Is there a conspiracy behind Cycling mag covers?

I came in from the mailbox with the mail in hand the other day – my latest copy of Road Bike Action magazine there between the bills and grocery store adds.  I glanced over the cover and saw what appeared to be a very common, run-of-the-mill cycling magazine cover.  But something caught my eye that didn’t seem right.

Somehow, something about that guy in the blue jersey seemed oddly familiar.  “Wow,” I thought.  “Isn’t that Floyd Landis?”

Closeup of Road Bike Action Magazine cover

Floyd Landis - riding for US Postal

It certainly wasn’t outside of the realm of possibilities.  Floyd was on some hard times lately – embroiled in the whole “Doping Allegations” thingy.  Maybe the guy needed a few bucks.  After all, he was still a bike racer.

According to the credits in the magazine, the photo is actually of Jeff Farnum, as taken by John Ker.  Maybe it was because I still had the sound of Landis’s name in my head, but somehow I was still skeptical of this whole “Farnum” claim.  It still looks like Floyd Landis to me.

I pretty much shrugged this off with a chuckle to myself and moved on with my life (incidentally, I did read the magazine.  I do not recall a reference anywhere in that issue to Mr. Landis.)  A couple of days later, Bicycling magazine shows up at my door.

“Hmmm,” I think. “Get lean now.  I could stand to lose a couple…”

Wait just a second!  Right there – on the cover…  isn’t that…

The guy on the cover is a dead ringer for Andy Schleck.

Again, however, the credits tell a different story.  According to Bicycling magazine, this is actually Clay Murfet, has photographed by Chris Crisman.

So, assuming we actually can believe that the magazines are printing the proper credits (although I still think that ‘Chris Crisman’ sounds a little fishey) I’m left with only one viable conclusion.  the odds seem almost astronomical that two different publications would have photos that look amazing like two folks that have been in headlines recently.

I’m not convinced that the magazines are on the look out for pro rider look-a-likes to innocently put on their covers.  There you go folks.  Work on your Jens Voigt scowl.  Perfect your Levi Leipheimer wrist-meditation pose.  You just may find yourself on the cover of one of these fine magazines.

(As a side note, the VeloNews cover featuring an Alberto Contador look-a-like turned out to be a photo of the actual Alberto Contador and not a look-a-like at all.)