyless his wrist, and was forced to desert a race. His Flandria teammate, Michel Pollentier, went on to take a altogether pretension in Milan.

Besides his 1977 Vuelta win, Maertens was utterly able of winning week-long theatre races, as he also demonstrated that deteriorate by winning a altogether titles during Paris-Nice, a Tour of Sardinia and a Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

While sprinting to theatre wins during Grand Tours was his bread and butter – and it was generally his scurry that gained him his victories – Maertens was, being Belgian, also a rarely achieved Classics rider, and won a Omloop Het Volk in 1977, and 1978, carrying already won Gent-Wevelgem twice before, a Amstel Gold Race in 1976, and Paris-Brussels and Paris-Tours in 1975, among other one-day races.

In 1977, Maertens also finished third during Paris-Roubaix and second during a Tour of Flanders, although, proof it didn’t utterly all go his approach that season, he was unfit from a latter for carrying illegally altered his bike on a stand of a Koppenberg.

His hugely successful 1977 deteriorate was in fact serve blighted in that he was unfit from Flèche Wallonne for contrast certain for amphetamines, that was some-more a outcome of settlement – bad settlement on his part, in an epoch when such doping was though abundant – than bad luck.

Belgian cyclist Freddy Maertens smiles on a lectern after violence Frenchman Jacques Esclassan to a finish line during a finish of a 7th theatre of a Tour de France in 1976. Maertens finished a Tour with a immature jersey of best competitor after winning a record-tying 8 stages.

1986 universe champion Moreno Argentin’s 1987 season

Picture Moreno Argentin in his rainbow jersey and we might see a Italian in his ‘felt-tip-pen-effect’ wickedness with relating shorts – notwithstanding black ones.

The Italian wore a strange pattern during a time when a UCI was peaceful to let such things go, and it positively done for a noted season, generally when Argentin was a visit personality in his outlandish outfit in a year after he won a World Championships in Colorado Springs, in a USA, in 1986.

Argentin’s successful 1987 deteriorate enclosed victories in dual of cycling’s Monuments: Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia. He had already won Liège in 1985 and 1986, so creation it 3 in 1987 was no good surprise, and Argentin would win ‘La Doyenne’ once more, too, in 1991, that done him a second-most-successful supplement during a event, behind Eddy Merckx, who won Liège 5 times.

In 2017, Spain’s Alejandro Valverde equalled Argentin’s 4 Liège wins, and a Movistar supplement now has a event to equal Merckx’s record, if retirement doesn’t get him first.

While Argentin was one of his generation’s biggest one-day riders, winning a 1990 Tour of Flanders and Flèche Wallonne 3 times, he was also a inclusive Grand Tour theatre winner, and during a Giro d’Italia, in particular, winning 13 Giro stages in his career, with 3 of those as universe champion in 1987.

Argentin, roving for Gewiss-Bianchi that year, went on to win Il Lombardia in a autumn, nonetheless he was no longer universe champion by that point, relinquishing a rainbow jersey to Ireland’s Stephen Roche in Villach, Austria, a prior month.

1989 universe champion Greg LeMond’s 1990 season

After winning a youth Worlds highway competition in 1979, and with a lust for winning that saw him spin veteran with Renault-Elf-Gitane in 1981 during usually 19 years old, it was roughly unavoidable that LeMond would go on to take a comparison universe title, that he did in 1983, and again in 1989.

LeMond was zero brief of a phenomenon, though his career was to have some-more ups and downs than most. After fulfilling his guarantee by winning a Tour de France in 1986, LeMond’s trail to fable standing was catastrophically derailed when he was shot in a competition collision in a open of 1987, and roughly bled to death.

That a American not usually came behind to veteran cycling though also won a Tour de France again, by 8 seconds from France’s Laurent Fignon in 1989, is certainly one of a biggest quip stories in not usually bike racing though all sports.

LeMond afterwards crowned his 1989 spectacle deteriorate by out-sprinting Dimitri Konyshev, Sean Kelly and Steven Rooks to win the World Championship highway competition in Chambéry, France, that August.

As partial of a new group in 1990 – a Roger Legeay-managed Z outfit – LeMond could have been forgiven for vouchsafing a ‘curse of a rainbow jersey’ take effect, if usually a small bit, carrying achieved fundamentally all there was for him to grasp in a competition by that point.

Instead, LeMond set about perplexing to win his third Tour de France. But he left it late: after finishing second to voluntary time hearing dilettante Thierry Marie on a opening theatre in Futuroscope, an surprising conditions unfolded a subsequent day on theatre 1, whereby a four-man breakaway – done adult of Steve Bauer, Claudio Chiappucci, contingent theatre personality Frans Maassen and LeMond’s Z teammate Ronan Pensec – was authorised to stay away, finishing good over 10 mins forward of a favourites in a categorical peloton.

First Bauer, afterwards Pensec, and afterwards Chiappucci hold a yellow jersey as competition personality that year. But when a Italian valid some-more formidable to change from a competition lead than had been expected, notwithstanding LeMond gradually eating into his advantage over a march of a race, LeMond was left to stamp his management on a competition on a penultimate stage: a 45.5km particular time hearing around Lac de Vassivière, a day before Paris.

While Dutchman Erik Breukink won a stage, and cumulative third altogether in Paris, LeMond overhauled what had by afterwards come down to a five-second necessity to Chiappucci, putting roughly two-and-a-half mins into a Italian to win his third, and last, Tour pretension in Paris a subsequent day by 2:16.

LeMond was, of course, vilified by a French press for carrying committed a ultimate impiety – a Tour feat with no theatre wins – though he stays a final highway competition universe champion to win a Tour.

World champion and fortifying Tour champion Greg LeMond in time hearing mode during a 1990 Tour de France

2005 universe champion Tom Boonen’s 2006 season

Back in a early 2000s, Tom Boonen simply was Peter Sagan. With rockstar strut and good looks, European housewives swooned during each pierce a Belgian made.

Victories during a Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem, as good as Tour de France theatre wins, had put his name on everyone’s lips, and winning a 2005 Worlds highway race in Madrid, Spain, was what everyone, bar maybe second-placed Alejandro Valverde, had hoped for.

Now, clad in a white jersey with a rainbow bands, with, on occasion, relating white bib shorts, Boonen was a white horseman who always did right, and his 2006 deteriorate as universe champion was a bewitched one.

In a spring, he won his second Tour of Flanders in a row, and finished second during Paris-Roubaix. He won a E3 Harelbeke, Scheldeprijs and 4 out of 5 stages, and a altogether title, during a Tour of Qatar.

Boonen also wore a yellow jersey for 4 days during a Tour de France in 2006, as good as winning stages during a Tour of Belgium and a Eneco Tour.

Seemingly, he could do no wrong, with or but a rainbow jersey on his back, nonetheless that repute was after sullied, if usually a little, when he tested certain for heroin – twice, in 2008 and 2009. But he wound his approach behind into fans’, and quite Belgians’, hearts with serve victories during Flanders and Roubaix in 2012, and late during a age of 36 in 2017, with Paris-Roubaix as his final competition as a pro.

2017 universe champion Peter Sagan’s 2018 season

Three times now, Slovakia’s Peter Sagan has stood atop a World Championships podium, contemplating his assembly of deliriously happy fans, everybody calm that a right male had won a day.

Sagan’s had his satisfactory share of frustrations over a years, when he’s complained of being noted out of row during a series of races, quite on stages during a Tour de France. But given 2015, a Worlds highway competition has been his domain, and usually a hilly march during a finish of this month in Innsbruck, Austria, is expected to finish his reign, nonetheless Sagan will still be there, doing his best to squash a climbs.

His 2016 deteriorate – his initial as universe champion, carrying won during a finish of a 2015 deteriorate in Richmond, in a USA – brought success with feat during a Tour of Flanders, during Gent-Wevelgem and a GP Cycliste de Québec, and theatre wins during a Tour of California, a Tour de Suisse and a Tour de France. So, too, did a following season, when he won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and some-more theatre victories during both a Tour de Suisse and a Tour de France, and won in Quebec again.

But his 2018 deteriorate in a rainbow jersey has arguably surfaced a lot, with wins at Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem, stages during a Tour Down Under and a Tour de Suisse, and 3 theatre wins during a Tour de France, where he also won a immature points jersey for a record-equalling sixth time.

Sagan will keep on winning subsequent season, in his Slovakian inhabitant champion’s jersey, if not a rainbow one, and a chances of him never winning a Worlds again are, to be honest, really slim.

If anyone’s definitively disproved a speculation that a rainbow jersey brings bad luck, it’s a now 28-year-old Slovakian.

Rainbow abuse be damned.

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