The past few weeks, I’ve been watching the Tour de France, marveling at the cyclists’ athletic ability and intensity. It’s a joke between me and my husband that we’ll be watching a sports event, and I’ll say something like, “Remind me never to be a linebacker,” or “a catcher,” or anything, honestly, that requires that kind of Herculean effort.

But there is one athletic job I wouldn’t mind, and I think it can relate to the books I like to read, too: That of a domestique, a “a road bicycle racer who works for the benefit of his and leader. The French domestique translates as ‘servant’.”

Yeah, a servant. Which is likely why the quiet governess who’s suddenly thrust into the romantic spotlight is so appealing to me as well; after all, I myself shun the spotlight, instead preferring to observe and comment–usually snarkily–on the sidelines. My other favorite heroines are the plainer sisters of Diamonds of the First Water, who attract the attention of the Luscious Rake.

A domestique doesn’t have the pressure of having to win, just having to work hard for someone else (see: Megan and her spotlighting husband). But a domestique can have their own story, such as my favorite cyclist George Hincapie, who’s finishing the Tour this year with an allegedly broken collarbone. Allegedly because he says he’s fine, and won’t let doctors look at him until after the Tour. Now THAT is a hero! (Plus he’s 6’4″. Swoon).

Are you following the Tour? Do you find your allegiances remain consistent, whether it’s in sports or in books? What kind of athlete would you like to be?