Is It Possible To Be Too Pro

Mar 24 2010

While I’ve made occasional reference to the concept of “pro”-ness on this blog, that fact is that it’s never been something of special concern to me.

I have neither the income to assemble my own housing-level pro build, nor the free time to aggregate links directing my readers to the same. But recent events have got me wondering if being too pro can be detrimental, if not to one’s riding, then certainly to one’s image.

Case in point: Alberto Contador. It’s tough to argue that he’s anything but the best stage racer in the world right now. But (and I’m probably the last person to get around to mentioning this) the “fingerbang” branded equipment and apparel is starting to weird people out. According to the link, it’s so pro that no one’s selling it—though I’d imagine most riders would think twice before throwing their leg over that saddle.

Now let’s look at Oscar Freire. While he takes flack for his “here-today-gone-tomorrow” track record, I think three Worlds and three Sanremos speak for themselves. And how does Oscarito roll? With a minipump attached with duct tape, making his own adjustments to his infuriating cut-to-fit seatpost, and wearing a stock helmet with his initials Sharpied onto it.

Quite the contrast to the diamond-studded lid once worn by MSR first-loser, Tom Boonen. In fact, Boonen’s casque-to-cleat Belgian tricolor kit missed another win today at Dwars door Vlaanderen.

Despite getting into the race-making selection at 40km to go, Boonen found himself bested by Danish champ Matti Breschel in his split-kit—which, depending on who you ask, is either totally bush league, or the epitome of retro-cool (the mostly-black shorts help).

And I don’t want to say anything against Vacansoleil, since they’ve both animated and delivered (another podium today) throughout this classics this season, but those kits, while not completely ugly, aren’t exactly pro—further evidence of a correlation.

So what’s the take-away from all this? Hedge your bets on Condator, and put the big money on Footon at the Grio.

(report this ad)

14 Responses to “Is It Possible To Be Too Pro”

  1. Robot 24 March 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    Genius. Do you think Freire has a Cutters t-shirt on under his jersey? 100% cotton. Fully sweat not-wicking.

    Also, that Contador saddle is clearly the visual answer to the question, “Where’s the perineum?”

  2. tourpro 24 March 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    I hadn’t seen that saddle. It is non-pro.

    The fact that AC and Vino are on the same team makes me wonder what insane product could emerge from this season.

  3. Jarvis 24 March 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    And don’t forget that Oscarito pulled that shotgun pellet out of his leg during last years tour, while riding.

    Contador is heading into the Pantani/Chiappucci league of self-agrandisement. Nothing classy about the Pirate branding, made him look an arse and look where it got him in the end

  4. Pro Fessor 24 March 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    I just became a Freire fan.

    Contador is well beyond the Chiapucci league of poorly thought out self promotion.

    Marketing-wise, this guy needs some serious advice. Fake ‘pistole’ fingers??? Really? Sastre popping the binky in at the finish was less creepy. Maybe we just need to tell Oscarito he needs to start giving the ‘shocker’ instead…it has more universal appeal.

    Why is it that it seems most sprinter gigantic ego’s have some panache to their superego projection and the climbers like Pantani and Chiapucci and The Chicken just seem downright creepy? I see a trend.

    The great all rounders, too, had solid style. Bobet, Anquiteil (a bit odd though), Merckx, Fignon and Hinault, Lemond… Geeeee, anyone I’m leaving out? Nope, all good.

  5. Pro Fessor 24 March 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    sorry…I did leave a few out.

    Coppi e Bartali.

    That is all.

  6. Souleur 25 March 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    interesting concept of being too pro….
    Its kinda like the Italian being too Italian, or the hot chick being too hot, or one who has too much class and style…

    Personally, I like all of the above, I like as much Italian, hot chicks, and style that I can get…and when it comes to PRO…give me doublefisted-handfuls at a time.

    Thats why I am a cyclist..afterall

    But not all of us see it quite that way.

  7. Tom 25 March 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    When AC starts wearing some sort of “fingersuit” in Cipo style I will then consider him crazy and going to far with his “style”, if you want to call it that. Seriously, a cap, saddle and a discwheel. Other riders have had more than that personalized and no one gives a shit, case in point: LA and his terribly “designed” bikes and his “Livestrong” brand.

  8. Stanley 26 March 2010 at 5:47 am #

    I can easily see El Pistelero broadening his business empire Gene Simmons style, introducing his own brand of fingerbanging dildos come July. In Astana’s “colorway”of course.

  9. Zerak 26 March 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    I can live with people celebrating their victories to a certain extent (e.g. Cancellara had a custom saddle made, or riding yellow bikes / full yellow kit when you’re leading the tour etc.). But full on ego trips like what some sprinters pull off gets tiresome, in the same way that Ricco was ever so obnoxious (aside from the fact that he doped yet was so smug about his “wins”).

    But when you then combine that smugness with a gesture so cheesy that no one over the age of six thinks it’s cool, well, then you’re in dire need of a reality check and/or an image consultant. Contador should’ve kept with just marking his grand tour wins on the saddle / kit and it would’ve been fine, but instead he went full retard. Yyou never go full retard.

  10. DJ 27 March 2010 at 6:19 am #

    Hey, maybe AC is just alluding to the fact that WADA can give him a full body cavity search and will come up with nothing.
    I’m not a fan of comic book or victory salute inspired saddles – it’s taking it all a few steps too far/pro.

  11. tourpro 27 March 2010 at 5:37 pm #
  12. tourpro 27 March 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Ok, I guess I’ll just post the link:

    Gunslinger Vibe

  13. ryan 9 April 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    anyone who thinks the fingerbang and associated products aren’t a good marketing tool/good race salute obviously haven’t really been reading blog posts like this one, articles on major cycling websites, and the related comment sections. case in point this comment section. this entire article is basically devoted to contadors signature stage win salute, and you know what they say…any publicity is good publicity.

  14. Dave 15 April 2010 at 10:28 am #

    @ryan – i disagree. if you’re trying to sell a brand of bug repellant and you use a really annoying ad to get the name in my head, then maybe yeah i’ll buy it on a whim in the supermarket if i don’t know any others.

    But let’s think about who’s getting a lot of “publicity” now on the world stage….gee, that might be….the Pope!!! Good publicity? Ye-ah, maybe not.

    So if i walk into a store to buy say, a jersey, and there’s a contador one and any other non-contador one, guess which one i’m buying…it ain’t pistolero’s is it! so cheesy….

Leave a Reply