Tour de France
Riders face a media scrum after a stage finishes....

The Tour de France cliché translator

Cyclists use clichés during interviews, but what are they really trying to say? Here's a guide.

You can’t blame pro cyclists for rolling out the clichés every once in a while. At the end of six hours of racing, they’re swarmed by member of the press who poke microphones in their faces and expect eloquence. We’d say just about anything to get out of that, too.

The unfortunate result of a media-trained and scandal-weary (and, often, just plain tired) peloton is the trotting out of a portfolio of dull platitudes. We get the same answers, interview after interview. But even clichés can provide insight if you scratch the surface. Some are avoidance techniques; some point to thoughts left unsaid. He’s a translator to help you figure out what might be going on beneath the surface.

Post-stage

It’s important to hide any disappointment, lest one come across as a whiner. If the day was a bad one, pretend it was an isolated incident. If it was great, promise more to come, but do so vaguely. In the case of controversy, admit nothing.

I had to freelance at the end there — Where the hell were the eight guys we’re paying to be here?

I couldn’t hear the radio — My director is a nutter, I do what I want.

There’s no respect in the peloton — I’m not as young as I used to be / Get off my lawn.

I gave it everything — I gave it just enough.

I didn’t know he had a mechanical/problem, or I wouldn’t have attacked. — You bet I knew he had a mechanical.

I’m happy with my form — That went better than expected. (See also: The Legs Are Good)

The sensations were good — That was slightly less painful than I expected.

The fans were amazing — Nobody threw piss on me.

The fans were not respectful — Idiots, we’re surrounded by idiots with cups of piss.

It was full gas from the gun — Why can’t these guys just decide who gets to go in the breakaway before the stage? Rock-paper-scissors or something.

He just had better legs today — There is no way I’m winning this bike race. I know it. He knows it.

He’s a class rider — Life sucked when he was pulling.

It really is a partnership (usually a team director talking about a sponsor) — This brand was the highest bidder for my love this season.

Something was wrong with the bike — Our sponsors are crap.

That’s just sprinting — Hell yes I tried to box him in, he was trying to pass me.

We’re just hunting for stage wins now — We’ve blown it and would really like to go home.

I’m not worried about next year yet. I’m just here to race. — I signed with another team during the first rest day.

I’ll be right back — I’m going onto the team bus to check my Instagram, and I will not be back.

Pre-race

Interviews before stages are all about deflection. Sound confident, but provide zero actual information regarding form or tactics.

The legs are good — I have no idea if my legs are good.

If I’m feeling good I’ll give it a go — Who knows, man. Life’s a gamble.

It’s just an honor to be here — I can’t believe the team waited so long to add me to the Tour squad.

We came here with a strong team — If I’m honest, Sky is stronger.

I’m taking it day by day — I don’t want to answer the question.