It is Spring. The time of year when we settle into our over-pixeled life of watching the Classics live online. I cannot be alone in recognizing one common fact in this year's racing - there are too many black and white sleeves in the peloton!
The combination of camera motos bouncing over cobbles, nasty weather, and coverage in a foreign language has always been a bit of a challenge, but well worth it for a glimpse of the best pro bike racing on earth. Yet this year we are dealing with a new issue during the typical slightly right shots of the breakaway or the full frontal shots of a crouched-over final sprint to the line - three to four teams look the same.
In a highly blurred world, this leaves the viewer with one choice - know the sleeves of the man. The helmets are not much use since they too are black and white. Of course being very familiar with the riders so that you instinctively know their body position or riding style (a la Tom Boonen's bobbing head) helps a lot.
We are facing a black and white challenge in 2014. Remember in 2011 when we had the matching black and blue jerseys that all looked the same in camera shots (Garmin-Cervello, Leopard Trek, Team Sky)? Well in 2014 we have the sleeve design fiasco.
The main players include: Trek, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, and Giant. With IAm Cycling thrown in there just to confuse the matter further. And wouldn't you know it, Trek, Giant, and OPQS are just the teams we expect to see a lot of during the Classics. Thank goodness for Peter Sagan's lime green kit!
Squint your eyes and blur this image to simulate pixeled Eurosport coverage .... WHO WHAT HUH? Yay somebody in a black and white jersey just won!
Just a typical frontal view of the peloton. Too many black and white sleeves!
Watch for the bobble head because the large white font on black sleeves with white helmets can get confusing.
Let's throw in some National Champion's sleeves just to confuse us further.
Right when I got used to the right sided white arm bands of Trek, in comes Stijn Devolder's all black sleeves. Thanks.
Winner for the coolest black and white sleeve in the peloton - Riccardo Zoidl. Where are his matching socks?
More shoulder white font and arm band on the navy colored 2014 IAM Cycling jersey (which in low light can look black). At least his white arm band in on his left side, or stage-right, or something like that.
Don't get me started on the leg warmers.
Once again, thank you Cannondale, Belkin, and Katousha for your bright green and red jerseys. I might even start liking those ghastly Ag2R brown jersey's a little bit more.
All photos from the team's Facebook timelines