Aside from winning alot of races, probably the most important part of a racing cyclist's legacy is his victory salute. They are the images that become deeply etched in the minds of tifosi and boludo globeros around the world. Therefore, it's wise to think about what you would actually do if you crossed the line as numero uno #1. Would you throw "V's" or opt for "#1's"? One armed salute or double fist? Swashbuckling or savage? These are serious questions begging analysis. Your future as a racer rests on this make or break moment. Will you seize the reins of greatness or fumble the ball and slink back into the peloton as another hopeless mope that couldn't carry the suitcase of fortune and glory?
As we all know It's not easy to constantly pull off the dashing photographs that make advertisers beam and hearts palpitate. Thus, it is extremely important that at the moment all eyes are on you, you don't go and fuck it all up. You must be prepared for your dig at greatness. Like you've been expecting it all along and all should take notice of this crystalizing moment in sports history. Because as all champions know, glory is a fleeting thing.
I should know, my lone triumph in the racing scene was disgraced by a photo op that showcased my complete lack of awareness for the finish line. It may as well have been lap seven, because you'd never know by looking at my reaction, which was a cross between squeezing out a turd and a late night of bong hits and tapioca. I failed miserably in an embarrassing showcase of confusion and dishonor. I never won again. Now, as recompense, I want to spare all the racers out there a similar fate.
You can't go wrong with the "One Armed Salute". It works well in tight finishes and has a gallant look about it. Merckx pulled this off flawlessly and Miguel Indurain made it his trademark in the 1990's.
"Angel" is a fine choice for young riders. It serves as a metaphor for the ascent to the ranks of greatness. Note the confirmatory salute of Piepoli here. If you're close to a winning teammate at the finish, there's no rule that says you can't enjoy some of that victory pie as well. Not only does it showcase the strength of team unity, it also displays the unselfish character of a noble domestique. Bravo!
"Scanners" isn't very popular, but that doesn't mean it isn't provocative. This conveys a sense of uncontrollable exhiliration. So much so, that your head might explode. There's no denying this salute shows passion. You can't fake passion.
"Christ" is a favorite of the tifosi. Who better to emulate in your moment of glory than the good lord himself? It's often said that one can hear the trumpets of angels softly playing in the wind when this particular salute is given.
"Rocky Balboa" is a popular classic that is also a favorite of marketers around the world. It paints images of goals achieved, opponents vanquished, and victory attained. This salute strips the rider to the bare emotional essentials. It's a triumph of spirit. Nothing sells crap better than that.
The "V" has a storied history and is probably the most common salute. And why not? It's brash without being arrogant and shows sponsor's logos well. This is without doubt the textbook salute. If you can't think of anything, this will surely suffice.
"Piss Off" probably isn't what you'll want to start your racing career with, but for old dudes that don't give a shit, it's a great way to publicly rub salt into your detractor's wounds. Journalists on your case? Team didn't renew your contract? Fuck 'em! Let your actions speak louder than any words possibly could.
"Cowboy" is a celebration best served with a sizeable lead over the peloton. It's a pretty ballsy move that not only shows just how much energy you had left, but how far ahead you were of the pathetic losers behind you. This salute is also extremely effective on video.
"Working Man" is humility in a golden wrapper. This is another fan favorite because of its inspirational overtones. Facial expression is crucial, it should say "Boy, that was hard. Look, I can barely extend these heavy arms". It makes the slowpokes and dreamers feel that they too can be champions. Pull this off and you may well achieve the status of "people's champion".
"Cyrano" is a surefire way to the hearts of the elusively fickle female fan. Who wouldn't want to catch a kiss thrown by a champion as he nonchalantly rolls across the finish line? I know I would. Note the use of a prop in the photo above. Props used to be taboo, but, like black socks and radio communication, the stubborn old ways of the past are giving way to new blood. A good prop should be poignant. "Merci Roubaix" was a genius nod to this great race by Mr. Ballerini here. Though I'm not a big fan of them, the pacifier, or "dummy" was popular with some Spanish riders who wanted to honor the birth of a new baby.
"Footloose" is a great way to showcase your sense of humor and handling skills. It emotes the feel good vibe of Kevin Bacon that is both contagious and unexpected. As all professional handlers know, to be seen goofing around on the bike is an effective way of proving that you aren't just a frankensteinian winning machine, but a great personality that folks would love to go drinking with. A great side effect of this is that the drinks will be on them.
Should you ever have the misfortune to do the "Preemie", listen closely, because it is the sound of your palmares being forever scorched by the branding iron of history. The only emotion this sad display evokes is pity. No matter how many victories follow, this tragic mistake will haunt you for the rest of your life. It may be buried but never forgotten.