Not just because of it’s hues but because of its symbolic heft. For Brazilians, cycling is a sacred pursuit. For the vast majority of its inhabitants, the World Tour is nothing short of a miracle of scientific engineering. It is a fanatical sport where popularity in short supply — despite the Brazilian national team’s recent success in Europe. If Mrinho’s nonchalant disregard for professional fortune is anything to go by, then he did not appear all that concerned by the prospect of turning down one million Brazilian reais ($342,000) to cycle for a further four weeks. He declined the offer and it’s a safe bet he will not be its first victim. Unlike in other so-called “big events” – where this sort of thing is often regarded as the least bad option out of a bewildering array of professional cash-for-hobby options – few people in Brazil would vote to deny themselves the rights to come close to the relative luxury that is the Tour de France.
This just shows that their one man on a bicycle has awakened a desire, among a grateful population, for something more than Twitter feed, cat food and niche fitness magazines. And hopefully, it means more fans will get behind the team for the opening stages of the Tour starting on Monday.