If you haven’t seen it already, then the recent interview with Mario Cipollini on cyclingnews.com is a superb read. The Italian sprinter may have retired from the bunch but his mouth is still in fine form, outrageous quotes flow with ease. In one interview ‘Super Mario’ supplies more memorable quotes than entire pro teams manage during the course of a season.
But it’s worth noting that the interview was with French daily sports newspaper L’Equipe (pronounce it “lay-keep” if it helps) and not cyclingnews.com. In particular, the interview was conducted by L’Equipe’s Philippe Brunel. Obviously reporters bring you stories, sometimes it’s risky when a journalist becomes part of a story. But The Inner Ring sometimes strays in strange corners of the sport and the press room is one such place. It’s here that Brunel is worth mentioning.
Brunel is L’Equipe’s chief cycling writer and editor of the cycling pages. As such this places him right at the top of the press-pack pecking order, up with La Gazzetta Dello Sport’s Pier Bergonzi. Like Bergonzi, he has written a book about Marco Pantani. But Brunel stands out amongst the clack-clack of journalists typing their pieces in the salle de presse.
As you can see, Brunel is well turned out. France might be a nation celebrated for its style but the reality is that few, especially men, think much about what to wear. But Brunel is different. His trademark look is the long hair and black clothing. A tight designer T-shirt in July, perhaps accompanied with a tailored jacket. He always looks like he’s dressed for a night out in an exclusive Parisian bar rather than the factory-floor style press room. As such he is one of the most recognisable members of the press corps. Perhaps it is inevitable that combining him with Cipollini produces some great quotes?