There should be a jersey for Most Willing To Sign Autographs.
One of the things that strikes me every morning as the riders get ready, is who’s willing to sign an autograph and who isn’t and the gradations in between.
Being that each rider is obsessed with recovery, even too many autographs for fans add an unnecessary burden of stress and fatigued pen fingers. You can almost hear the team physiologist scream: stay off your feet, sign no autographs!
Still certain riders are happy to stop while others are stingy with their precious scrawls. For them, fans are a hassle they’d just as soon avoid, the human equivalent of road furniture.
These are the guys who hang by the team bus and always keep the Oakleys on. Other riders seem to enjoy the experience of connecting with fans and it seems to be a pleasure, something that energizes them.
For example, the Little Prince, Lampre’s Damiano Cunego stops often to meet with fans. Bernard Eisel of HTC-Columbia appears willing to stop for fans dying for a photo op. The French riders are generally happy to oblige on home territory although I’ve seen the so-called “housewives’ favorite” Thomas Voeckler ignore plenty of people.
Did I get an autographs — no, what am I gonna do — sell it on ebay? Levi Leipheimer autogrpah, slightl crumpled, almost legible. $10 dollars or highest bid.