Thursday, 19 May 2011

Gran Fondo?

All of us sometimes use words from another language to emphasize something or to simply spice things up a bit. We all use various international greetings like ‘aloha’, ‘hola’ and ‘bonjour’. When I was young my mum would yell ‘ESSEN’ (German for eat) to get us to come to the table for dinner. We will use the Spanish word ‘aficionado’ to describe an expert, if someone has made an ass of themselves at a dinner party they have made a ‘faux pas’ (French), and Bob Dylan embodied the ‘zeitgeist’ (German) of the 60’s.

You know where I’m going with this don’t you?! Why does everything we do in cycling have to have a French name? Don’t get me wrong, I really like the French language, I’ve been to France, I loved it and I’d like to go there again and learn the language, but some of it seems over the top to me.

For the sake of tradition, and to respect the history of our beloved sport I really like most of the cycling lexicon. A group of cyclists should always be referred to as a ‘peloton’ and I don’t even mind if we always refer to the coveted yellow jersey as ‘le maillot jaune’, but it seems we now have to refer to everything by its French translation before any credibility is given.

Other sports don’t do this do they? Skiing supposedly began in Sweden and Norway… I can’t recall Bruce McAvaney using much Swedish during the winter Olympics telecasts? I mean do we really need to refer to every mass participation ride as a ‘Gran Fondo’? In October there is the Levi Leipheimer Gran Fondo in California – couldn’t they have just called it ‘Leipheimers Big Ride’ (yeah, creativity was never my strong point). I suppose I should just be thankful that we have the ‘Around the Bay in a Day’ and not the ‘Melbourne Gran Fondo’.

I guess this all relates to the title of this blog – I’ll be damned if I was ever going to spell it Domestique!

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