Nomenclature – Souplesse

by Old Bone Machine

Souplesse is a French word meaning suppleness. Typically, a yogi or dancer will exhibit souplesse.


In cycling, the term refers to the motion of the rider. A fluidity, ease and oneness with the bicycle. A rider with souplesse rides effortlessly and with grace.

Cadel Evans, gets the job done, but does not exhibit souplesse. He pedals as if mashing grapes in a barrel. Of the current professionals perhaps Alberto Contador best displays souplesse. As Contador unleashes an attack on a climb it seems he does so with great ease. A lightness of being. And with some grace.

I do love Cadel though and the spirit in which he cycles. He made a most fine wine at the 2011 Tour De France, the memories of which I still savour.