futile breakaway enthusiast
Russel Gurner has a slight air of madness about him.The long tongue flapping out of his mouth, jersey wide open, earpiece dangling uselessly so no-one can tell him what to do.
Wild staring eyes that never seem to focus on anything, the sense that a terrible internal battle is raging between mind, body and legs.
Russel excels when things have gone a bit unstructured. He doesn’t like a steady pace nor efficient tapping out the miles. He likes the romance of attack, revels in disorder and struggle.
And this is why the fans love Russell. The pain of every pedal stroke is visible. He gave up on the poker face a long time ago- and though it may cost him a victory or two; it has won him thousands of fans. Crowds cheer at his unhinged panting and weird out-of-the-saddle-antics as he engages in another futile long range attack in the Ardennes. Fans swoon as he disappears up the road in 30 degree heat during a transitional stage of the Tour. All to ensure the camera is on his crazy face for a few more hours.
He’s the sort of rider you describe as plucky- not blessed with all the gifts but for sheer force of will and desire he cannot be faulted. He wears the suffering on his face for all to see and we love him for it.