Brazilians blame yellow team shirt for road race setback

By Jon Dolan

BBC News

The World Road Race Championship starts in Abu Dhabi in September But some Brazilians believe a yellow jersey that the country’s team wore this year is inappropriate for a race which celebrates the sport’s most sartorially ambitious nation. A sad irony The rider in question is Alexandre Vinokourov, a Russian who has never won a Grand Tour or a Tour de France stage. But this year he did win one of the world’s most prestigious races, at the 2016 World Road Race Championship in Innsbruck, Austria. Vinokourov won bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games In the process he helped represent a new trend in road racing. This was a race which had a “petals” or purple carpet on each of the 190 laps of the Alstom track to mark the beginning of each lap’s opening segment. Brazilian fans, however, are still very angry that the tour opted for a handmade yellow t-shirt when they chose to wear their national colours for this event. “At the end of the lap they are wearing this yellow dress and everyone will say: ‘These guys are ready to lose their lives because they want to win and yet, they have to wear this dress to reach the top!’” Rafael Ferrazo, who now lives in Holland but has the same Brazilian name as one of the Estonian athletes who won gold in Innsbruck, told local newspaper Correio Braziliense. Born in São Paulo, Rafael was an enthusiastic spectator in Innsbruck When he attended the 20km time trial, not many people wanted to give him a high five. “Most people were shy, some were critical, some were angry. No-one waved because they thought that a yellow dress wearers wore to a track race was not fashionable in their eyes. It may be fashionable for black-white-and-grey-florsheen or orky-in-skull riders but here at the time it was obviously not very fashionable.” As a consequence, Brazil’s team travelled without a jersey. But at the news conference after the medal ceremony Rafael could be seen clutching his father’s hand in what many thought to be a sad, and painful, gesture of solidarity. “Our team was dressed in a mismatched yellow outfit,” he said. “It was like if your schoolmate is wearing shorts and his (younger) sister is wearing a tiara, and they do not see eye to eye. “I was very upset, I did not want to share a podium with them. People are asking why it is that I am wearing my father’s hand in a gesture of affection.” A fitting symbol Rafael has dedicated his medal to all the athletes who did not win gold, and in a gesture that left some Brazilians wondering why he did not grab a white-and-blue jersey, Rafael replied: “In this country yellow is very important, and purple is more traditional, but in the end, you know, I know that in 20 years we won’t even think about wearing this cloth shirt.” Two decades ago, America’s Mark Renshaw won gold in world championships wearing this dress

Allan McNab, racing commentator

Spontaneous Renshaw wins at world cycling championship World champion Ben Swift has acknowledged that the uniform is a fitting symbol. But he has not changed his attitude towards wearing it. “The purpose of sport is to have fun,” he said. “I have changed my mind and wear the t-shirt that’s there – the one the circuit people have put together. “Because those were the team’s uniforms, so the jersey would be stolen. I guess you’re not allowed to have your t-shirt stolen at the Tour de France.”

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