World Cup fever has reached the Tour de France, with British cyclist Mark Cavendish about to take to the saddle with some Ronaldo-inspired footwear.
The Grand Depart of the world’s most famous bike race is due to be staged on Saturday, with the best riders on the planet chasing down the yellow jersey and a place in the history books.
Sprint king Cavendish will be among the favourites for stage one, and he will be pursuing victory in style.
With the action at Russia 2018 gripping a global audience, the Olympic medallist has given a nod to the football world with his choice of boots.
Clearly a fan of a legendary Brazilian who enjoyed an iconic playing career, Cavendish has decided to go R9 in his shoe design.
Ronaldo formed part of Selecao squads at four World Cups, claiming two winners’ medals, and is the second highest scorer in the competition’s history – with 15 efforts to his name.
The first of those arrived at the 1998 event which saw him wearing the Nike Mercurial range.
Cavendish admits he always wanted a pair as a youngster and has now got his wish with his own ‘M 1998’ boots.
True story. 20 years ago, during France 98, I saw @Ronaldo wearing the first #Mercurial. Immediately I wanted them. The R9’s. I was always a @Nike fan. They did things differently. They weren’t afraid to change what was normal. I can tell you, 20 years on, to be actually working alongside @Nike with that same philosophy is a dream. The same at 33 years old as if I was 13 again. Here’s the first #Superfly360 cycling shoe. Full #Flyknit construction. Comfortable and light. Built for pure speed in cycling like it is on the football pitch. For the colour? Well, it had to be a throwback to those R9’s that started my obsession with @Nike 20 years ago...
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regulations stipulate that no part of a cycling boot should extend above the ankle, so Cavendish may be in breach of those rules.
He will, however, be hoping to be given the green light when he takes to the streets and roads of France in pursuit of the honours which eluded Ronaldo 20 years ago.