Monday, July 03, 2006

Lanterne Rouge Bicycle Racing Club

In Arlington, Virginia there is a Lanterne Rouge Bicycle Racing Club. Here is their very personal tribute to the final finisher in the Tour:

"The club is named Lanterne Rouge because of what the Lanterne Rouge means to the cycling community. Loosely translated from French to English, "Lanterne Rouge" means "tail end" or "caboose." In the Tour de France, the Lanterne Rouge is the rider who is in last place in the overall general classification (gc)."

"We identify with the Lanterne Rouge for several reasons. First, it is a tongue-in-cheek reflection of our place in the overall world cycling peloton. Our name says, "Hey! w admit that we are a mostly Cat. 4/5 bike racers, and we wish we were good enough to finish last in the Tour de France!" Not exactly a rationale for copping a tude, eh?"

"More importantly, the Lanterne Rouge is a meaningful symbol of style, determination, grit,\ dedication, and teamwork. While other riders decide to pack it in, the Lanterne Rouge struggles alone up the Alps and Pyrenees. Why? Perhaps because just finishing the grueling Tour is an accomplishment in itself. Perhaps because later in the Tour, the Lanterne Rouge may be in a position to help his team leader. Perhaps because quitting just isn’t an option. So while there is glory in wearing the maillot jaune and winning the Tour de France, there is also honor in being the Lanterne Rouge when Le Tour rolls around the Champs-Elysée in Paris."

"In a nutshell, we are not all that concerned about whether we we suck (although it's nice to not suck) as long as we suck with style, determination, grit, dedication, and teamwork."

"That's how we train together. That's how we race together. And that's how we play together. In this way, everybody who rides consistently with the club ends up improving. That, in our view, is cause for a two-armed salute."

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