John Gadret: Undead and Otherworldly

John Gadret as seen in the March, 2004 issue of Cycle SportJohn Gadret's alter-ego as seen on the cover of Daniel Clowes' Eightball, issue #17

If John Gadret did not possess the pallor of a wraith, some creative facial piercings, and tattoos on his left leg, then his existence to me in the world of professional cycling would likely have remained largely anonymous. But there he was, in all of his pierced, shaved-headed glory in the March, 2004 issue of Cycle Sport, the cover boy of a feature article concerning the launch of Belgian Division 1 squad Chocolade Jacques. Newly crowned the cyclocross champion of France and a 2004 neo-pro on the road, racing under the tutelage of uber hard-man team manager Andrei Tchmil, here was someone who for some reason struck a chord with me and has remained a rider of interest all year. He had a decent road season, particularly in his support of Tour of Britain champion Mauricio Ardila. And then, hardened with a season of pro road racing in his legs, he started kicking ass in the current Euro cyclocross season: most recently scoring a fine 3rd place at the Koppenberg ‘cross and then shocking the Belgian ‘cross mafia with a victory at Vossem. Stick it to the (’cross) man, Gadret! And while I’m hardly a Francophile (even though Gadret is nearly Belgian with his home in Calais), I feel empowered to cast aspersions at dumbasses such as the woman I saw driving a car near Winston-Salem with the utterly stupefyingly simple-minded bumpersticker “Boycott France” (and immediately in front of this simpleton was a motorist sporting the equally contemptible bumpersticker “Allah is not MY God”). Hope you’re enjoying those “Freedom Fries”. Vive la France.

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