Whilst many other sports award medals, cycling is notable for its presentation of Jerseys, which differentiate the race leader from the pack (although the Tour de France actually used an armband to begin with) and allow a rider to build up a wardrobe of their wins to be displayed. However, the races also present trophies, but these are oft so overshadowed by the jersey, that no one ever really bothers with them. Even pro riders admit to not showing off their trophies, aside from one or two of the more special ones. So here’s a collection of the trophies you get for winning the biggest bicycle races in the world for you to enjoy. Oh, and if you want a challenge, try and figure out who the winner of the trophy pictured is. There’s no prize but pride…
The Grand Tours
Tour de France
Winning the Tour not only gets you immortalised in the history books, unless you’re Floyd Landis that is, in which case you get removed, but it also gets you this fetching vase/bowl hybrid. Again, unless you’re Landis, who supposedly smashed his to bits. Whether Messrs Pereiro and Schleck have got one since they won their 2006 and 2010 Tours is unknown. But at least they have the jersey. The bowl does seem however to be the most disregarded sports trophy in existence, as everyone just wants the jersey.
The ‘never ending trophy’ is very Italian – it’s not only a work of art, it’s also extremely practical, as with the name of the winner added every year, it can just keep growing forever. Whether they’ll actually persist with it for another 100 years is another story, but it’s perhaps the most gorgeous looking trophy you can get, which would explain why it’s the one Grand Tour trophy the winners kiss, whilst the others are just ignored.
Vuelta A Espana
You get the impression they forgot they needed a trophy and popped round to the local pet shop and picked up a Goldfish bowl. Whatever this is, it’s not exactly inspiring – people would have to ask what it was for, whilst the Giro trophy is fairly well known, and if you’re a Tour winner, you’ll have the Jersey out.
Winning a classic doesn’t get you a jersey, but the real reward is again to simply be noted in the history books – you’ll forever be a winner of one of the Monuments, and can introduce yourself as a Monument winner and so on. You do get a trophy as well though, incase anyone needs reminding of your no doubt much published triumph…
Milan San-Remo have, very unhelpfully for this feature, changed their trophy basically every one of the last few years. They used to just give a great sprouting vase trophy, but then changed to a more obvious glassy one for the 100th edition. 2011 then featured a piece of laser cut glass, before 2012 gave a statuette. Heavens knows what they’ll give next year, but it seems every winner will be getting a different trophy.
Tour of Flanders
The Tour of Flanders has also changed their trophy, but only in a sublte manner. The trophy is always a metal sculpted cyclist – only the design changes every year. It is still undeniably the same trophy however.
Ah, the Roubaix cobblestone. Conquer the pave and you get to keep a bit of it, in one of the most unique and basic trophies there is. Riders admit that they only display their Roubaix trophy rather then other wins because of the sheer weight of history and pain behind it, and you have to admit it is strikingly effective as an emblem of a riders triumph. You can even win your own – just ride the 130mile Paris-Roubaix Cyclo and you get a miniature version. My own cobble from the event is among my most prized possessions!
Here begins the chronicle of why ASO need a new trophy designer. By the end, you’ll see why. Liege has recently favuored a behemoth of a cup for its champions, but has in the past featured what will readily become apparent is ASO’s ‘go to’ trophy design – a bog standard Cassetter mounted on a 5 spoked golden wheel. Looks alright though, you’ll argue – unless, like Bradley Wiggins, you’ve collected about 10 of them this year because they use them for every single race.
Tour of Lombardy
Lombardy has a lovely trophy, a mixture of the obvious (the wheel) and the arty (the centre), although quite what you’re meant to do with it is uncertain – it doesnt have a stand unless they provide one, so will just roll away, and it would look like a novelty clock if it was hung on a nail on the wall? We should ask Oliver Zaugg – its his only trophy as its his only pro win.
E3 grows in stature every year, with its combination of testing cobbled route and star riders who test their form on it making it a good indicator of success in the bigger events. But their trophy looks like it was made by me, doing L6th Design and Technology and being overjoyed at the novelty of a laser cutter. Tom Boonen has 5 of these things. I wonder what he does with them?
Laser cut glass is obviously a big thing for cycling trophy manufacturers, and Ghent Whevelgem have given this bit out for a few years now. It’s probably one of the better ones, even if it does have ‘UCI PROTOUR’ blazing out from it.
No prizes for guessing the winner of this one. The arty, spindly trophy of the former Het Volk is the one cobbled classic Tom Boonen doesn’t have, although he could always argue he’d have won in 2004 when snow cancelled the race, looks a bit like a over elaborate candle holder, but its, er, the one candle holder Tom really, really wants. I’ll admit that was an awful analogy.
Amstel Gold Race
By now you’ll be noticing a trend – trophies are usually representations of a bike, a rider, or a wheel. Amstel Gold is not different, although the riders do usually get a huge tube of Amstel Beer to drink on the podium as well, if not a pint of Amstel’s finest.
Conquer the Wallone Arrow and you get, yep, you guessed it, one of ASO’s beloved cassettes. Rubbish.
Ah ha, some originality. Not only do winners of the hilly San-Sebastian classic get a odd trophy resembling polished scrap metal, but they get a Basque beret, which allows hours of amusement on the podium, if not for the sponsors who usually force riders to wear their caps and shades on the podium.
Probably the worst of them all – a chainring mounted on some plastic. This event is still pretty young however, so hopefully it can change to something a bit more vibrant.
I’ll be honest, I struggled with this one. To find a picture of the trophy, that is. This odd vase was the best I could manage. Almost as poor an effort as whoever designed the trophy, which looks like it belongs in a glass blowing museum, or as one of those things your gran keeps on her mantlepiece.
Really ASO, can you REALLY not think of an original trophy for these races?!
The Stage Races
Stage races will eventually give you a jersey for winning – you get a yellow one for Paris Nice, although that used to be white, a yellow one with a blue stripe for the Dauphine, a blue one for Tirenno Adriatico, A yellow one for…well, everything else really. But you also get some again not exactly inspiring trophies.
Yep, it’s ASO again. *sigh*
Now this is more like it. Win the race of the Two seas (Tyrrhenian and Adriatic) and you get this epic Poseidon, God of the Sea trident with which to smite your adversaries. Clearly one of the best trophies in cycling.
Tour of the Basque Country
Like San Sebastian, you get a beret. Fetching.
Tour of California
Win the Tour of California and not only do you get your name forever associated with it’s, ahem, illustrious roster of victors such as Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer and Michael Rodgers, but you also get this trophy topped with a Californian bear. Don’t be fooled by the cutesy, free toy look of it though – it’s about the size of your head.
Tour of Romandie
One of the few trophies that obviously tells people what you’ve won, the Tour of Romandie’s polished plate is quite nice, I think, although it does look like one of those signs you attach to your house with the number on it.
Criterium du Dauphine
This is another ASO event, so you knew what to expect. Even photographers are bored of it, hence the awful picture.
Tour de Suisse
That’s more like it, a good old laser cut piece of glass. Original lot, arent they cycling trophy makers!?
The Best of the Rest
Of course, there are other efforts – stage wins for instance, but most of these are in the form of more little men on bikes, or in the case of the Tour, more laser cut sponsor emblazoned bits of glass. There are some notable exceptions however:
From left: Philippe Gilbert got this sword for being first into Toldeo at the 2010 Vuelta, Stefano Garzelli got crowned for his time up the Plan de Corones time trial, whilst winners of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne are ‘rewarded’ with a stuffed donkey. You get a giant bar of chocolate at the Tour of Denmark though, and a huge Salami at the Tour of Austria. The biggest trophy award has to go the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon’s towering effort however, although loaning Alberto Contador a St. Bernard for a day after winning at Verbier in 2009 probably gives it a run for its money weight wise.