Monday Musette – SBC/AC Follow-up, Merckx, Molly, & Christmas Shopping

For some of us, today presents the beginning of a short week, regardless, there’s much to talk about:

1. My post Friday certainly generated a lot of feedback! First I want to thank everyone who shared an opinion. I’m excited to see the Pavé community growing into a place where opinions are shared and discussed by everyone–not just me.

That said, a follow-up to Friday’s rant: despite how my thoughts came across, I am well aware that the sponsorship of a professional cycling team is a business decision made for the sake of what all parties involved consider to be their best interests. In Specialized’s case, the chance to sponsor such as Alberto Contador is something most companies would welcome. I’m not so naive as to think that Specialized would refuse such an opportunity simply on principle.

However, my opinion is indeed one of principle, and–perhaps more than that–personal preference as my tastes are drawn to the Classics more than the Grand Tours. I believe just about anyone can build a bike able to succeed in a 3-week stage race; however, building a bike that is technologically advanced while still able to withstand the rigors of the cobbled classics is something much more difficult. With both Quick Step and Saxo Bank, I think Specialized had their bases covered–and I liked that.

So in short, while I understand the business implications of the decision, I wish they wouldn’t have done it, simply because I would have preferred them to remain with Quick Step. And more so, I think Astana deserves–at some point–to be held accountable for its ramshackle decision-making and poor PR. As long as the Contador’s and the Specialized’s of the world enable/reward these teams by signing deals with them, the message will never get through that running a professional cycling team means a lot more than just paying your riders to race.

Okay, I’m off my soap box–for now.

2. If you recall, last week I asked for recommendations as to where I could get my Merckx bicycles fix. Tears for Gears seems to be the place. Great photos, clear scans of vintage catalogs (not just from Eddy Merckx), and some quality research make it a terrific read for anyone feeling a bit nostalgic. Dig around a little (seriously, it’s the best way to fully experience all that’s there) and find the database of Merckx serial numbers–if you’re an owner, you might want to send your info!

3. Molly Cameron‘s been a web-pal of mine for a little while now, and while we’ve never had the pleasure of meeting face to face, I have been enjoying her exploits from afar. Two weeks ago, Molly went to head-to-head with the other contenders for the series title in Portland’s Cross Crusade finalé, only to narrowly miss-out due to an untimely “chute”. You can read Molly’s account at her website and even watch a video, but I think this photo speaks louder than words.

4. Last, but not least: lately I’ve been spending way too much time perusing photostreams on Flickr. Ira Ryan and Signal Cycles were two of my favorites this past weekend. My wife asked me yesterday what I wanted for Christmas; I wanted to say, “a deposit on a Signal cyclocross frame, please.” Instead I opted for: “The real question is, what do you want for Christmas, honey?”

And I’ll leave you with that for today. Any more thoughts on Specialized and Contador? Which do you think is harder: building a bike for the Tour or a bike for the cobbled classics? And last but not least, what should I want for Christmas?

Enjoy your day! Thanks for reading!

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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