Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) came agonisingly close to taking the first stage of the Arctic Race, attacking late on only to be caught by Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) in the final few hundred metres after the Dutchman opened up a lengthy sprint.
All was not lost, though, as Cummings picked up a potentially even better prize than the stage win and overall lead. A giant toy salmon.
The salmon jersey is what the race calls the King of the Mountains jersey, and what’s more, the overall winner of the classification takes home 500kg of prime Norwegian salmon.
Last year, Norway’s own Sindre Lunke (Riwal Readynez) took home the prize, supposedly to the delight of his family, with previous winner including Bernie Eisel (Dimension Data) who will have had a harder time shipping it back to Austria.
Norway is, of course, the world’s leading producer of Atlantic salmon and the second largest seafood exporter in the world, so it’s likely they have a few fish to spare.
Some professionals will say they’re in it for the glory; others will say it’s just about earning a crust and putting food on the table. But what every bike rider really dreams of is picking up an unusual prize for winning a race, like a wheel of cheese, or a donkey or even a huge sword.
Here are some of our other favourite weird cycling podium prizes.
1. The Superprestige Cross shower
A shower; exactly what you’ll need after taking part in a muddy cyclo-cross race. And that’s exactly what you’ll get if you win the Superprestige Cross race…but you’ll presumably need to assemble it first.
2. The Tirreno-Adriatico trident
At Italy’s Tirreno-Adriatico, the winner is awarded this eccentric gold trident, as modelled by Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) who won the 2019 edition.
3. The Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne donkey
Nothing says I love you/Happy Birthday/thanks to your loved one/young child/mechanic like Ambrose the cuddly donkey, the prize awarded to winner of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
4. Local cheeses of the Tour of Britain
Just what you want hanging around the team bus for the rest of the week: The local cheese awarded on each stage of the Tour of Britain.
5. Basque hats
This is how folk from these parts ‘Basque’ in glory. The victor of the Tour of the Basque Country or Clássica San Sebastian is given a Txapela, a local piece of headwear. Hats off to the winner.
6. The Tour of Qatar model boat
Isn’t it shiny?
7. Big Austrian sausage
If a selection of British cheeses doesn’t suit you, then why not head to the Tour of Austria and grab yourself a big sausage supplied by Wiesbauer. 2014 winner Pete Kennaugh looks delighted.
8. The Toledo sword
“Good luck getting this through customs!” quips the mayor of Toledo every time the Vuelta comes to town.