A Yellow Englishman

July 23, 2012

An Englishman draped almost entirely in bright yellow is making his way down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and I am on the edge of my seat egging him on even though I am watching a video of this event hours later than it actually happened. I am a forty year immigrant into the US and so a foreigner in both my home and adopted countries. But yesterday I did feel the old ties pulling at my heart. An Englishman with the almost too jokey theatrical name of Wiggins is winning the Tour De France. A cycle race. My sport. My passion. He is supported in this by another jokey name rider, Anglo-Kenyan, Froome, amongst his team of world class riders. Indeed Froome came second, only a few minutes slower than Wiggins over nearly three thousand miles of cycling. In the ninety nine years of its history no Englishman has won the race. Now and then a lone exception has won a stage, worn the yellow jersey for a day or two, but never ever won the whole race. And now two of them stood shoulder to shoulder on the podium in Paris. Next year for the centenary edition of this French creation an Englishman will wear the number one on his race jersey. What does this, what can this mean? A Renaissance of British race cycling? Better bike paths for UK riders? Velodromes in provincial cities? I don’t know. But for a while I was a small nationalist, and postponed my series of blogs on the horrors of extreme nationalism for a while. Just a while.

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