Trophies and what to do with them

Evans Tirrenno

There’s an impressive diversity of silverware and commemorative trophies awarded to the winners of bike races. Cadel Evans picked up what looks to be the largest item of the year. It’s a trident, the symbol of greco-roman sea gods and awarded to the winner of Tirren0-Adriatico, the “race of two seas”. It makes you wonder what he’ll do with it, indeed whether he managed to fit it in the team car.

Normally you get something more modest but still prestigious. Having won Milan-Sanremo, Matthew Goss gets something that fits more easily into the trophy cabinet and it’s ok, aesthetically. It’s not always so, Tour de France stage winners get a block of perspex which, for me, doesn’t quite capture the significance of their win, it’s a tribute to the sponsor, not the sport.

Indeed sometimes the trophy is pretty cheap. Win a smaller race and the shiny thing glinting in the flash photography during the podium ceremony can be made of plastic. Obviously nobody races for the trophy but it’s a way to remember the moment. Plastic or silver, gold or porcelain, the whole point here is really one of exclusivity, we’d all like to have a shelf racked with these things but only one rider goes home with the souvenir. And perhaps the most identifiable trophy in cycling is a block of stone mounted on a square piece of wood.

Less is more

These trophies end up in all sorts of places. Whilst you might think “wow” and dream of displaying these things at home for all who visit, don’t forget the rider in question has probably been winning races since their mid-teens. Even your humble domestique was probably champion in the amateur ranks with many trophies to their name. As a result these things are almost an inconvenience. Some riders have fan clubs and other gladly unload these items on their local café.

Romain Sicard
Basque in glory: Romain Sicard's bedroom

Some riders do keep them at home. Romain Sicard stocks them in his bedroom. FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot does the same too, walls covered with leaders jerseys from the pro and amateur races alike. But many dump them out of sight, for example Bjarne Riis stocked his yellow jerseys in a cardboard box in his garage. After all, there comes a point where a couple of trophies are great but 200 of them accumulated during a career becomes a storage headache.

17 thoughts on “Trophies and what to do with them”

  1. Erik Zabel used to have a seperate apartment for his TdF Pinarellos on which he won his green jersies (he had a green Prince at one years race) and all his trophies. There were a lot!

  2. Both David Millar (in 2009) and Philippe Gilbert (last year) got swords when they won stages in the Vuelta, in Toledo. My inner child wanted to see a duel between them, and perhaps we now can ad Cadel Evans.

  3. mark rushton: I’ve never been a giant Zabel fan but I really like his mini-museum. He does seem to care about the bikes he’s used and the races he won. I like this.

    Dennis: I’ve seen shields as trophies too. There’s now enough for a gladiator contest. Plus we could through in a Crédit Lyonnais lion too.

  4. in tirreno adriatico we saw also cadel handling with a bit of embarrassment, probably the most common feeling on the podium celebration, as the oraganization member, I think an italian politician, tried explain what award they give him
    ,an antique etruscan or roman (or fake one, I hope ) little amphora.
    the best prize remain a for me a big nest of local foods (a big ham, a mozzarella stock, a huge piece of formaggio grana,a bottle of fine wine) the likes that don’t set storage problems and probably you can easilyy remember for long times.

  5. Most trophies just lay around and once in a while entice old memories to the fore. For Floyd Landis however it was a millstone that he eventually smashed in his hallway. Even for machos the memories can be strong; paper, wood, siver, or stone. . . .

  6. I think the real question is who wouldn’t want a massive gold trident? Maybe the TdF should step up their game and have a diamond mace as their trophy.

  7. gilbert: me too, I like the local produce.

    benDE: yes, I’d heard that. It’s sad to read but you can see all the trouble it brought him.

    MW: I like the blue porcelain. Would make a good fruitbowl.

    Visko: that’s special but ugly. Like Nick suggests you can win real animals in races too. It’s not uncommon to win a cow, although less common these days.

  8. Livestock, a trident, and that silly Basque hat that Chris Horner was photographed in–all worn together–would make a terrific Halloween costume.

  9. Then there’s the solution invented by Floyd Landis for eliminating storage of the Tour de France chalice:

    “Mr. Landis said he walked upstairs to find his Tour de France trophy. With the iconic purple chalice in hand, he walked onto the balcony overlooking his driveway, hoisted the trophy over his head and threw it as hard as he could. It hit the pavement and shattered into hundreds of pieces.”

  10. Going back to the amateur levels, I was on holiday in France near Beaune in 1997. I was riding and came across a small rural house, with all sorts of shoes and bike clothes hanging in a shed. I stopped and said hello. The daughter was still a junior, but the trophy cabinet was full, as was their dining room table.

  11. Yet another rediculous trophy at the 1st stage of 3 day of de Panne – looks like the race organiser forgot he had to present something to the winner, so stole his kids design project…and I’m not sure quite what to make of the bare-legged grey-haired model perched on the front of the thing.

    Worth all that effort in the break, Andre? Good thing the result won’t have a picture of the trophy in your palmares!

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