This is a thing that happened, apparently. This thing being the most awesome off-bike, non-mud-themed photo in European cyclocross history.
Let's break it down. As you can see, Lars van der Haar tweeted this out from a party thrown by the BPost Bank Cyclocross series gala dinner, which apparently included a boxing match and some fresh new beats. What do we make of this?
For starters, it is apparently a tour of hip-hop culture, which is always a reach for white people, but not unattainable. Given that we're talking about American hip hop culture, for a bunch of northern Europeans to pull it off is an even reachier-reach. But these are elite athletes accustomed to great challenges. They have the courage to scale this mountain.
They are led, of course, by the Great Master, Sven Nys, seen sporting a Minnesota Timberwolves jersey, a rather terrible set of shades and hat, and a black velvet shawl coat found in the "Burning Man" section of his local department store. A side note: #42 is currently worn by nobody associated with the Timberwolves, but presumably it's a slightly out-of-date Kevin Love top. Nys wearing "LOVE" on his back sounds like a move you make after a divorce, and a lot of vodka.
To the immediate right (his left) of Nys is Tom Meeusen, going all fur. This is a dangerous move, if you don't like having paint thrown on you, and the hat/oversize shades combo is a bit too ZhaZha Gabor for my taste. But he nails the color balance better than every kit designer in all of cycling. Right down to the shoes.
The entire middle row looks like they broke into Eminem's closet. Special credit to Lars van der Haar, under the hood, who very nearly passes for the real Slim Shady, right down to the chin dimple.
Stunning. As for the rest of the row, my ability to positively identify people is not good, but I'll say that's Mathieu van der Poel in the middle, sporting headgear from the new age Chai house look to the right of Lars, then Klaas Vantornout and Wout Van Aert wearing the leftover costumes nobody else wanted, and looking positively terrible -- Klaas from the "thrift shop" angle and Wout from the dreaded "Vaughters" look. Bad, bad, bad. On the far left is Rob Peeters, I believe, sporting the "any of 100,000 guys in Queens right now" look, rather successfully I might add.
I'm assuming that's Lucy Garner flashing actual gang signs in the back row, next to -- wild guess -- Sven Vantourenhout and two guys on the ends from the Belgian Olympic ice dancing team. Finally, there's the elephant in the room...
please tell me that is NOT Kevin Pauwels in a Cavaliers shirt. [I think it's not, but am terrified of the implications if it is.] This could even be Pauwels, or whomever, [Ed: Bart Wellens, duh] in an updated Kevin Love jersey, which is actually more hilarious since he sucks now. Or that's what I read. [Sorry Bartje. Oh wait, it's Bron-Bron? Ok then.]
Seriously, kudos to all for having fun in a public way, which isn't easy for people of such notoriety and public scrutiny, but is a great way to cap off a long, exhausting season.