Armstrong's new Radio Shack jersey. The subliminal messages behind the R.

What's the subliminal message inside the R?

Lance Armstrong did a twitter fashion show Tuesday, modeling a possible design for his new Radio Shack cycling team.

The jersey is two-toned and bold — Radio Shack red across the chest and Armstrong grey on the shoulders. The grey being a nice touch that symbolizes the Texan’s greying hair and 38 years of age.

The real question is what the prominent circled R means? The easy answer is that it stands for Radio Shack but the analysts, iconographers and symbolist experts here at Twisted Spoke think not.

A few theories: The R stands for retirement since Lance will be almost 39 when the Tour de France rolls around again.

The R might also be a subliminal message to Alberto Contador: Revenge. And also a sign to all Radio Shack teammates and support staff that Armstrong is out to kill Kid Contador. The circle would seem to indicate a determined unity in the battle to defeat the Spaniard.

The R might also represent an open ended question, a kind of Twitter-esque philosophical question. R as in R U ready? R U Strong. R is both inquisition and query, from a man who demands answers.

Digging even deeper, note also the order and placement of the R in the alphabet. R comes before S, the R is in first position with the S calling to mind both Schleck and Spaniard. Again, a subtle but undeniably forceful statement to his competitors that he will not finish second.

The R is rife with allusion and metaphor and menace. After consulting with astrological experts, it appears the R represents possibility (an 8th Tour win, perhaps). According to the literature, the letter is “tolerant and humane but has a tendency to become short tempered.” As even casual cycling fans know, Mellow Johnny is anything but mellow when he’s out to win that big Frenchie bike race.

Obviously the letter R contains many hidden messages and Armstrong is not afraid to send them. Probing into the Latin origins, the R is referred to as the littera canina, the canine letter. There is no mistaking the jersey statement to one skinny Spaniard in particular — Lance will dog Contador like a snarling junkyard pitbull.

Finally, there is the possible story hiding on the arm, where the circle R makes a double impression. What is the Texan telling us? The R, Armed, Arms, Arm…strong. Yes, once again, a reaffirmation of force. The upper arm R is shorthand for Armed, a kind of pictogram of power.

It is just a Radio Shack jersey or is it a lycra manifesto?

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  • Stavros

    Great investigational work, Matt! You must have been sitting in on the jersey design meetings. Come on, fess up, you’ve got inside connections on Team RS, right?

    • walshworld

      Stavos, right now I could go for a heated pool in Tucson, Arizona but no, I don’t have inside connections. Maybe next year. I’d actually like to do a Twisted Spoke jersey for sale. I better start designing now. Thanks for reading and as always, spread the TS word with Digg & Delicous and anything else you can think off.

      • Stavros

        Matt, I see TS got a big shout out in James Raia's column yesterday.
        http://www.examiner.com/x-1155-Cycling-Examiner~y

        Keep up the good work!

      • walshworld

        James is the Patron Saint of cycling blogs. Thanks to him and with his help and connections Twisted Spoke will be covering live and in person every stage of the Tour of California. Yes, we do humor but we also do serious race coverage. Did I say serious? Let's go with humorously descriptive.

      • Stavros

        Excellent, Matt. Congratulations. Need someone to carry your bags?

  • Ann jingco

    I just find it a really cool design. With his equity of the yellow band being part of it. Maybe it doesn't need too much over analyzing?

    • walshworld

      I agree. It looks very Nike and that's okay. It's not the most stylish but it's not bad either. We've all seen worse and some of those euro team jerseys are abominable. Thanks for reading.

  • fred taylor

    R R R ARRGG Why does everyone have to talk about Lance?