It’s fair to say that Sep Vanmarcke, the Belgian one-day specialist, is a big bloke.
At 6ft 3inches (that’s 1 metre 90, metric fans) he is among the most conspicuous cyclists in the pro peloton.
When all the big teams head off to that volcano on Tenerife, pre-season, for the annual inter-team hide-and-seek championships (or, as they call it…ahem, “altitude training”), his inability to fold himself into even the most roomy of hiding places is the stuff of legend.
Mark Cavendish is also bad, I hear, but mainly because once he’s found a decent hiding place his OCD kicks in and he has to tidy it. The sound of the hoover invariably gives him away.
Fortunately, Sep isn’t too bothered about winning at hide-and-seek. He prefers to put all his energy into winning bike races. Or attempting to, at least.
But, implausibly, for 2018 it looks like his own team have scuppered his chances.
You may have seen him at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (you could hardly miss him) attempting to seize the moment and catch the competition unawares with a sneaky attack.
As if his six-foot three frame wasn’t enough of a giveaway, those people at EF Education First-Drapac (catchy…) responsible for signing off team kit design have decided to clad him in white and fluorescent green, with Barbie pink shoulders and a matching helmet atop his bonce.Embed from Getty Images
Not only did his challengers see the attacks coming, the current inhabitants of the International Space Station found themselves distracted from their important scientific work by the sight of Sep, and his big pink head, crushing a massive gear in vain.
Just so you know: I happen to think it’s a cool kit.
Much of the cycling press have lazily dubbed it a “Marmite” kit, presumably because after a couple of rides the technical fabrics start to smell a bit “yeasty.”
Or, I suppose, they might be saying you’ll either love it or loathe it.
It’s bold, it’s striking, and I bet Taylor Phinney bloody loves it!
But for Sep Vanmarcke, the chances of him slipping away, unseen, off the front of a big one-day race are looking slim. They’re about the same as the chances of Valverde, Landa and Quintana forming a harmonious and symbiotic team dynamic at Movistar.
So, not even slim.
More like none.
My sources tell me the beige-camo version is already in development for 2019.