January 27, 2013
The curse of the rainbow jersey is a well known phenomenon within cycling. The story goes that the winner of the world road race title will be saddled with bad luck during his year as world champion. Some of the most notable examples are Jean-Pierre Monseré (killed by an oncoming vehicle during a race), Rudy Dhaenens (develoepd heart problems and was forced to retire) and Stephen Roche (had a serious knee injury and barely raced).
Of course there are exceptions which completely disprove the curse. In recent years both Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish had massively successful stints in the rainbow jersey. The fact is that if you take the winner of any race from year to year some of them will go on to have an excellent year and some of them won’t. Although there is some element of truth to the myth in that the world champion is ‘cursed’ with huge amounts of media obligations which may eat into their sleep and training time over the winter months.