Preliminary note : I'm very grateful to all the sources of these pictures. Some of them are great photos taken by hard working people and were published in the daily cycling sources that we all commonly read, including Cycling News, Graham Watson's site, Pez Cycling etc. So, thank you!
Looking For A Victory Salute? Hit CTRL+F and type it in to go directly to that section.
To all those who tried, in vain, to salute...they tried..
Few things deliver that perfect finishing touch to an election, speech, or race campaign as the simple old victory salute. I don't know when it started. We are not exactly sure when man had nothing to show at that knife's edge of a moment when he had found he had something to his credit. It has probably been here as long as he discovered that rubbing flint together made fire that lightened up his dark life. Ask the anthropologists, non lo so [I don't know].
Victory salutes can make or break the world.
It can also make you look like a fool while you break the world.
The range of victory salutes are far and wide. Its amazing that in the hopes of etching a place forever in the minds of the Tifosi and being in the limelight at that defining moment of victory has made many folks pretty creative with a perfect combination of grace (or clumsiness), the dexterity of two limbs and 10 fingers, and two wheels and a truss known as the bicycle.
With valuable help from partner in crime, the SlowRoll cycling blog (only fags ride bikes), let's review the record books for a thorough treatise on the Victory Salute.
Before we even go onto the meat of this post, lets explore what is NOT a victory salute.
1) Just pull up your shorts before making any moves. Unfortunately, this guy got shot from the back instead of the front. Great. Now we have a picture of his butt. Where is the salute, monsieur?!
2) Are you a) a monkey b) a bike racer or c) both? Victory is no excuse to pull off a shoddy one.
3) This is not the way to salute. Christ! A victory salute in cycling is serious business. Getting that hard earned publicity can make or break a figure from your paycheck. A victory salute is not meant to help you climb into the hall of fame of comedy.
See, there is an art in it. Its all about containing your feelings for the right moment. Amateurs can take it too soon or too late. Either can lead to disgrace. A victory salute at the beginning of the race is certainly the extreme (I've done that on a few occasions), and one 5 minutes after crossing the finish line with a bland face not knowing the you did cross the finish line is at the other end of the spectrum. In between are those painful bunch sprints where you're far more involved at edging past your opponent than thinking about your victory salute!
The picture above is an example by which you can prevent this latter scenario, by avoiding a bunch sprint altogether. Bite hard into your tongue, throw a universal amount of push onto the tarmac, shelling out 2000 watts into those poor pedals for 30-60 seconds. No train, no water bottle, no finish line, forget everything your science teacher told you about the ills of high intensity fatigue. Just DO IT!!
When the time limit is over, relax and deliver a questioning look as you glance behind the rest of the pack. "Where is everyone?!"
Having done that, you may resort to any of the below given victory salutes.
Let us begin anyway...
You can't go wrong with the "One Armed Salute". It works well in tight finishes and has a gallant look about it. Merckx pulled this off flawlessly and Miguel Indurain made it his trademark in the 1990's. [Slow Your Roll]
What happens when that sprint finish will put the best cameras to shame? Leave no tables unturned. It may just happen that you might have won.
Throw a salute anyway, but keep it half way down in the air. This works well with opponents who don't have time for a victory salute, and fans and sponsors who just want to see the race and don't bother to look at the overall standings of the day. What ends up happening is that you earn your fan base even though you lost, and you'll look pretty good in the media as well.
A mountain top finish, some 4 digits of feet above sea level, is the perfect place to play this card. It acts as a metaphor of soaring into greatness. Feel the lightness of victory in thin mountain air and show your immortality.
The "Christ" is a variant of this salute.
When pacing the gradient with a teammate, a confirmatory salute can be thrown out as well for the one who crosses first.
"Angel" is a fine choice for young riders. It serves as a metaphor for the ascent to the ranks of greatness. Note the confirmatory salute of Piepoli here. If you're close to a winning teammate at the finish, there's no rule that says you can't enjoy some of that victory pie as well. Not only does it showcase the strength of team unity, it also displays the unselfish character of a noble domestique. Bravo! [Slow Your Roll]
It is a simple salute, with a clenched fist, like as if you have caught the race with its horns and there is no running back. No mention is made of the pain gone through while doing so, and an affirming, honest and indeed charismatic smile is thrown for the cameras.
This salute is carefully executed a few meters away from the finish line, STRICTLY in the aero position. A glance back at the time readout can be combined with the salute. What is worse than throwing a haphazard salute without confirming your win?
"Piss Off" probably isn't what you'll want to start your racing career with, but for old dudes that don't give a s***, it's a great way to publicly rub salt into your detractor's wounds. Journalists on your case? Team didn't renew your contract? **** em'! Let your actions speak louder than any words possibly could. [Slow Your Roll]
If the amplitude of a victory salute is only limited by the view angle of the newspaper man's camera, a simple understanding will be reached by that racer and the camera man before the race, wherein something like this will be said :
"Dude, I want it limited, tight you understand?... keep it small. 300 x 420 pixels. This has to be sent via email to my boss..."
The result, will be something like this.
Show your reverence to the Lord. Your religiosity will be admired. Complement this by drawing a cross before the race and it will make heaven proud.
The bravest victories come also with extreme exhaustion. At this point, your legs will be incapicated by massive, leg amputating cramps. As you cross the finish line with this most spectacular display of guts and glory, there's only one way to show off your biceps, while at the same time opening up the divine channels of communication for a 3 second, one to one talk with your maker. If you're confused on how to express your gratitude to Him, use any of the following.
Anglican : "Thank God!". Among the crowd who cheers you on, you'll find your childhood fan, the scandalous church minister, and a couple of Deacons holding offertory plates, waiting in anticipation for your generosity.
Catholic Spanish : "Gracias a Dios!" (Note : NOT to be mistaken with the steamy porn scenes from Thalia's song. This is the holy version of it.) At this point, you may start reciting the Nicene Creed. But like all folks, the One above is a busy one. And photographers don't have all day to keep standing there under sun. So keep the word limit down, and get your act done quick.
Devout Muslim : "Allahu Akbar!".
Due to the post 9/11 world we're in now, make sure your shave your beard and not carry any rucksacks on your back, even if its your hydration bag.
Unwavering Hindu : "Jai Shri Krishna!". Bring a flute to play along.
Amazonian Tribesman : "Oooga magaa oooga."
If you're a stupid alien hugging Scientologist, dedicate your offerings to the evil alien warlord Xenu. (Btw, I think Darth Vader is a much better choice of a god for you. As a bonus, he's also a celebrity!)
Here's the complete sequence of the Gracias a Dios :
11. The QUE SERA SERA
You are the racer that somehow goes with the race's flow, believing that you all you have to do it give your best and what will be will indeed be. If its meant for you, the victory will simply be your life's biggest surprise.
If you're a die hard fan of who is known as the "Italian Stallion", make it known at the finish line.
The person behind, in this case, exercises the LOSER'S VARIANT of the ARROGANT PISS OFF.
"Rocky Balboa" is a popular classic that is also a favorite of marketers around the world. It paints images of goals achieved, opponents vanquished, and victory attained. This salute strips the rider to the bare emotional essentials. It's a triumph of spirit. Nothing sells crap better than that. [Slow Your Roll]
Emphasize the sub 500 gram of your super aero front wheel and showcase your bike handling skills with a nicely done wheelie. This will not only turn heads but if you're a bachelor, will increase your nuptial chances by 2 or 3%.
While victorious ones can do this in front of the pack, (comma)
who says victory salutes can only be administered when you're at the front clinching victory?
If you've never won a race, you always end up seeing other's butts and you can't be a sport any longer, vent your frustration with this one in a million gesture. The rider will throw his bike, and run wildly after the pack, chanting death to the winner.
Are you a running man at the back?
Let's face it. Nothing looks more cooler than slicing through the wind, across the finish line like the best known superhero in the world. Of course, Superman had a special chemical "aura" around his suit that helped him fly. But do not mistake the abilities of your mundane, more worldly Lycra costume. Stretching far beyond its limits could make it tear apart from the rear which will turn you from what was previously superman to a mere Nakedman. Moreover, do not attempt this in a pack choke full of riders. You'll be shoving your feet into their mouths. We imagine the last thing any hungry, tired rider in the back wants to know after 100 miles of racing is how the fossilised chewing gum you stepped on in the morning tastes.
The "V" has a storied history and is probably the most common salute. And why not? It's brash without being arrogant and shows sponsor's logos well. This is without doubt the textbook salute. If you can't think of anything, this will surely suffice. [Slow Your Roll]
Moral : DO NOT COPY other's copywrited victory salutes. The rule is also that you cannot show anything thats in the same genre as the other's. For example, machine gun and bow and arrow are both ARMAMENTS!
There's only one great digitus famus. That is Richard Virenque's one finger kiss salute.
While it may be shrouded in peculiarity, it is certainly no mystery. Legend has it that Virenque lost a finger in a logging accident with his dad. Through saving the paychecks he received through two or three seasons, he had transplanted a brand new 3K weaved, full carbon fiber index digit for the lost one. Virenque was a happier man, and considerably lighter in weight after the surgery. Hence, his closeness and admiration for all the weird finger kissing.
Losers are of all kinds in the peleton. But some don't ride bikes, they ride motorcycles with camera crew. If you're a loser, and another loser comes erratically in the way, unload the digitus infamus with full force.
Danilo is often several bike lengths away from his chasers when he resorts to this salute. He has enough time to look back at the slower horses, raise an arm in the air and catch his victory with his imaginary rope, all in perfect slowmotion for your digital tastes. Due to the scarcity of pictures on the web I cannot show you every sequence.
"Cowboy" is a celebration best served with a sizeable lead over the peloton. It's a pretty ballsy move that not only shows just how much energy you had left, but how far ahead you were of the pathetic losers behind you. This salute is also extremely effective on video. [Slow Your Roll]
Do this also if you have just humiliated the most ridiculous climber in the world.
21. The COURT RULER
Say that you're an individual at rifts with the long arm of the law. But you also happen to be a dedicated bicycle racer. If a court ruled out a case of speeding violation or possible drug abuse in in the past in your favor on the day you actually win a bike race, it is to be duly celebrated with the court ruler salute.
The salute is extending your warm appreciation for the old civil servant sitting in the court of law, an appreciation that's nothing more but an expression of gratitude for saving your helpless ass. Just a flick of a wave of one hand is more than sufficient. Using both hands leads to power wastage. Unnecessary celebrations can also arouse suspicion, and your court case could potentially be further visited by other judges in the country since the law system strictly obeys Murphy's Law at all costs in order to squeeze every remaining dime out of your pocket.
Important Note : If you're court martialled, many people would tell you to save your face and remain at home. But cycling experts recommend that you appear to the race and win it at all costs. The race money should then be dedicated as bribery to that certain law official to twist around the outcomes of your wonderful actions.
"Footloose" is a great way to showcase your sense of humor and handling skills. It emotes the feel good vibe of Kevin Bacon that is both contagious and unexpected. As all professional handlers know, to be seen goofing around on the bike is an effective way of proving that you aren't just a frankensteinian winning machine, but a great personality that folks would love to go drinking with. A great side effect of this is that the drinks will be on them. [Slow Your Roll]
If your mind is more consumed with the hot girls cheering for you near the fence, perhaps you can make it obvious that you are sexually available.
However, it can get out of hand. UCI officials were informed about the apparent obscenity of this salute - signaling to mammary glands while spreading the lower limbs far apart, revealing package.
After famous racer Tom Bean had a heated argument with his girlfriend over this very subject, he decided to leave the bad boy image for more decency. Note closed legs in more recent of his races.
We hear that his lady love has gotten back in his life again. Good for you, Tom Bean!
Liar Liar is a special victory salute that combines the finesse of winning a classic race over and over again until people get bored out of their f***ing minds, and the finesse of blatant lying. As any adult knows, telling a good lie makes you feel oh so good at the end of the day. In fact, in front of cameras, it takes the gold. In this moment of confusion, when fans are so bored and expect you to win even blind folded, you can snatch some of that 'extra' excitement by outright lying.
In this example, a prominent racer reigned king in the Hell of The North 3 times in a row, but he takes a mundane figure as 3, and multiplies it by 2 to double it to six! Micheal Andrews, a PR specialist who works for a bicycling magazine, tells us that doubling your victories is optimal and works well with sponsors and the public at large. This is best done by using both hands to coax the lie to the audience. Won twice? No problem. Double it to four. Won 5 times? Good. But you can make it better. Make it 10 by signaling 5 on both hands. Take note not to try if you're winning the race for the first time. Fans do not know you, you are still a stranger to them, and if you lie without a mutual relationship, they will toss their beers aside, stampede themselves out of their bleacher seats, and into the velodrome to spank your silly ass blue until you cry for your coach.
But few come even remotely close to Carlos Sastre's move. The gesture shows how tough one can be, inserting a pacifier into one's mouth at the top of a climb, constricting one's breathing after 2 or 3 hours in the anaerobic zone.
Its nice to watch an actual video of this execution. So check out the video below and forward to 7:16 mins.
Weight weenies take note, the weight of the prop might slow your climbing by .001 mph. If this matters, do not attempt it.
There are also other variations to this salute. Winners may start relentessly sucking their thumbs like Robbie Mcewen in some past Tours, or rocking a baby like Moreau has done (Paris Nice 2007?). Ambiguity arises when one starts sucking thumbs. It can mean several things you know. A proper execution can do good to your career.
A properly done thumb suck can also signal a weakling destroying the opposition and boy, that hurts for the ones with the powerful legs. Its a classic remake of the Goliath vs David story at the finish line.
Are the legs hurting? Wondering if there's a better career out there? Too grateful to the coach? Girlfriend left you? Or did some drunken Tifosi taunt you up that climb? Fear not. There's a victory salute for all emotions. Just bring out the inner child in you and cry like a baby, rubbing teary cheeks off with both hands while simultaneously showcasing the victory.
"Cyrano" is a surefire way to the hearts of the elusively fickle female fan. Who wouldn't want to catch a kiss thrown by a champion as he nonchalantly rolls across the finish line? I know I would. [Slow Your Roll]
"Working Man" is humility in a golden wrapper. This is another fan favorite because of its inspirational overtones. Facial expression is crucial, it should say "Boy, that was hard. Look, I can barely extend these heavy arms". It makes the slowpokes and dreamers feel that they too can be champions. Pull this off and you may well achieve the status of "people's champion". [Slow Your Roll]
Perhaps this one is appropriate for a domestique?
Throwing your hands up on a "V", give your lungs a final boost of VO2 max at the finish line, with a lion's roar, so loud it is said to intimidate reporters so that racers can make a peaceful getaway to the team van to escape doping questions.
If you're in such a situation, make sure you practice the roar to perfection. The roar should be strictly above 80-90 decibels. The last thing you want to spoil your hard earned victory with is to show a 170 pound sculpted beast making a fool of himself by chirping out like Tweety from Disney Land.
While Shleck tried to emulate this,
he ended up with this instead...
As someone aptly said on RoadBikeReview, Scheck looks like an 8 year old bully who just owned someone.
I mean its not so bad. This may work well if you want to show off your 3% body fat and you are envious of other "chickens" in the race. I'm the chicken! "Where's your chicken face, show me your chicken face!"
Poke another pin of embarrassment deep into your opponent with the nonchalant victory salute. A Flahute thinks the Tour de France is just a bunch of long training rides.
This might really get to your rival's head. Exchange a glance with him and say something like :
'Baah, it was nothing, I feel a tingle in the legs that's all. More worried about that sun tan, jeez will you look at that? You know, those Alps are getting flatter by the day. Think I'll believe global warming."
Do not attempt this with inexperience to show off. You opponent will make sure you not only lose on the climbs in front of your wannabe Spanish fans, he'll also make sure you bonk, throw up and have fits on the bike.
Take note that you don't have to stress out and worry too much about how to show flahuteness. In the following image, the best sprinter in the world wins the stage and then wipes off the injured fly that was sticking on his funny glasses all that time. Well, before wiping it of, he actually shows the fly its last images before death - that of the finish line.
This is the R.I.P Fly variant of The Flahute and must be practiced with live samples of flies. Visit a biology store near you.
If you were meant to win the race but your teammate stole it in the end, you can also easily show your annoyance with a confirmatory. You can disguise this as a praise, but inside, just grit your teeth hard and vow revenge. In front of cameras, this looks like a positive confirmatory and people will only admire you more.
The chances of a 1,2 and 3 position are highly odd, but if lady luck is good to your team, instruct everyone to go at once.
And just when you think the odds couldn't get odder, here's a 1-2 from the same team, crossing the line at the same time. Confirmatory+1-2 win = GOLD! (Ok, I dont know about that first guy but whatever...)
Francesco Chicchi is often preoccupied with fantasies of being an airplane at the finish line. We don't blame him. He has the serious horsepower of a 4 engine Boeing jet packed into a pair of thighs.
Select this salute if you have the capabilities of this fine Italian sprinter.But pay attention. The salute itself is composed of a twosome combo. There is the approaching salute as you near the finish line. Then there's the final touchdown salute.All this megaton horsepower needs to brake, and that's not easy. The twosome move will give ample warning to cameramen, organizers and fans : Get the F**K OUT OF MY RUNWAY!
40. The MISCALLER
So you dropped your cell phone into your jersey before the race thinking that it'd help you call rescue when your tire is pinch flatted. But every other km in the race, the damn phone is ringing and when you fish into the jersey, get the phone and say 'hello', you hear the Rick Roll song. Ticked off so much by several prankcalls, your blood curdling anger somehow transforms into a race win while your rivals are stumped by your new found energy. As you cross the line in absolute ignorance of your rivals surprised and beaten faces, you answer that final miss call once more and tell them, "I have caller ID bi***. And you are now f****."
Shrunken team kit?
Shammy sticking out of your bottom like a poorly designed parachute?
Forgot noticing the washing instructions mentioned on the jersey and dropped it in boiling hot water in the washing machine?
Felt yourself doing Michael Jackson moves all day to get comfortable in size petite?
Watch Voeckler display dissatisfaction with the fit of his clothes on crossing the line. This is how its done.
42. The TRIUMPHANT SWORDSMAN
Hands down, Ryan Trebon's execution is among the coolest salutes ever. It easily wins the Cozy Beehive award for best victory salute!
There are many many other types of salutes and this post doesn't have it all nailed down, but somehow they all manage to slip into one or other types of salutes mentioned here. Thanks to Slow Your Roll and Road Bike Review. If someone has something I missed, speak so and it will get special mention in the Cozy Beehive Victory Salute-apedia.
Have you thought enough about your Victory Salute?