Monday, November 30, 2009

Image is Everything

As the approximate one thousand emails arrived in COMO CYCO headquarters on or about Black Friday from World Cycling Productions heralding their massive sales of all things shnazzy in apparel, it occured to me how in cycling, image has become everything.  Gone are the days of rolling up your pantleg or using a rubber band to avoid getting your pants caught in your drivetrain.  Now you have the option of purchasing a stylish Brooks "Leather Trouser Clip" for $39.95.

Of course, had you purchased that over the weekend, it would have been 10% off due to the sale.  Sorry if you missed out.

Not to be left out of the pre-Christmas shopping rush, BSNYC alerted us all to World Champion Cadel Evans' new clothing line.  Most notable of which was a T-shirt he was selling with the slogan "Don't stand on my dog."

Slogans reflecting athletic themes are typically short and catchy, like Nike's "Just Do It" or the Lance Armstrong Foundation's "Hope Rides Again", thus one cannot help but find Cadel's choice slightly obtuse.  His website, however, offers a helpful explanation.

"DON'T STAND ON MY DOG.  A phrase that has become synonymous with Cadel since Stage 15 in the 2008 Tour de France; Cadel had just lost the yellow jersey and was being interviewed by a journalist, Cadel jokingly quipped at someone who was getting too close to Molly [his dog]..."Don't stand on my dog or i'll cut your head off."  Thanks to some media editting the true comic nature of the comment was rarely shown.....Made of 100% cotton....Only 100 of [the t-shirts] available, for everyone who likes, every now and then, not to take life too seriously!"

Those clever editors  - how dare they destroy the true comic relief of a good decapitation.  That said, what's not to take seriously about someone potentially standing on one's dog?  Cadel seems to be particularly protective of all fuzzy creatures.  Look how he defends the stuffed golden lion he's holding after winning Stage 10 of the same Tour de France when a reporter touches it with his microphone and then later tries to pet it.

Clearly, now in the off-season, Cadel is trying to let cooler minds prevail and to let his gentler and more comedic side shine through with his T-shirt.  He is not the only pro racer working on image overhauls, however. 

Andy and Frank Schleck, ever the fiercesome Luxembourgian duo, who tried to work together to topple Armstrong, Contador and Wiggins in the 2009 Tour de France with steeley race tactics, are now working hard to demonstrate how cuddly they can be as they were photographed recently frolicking with two dolphins, and apparently showing them the proper hand position when winning a mountain-top stage.

Like this is going to come in handy for dolphins.  Everyone knows they can't take in enough air through their blow holes to be competitive in the mountains and will thus never be anything more than glorified domestiques.  And yet the Shlecks taunt them with false hopes.

Things are also shaking up over at Garmin-Slipstream as a new sponsor is on board and they are officially changing their name to Garmin-Transition.  Although the team is looking leaner and meaner for next year, Papa Vaughters seems to be undergoing some holiday softening as well.

Interestingly, Contador might be taking the opposite tack and choosing this opportunity, when all of his rivals are getting a little soft in the middle, to lay down the gauntlet in declaring himself the new bad boy of the peloton.  Take for example this recent photo reported by Velo News during a press conference where he discussed his objectives for team Astana next year.  Right in the midst of the Q&A session, he applies digital pressure to his right nostril and blatantly blows a snot-rocket.

In an even greater display of disrespect, he then went over to accept a new ceremonial pair of Sidi's from his sponsor as part of their 50th Anniversary celebration with the massive luggie still hanging from the front of his shirt.

Just a word of caution to all of those in the pro peloton who might be reading this....yes, image is everything....but it can also be a bitch to shake...just ask the two guys on the right.

Pedal on!

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