Sunday, 22 November 2009

In response to Pave Blog

I thought I'd post the comment I left on Pave blogs site about his comment on Specialized: To see his excellent post go to

"Charisma Contador, I must of missed that do you have a YouTube link Josh?

My guess is that many at Specialized may be on one hand happy to get Contabore, but are equally unhappy to that he is linked with Astana again.

I agree with DanO. Once upon a time SBC was at the forefront of design and cutting edge. In the road scene they were early adopters of the Compact shape after Giant made it acceptable all those years ago (12 now). They managed that perfect balance by being a big player but also maintaining that hard to define 'cool factor'.

Sponsorship on one hand is about chasing results and seeing a return for your investment. It depends on whether this is a long term or short term goal. Investors can apply pressure to companies sometimes so they need a more immediate return. I have always seen SBC as being in for the long term, it maybe a case that they have got bored waiting. Feeling frustrated they have decided to back the current champion, and at the same time tackle their closest rivals for showroom space at the same time.

In making this move they may have enabled other smaller brands enter the minds of the riding public and take the place that used to be occupied by Specialized on the 'Cool Wall'."

More thoughts, since my post:

It'll be interesting to see what Specialized will reap from the Contadore arrangement. I doubt if he'll push the designers in the same way that Boonen et al did and help define a bike for the Big S. In the world of 'Cool' I am unsure how much a Tour winning bike translates into sales, I think the Lance effect on Trek was bigger than that. Lance, love or loath, has a personality and charisma that Alberto is missing. I was standing 6 feet away from at an airport recently, he lacks any of that real superstar aura that many great champions give off. For many people that is appealing, for me it's not a draw. Having met Merckx a few times, for me it's like meeting the Pope, but one who's a pretty cool and humble bloke (so maybe not like the Pope?, don't know)

My guess is that with both SRAM and Shimano trying to keep an eye on the public opinion of not being involved with dopers I suspect that we will see Astana and Contadore on Campag for next season. Wheels, unsure but we can be sure it's not Bontrager, Hed or Zipp.

For Quick Step the move to get Eddy Merckx bikes on board will be a good one. Recent project developments with Pinarello have resulted in a lighter bike with new advancements in carbon technology. Merckx bikes last big win was in 2002 when Johan Museeuw piloted a Scandium framed Merckx to his third, and arguably best Paris Roubaix win. I expect that the bikes will be stunning and that the Team will do well aboard there new rigs.

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