Anatomy Of A Jersey: Androni Giocattoli 05/12/2013
Watching Stage 7 of the GIRO this week and Emanuele Sella get beaten into submission by Adam Hanson, there was lots of talk of how great it was that these guys were “up the road getting TV time for their sponsors“. In Hanson’s case the sponsors are obvious, and pretty well known. The team is also lucky to have principle sponsors who invest large amounts in the team, which in the end makes for a simple message and a nicely designed kit. In the case of Sella, not so much. A team that relies on a wildcard and the generosity of their national grand Tour finds it harder to attract the big name deal, and has to work hard to make the numbers work by bringing in as many backers as possible. It was just in this case apart from Venezuela (I took geography) I had no idea who any of the names where on the jersey (apart from the bike). So here it is, the anatomy of the Androni jersey.
ELCYCLISTA EDITIONS: Ardennes Book Project 03/17/2013
It has been in the making for a while (almost a year in fact), but we have in our hands the first book proof of our Ardennes project. It has surpassed all of our expectations formed over drinking hot chocolate in Maastricht last year and dreaming about creating a limited edition publishing label. Hopefully this (and our poster series) will be the start of something new for us. The book presents a fans-eye view of attending the Ardennes week, a very special time for riders and fans on the annual racing calendar. We just have some final color correction to do and then it is off for the final print run. We are not sure of the number in the edition yet – it all depends on budget and interest, the more interest we get, the cheaper it will be. If you like what you see here drop me an email at email@example.com and I will make sure you get added to a hold list when the books come in. I will be putting it up in the store soon for anyone that wants to pre-order to secure a copy. Hope you like it – share it around with your fellow bike porn lovers!
The Thousand-Yard Stare 03/16/2013
Placed this early in the season finishing Milan San Remo is an achievement in itself. Being there at the finale makes you a special type of rider, with a little bit of luck on your side. Riding one of the longest races on the calendar at 298km drains the riders, physically and mentally. 276 km of leg softening followed by 22 km of explosive attacking over two of the most famous climbs in the world. But as those in with a chance of a podium take the right turn up the Cipressa, the “workers” drop down a few gears and roll into the finish. A few years back I was lucky enough to be there with Specialized, and while the team celebrated there first race and a win on the launch of the Venge I noticed out of the corner of my eye riders rolling down the back of the promenade, picking their way through the crowd. Some bloodied, jerseys patterned with salt, and not even the energy to tell people to get out of the way. These guys were the leg-softeners, the ones who made the race hard. All of them carried the same thousand-yard stare that comes with pure exhaustion. Being completely empty. It was these guys that got my admiration that day, and they will tomorrow as well.
Ardennes Book Project 07/28/2013
Here at last! Our Ardennes Book Project for Elcyclista Editions. The book is a collection of images captured at the 2012 Ardennes week (Amstel, Fleché and L-B-L). No passes, no “Moto’s”, no access to hotels, the images are all from the perspective of the fan, and being surrounded by the ambience of these three amazing races. We have done the book in a first edition of /50 with each book individually numbered on the special editions page inside the book. This project took some time to finish as during its making my father unfortunately passed away from cancer. It was one of the last things I showed him that I was working on, so the project holds a special place for us. We are offering the book at two prices. We always appreciate the support we get and we try to keep our prices as affordable as possible, the first price is $65 which is the cost of production and packaging. The second price if you can afford to is $70 where we will donate $5 to the Hospice that helped him through his last days. As always we are grateful for whatever support you can give us. Lets see if we can get this fella to a second editon!
Available for purchase at our online store here
The thought of making your team to ride Paris-Roubaix must bring an incredible sense of excitement, and probably at the same time also a complete feeling of dread. A few years back I talked to some of the triathletes in the New York City Marathon, who described the symptoms of what they called the “Hudson River Flu” – a sickness you get from swimming in a river that quite frankly is not appropriate for swimming in (I won’t go into the details). Paris – Roubaix brings its own special type of “flu“. One that is described as hitting the rider two days after the race has finished, a result of the punishment the body receives riding over a surface that most of us would consider only appropriate for an all wheel drive. A “flu” that pains right into the bones. This all just comes from the surface, the storied cobbles, throw in the distance, 50KM of that over cobbles, some weather and a lot of riders making this their early season goal, it is no wonder the race holds the position it does at the top of the things we love about this sport. This year it is predicted to be rain free, and with some late-week rain probably dust free as well. None of this will reduce the spectacle. Thank the lord for the internet, I will have my Sporza and Eurosport streams flowing on Sunday looking down the line for Russ Downing and Alex Wetterhall, both who have won races back in my home country of Ireland and are now riding one of the biggest races in the world. I wish them luck, safe riding and good legs.
Post Doprahgate 01/27/2013
This shot of the wife of Wim van Est listening hopefully to the radio coverage of the her husband in the 1960 Tour, instantly takes you back to a time when more was left unsaid than was broadcast. In those days it was easy to keep the inner workings of the teams cloaked in secrecy, and their stars put on a pedestal. I just finished reading the Eddy Merckx biography “The Cannibal” by Daniel Friebe , which does an excellent job of looking into the mind of the legend, and also the suspicions of how dope ridden the peleton was back then. Granted, nowhere near as sophisticated as Doprahgate, but in their own way sophisticated enough, that today they are still thought of mostly as just that, suspicions. It was that secrecy and the riders and managers that perpetuated it, that maintained an acceptable face to the public and more importantly the sponsors, giving them the assurances they needed before their name was stuck on the back of a jersey. And here we are today, post Doprahgate, post the managed message, post naivety, post a few fallen heroes and post quite a few sponsors. But some still remain and I am thankful for them. Sponsors like Sky and Garmin that are giving us some of the best racing we have ever seen. We enter a new season with most of our dirty laundry hanging out to dry ( I can only hope ) and a wave of new riders taking victories from Argentina to Australia. Lets hope for a good one, and no more media frenzy around those that have left the sport close to implosion. In this era of media manipulation – lets face it choosing Oprah was a cop-out, she is not really know for her journalistic rigor – lets hope some of that same media can help get the sport back on its feet by reporting some of the good out there.
Photo: Collectie SPAARNESTAD PHOTO/W.L. Stuifbergen