Get On Yer Derny Bike
Sometimes it would be nice if the camera did lie: a podgy man in ill-fitting lycra riding a camp pink pushbike leads the way against a troop of musclebound cycling demons, honed to Spartan specifications, eyes fixed on the unlikely outrunner.
Sadly this is not some heroic underdog defying his deficiencies in physique, technique and equipment. He is a pacer and this is the keirin.
While the field waits patiently like traffic behind a tractor on a country lane, and a small girl in Tokyo weeps over her stolen bike, the pacer continues in his stolid way until the pack get the nod to zoom past and the fun begins.
His stately posture may be reminiscent of a Victorian primary schoolteacher but he is actually attempting to create a human windbreak for the cyclists to slipstream behind. Which would also explain the portly frame.
You may recognise the vision in white that is poised two behind the derny bike. The one that looks like a polar bear on a bicycle. Of course that is Sir Chris Hoy, the Knightrider himself, who exploded to Olympic keirin gold in Beijing through the sheer force of his gigantic thighs.
Unfortunately Hoy crashed out of this particular World Cup race in Copenhagen. I hope that this mishap does not signal the beginning of a decline for Hoy that might seem natural after the unprecedented glory of last summer. It would be a familiar story, having the witness the demise of the England rugger team after the 2003 World Cup victory and gradual deterioration of English cricket after winning back the Ashes in 2005.
Let’s pray that he returns to winning ways soon because I don’t think I could stomach the potentially tedious articles about the 2008 goldrush only serving to paper over the cracks of endemic and systematic failings in Chris Hoy. Or the tiresome moaning that not enough funds are going into grass roots Hoy.