It’s that time of year again – awkward team photos! It’s hard to design a kit because something on paper can look entirely different when actually produced. And sometimes an idea for a photoshoot might sound good in conception but the reality turns out quite different.
Case in point: do you remember the kit from the women’s Skoda ladies team with the red chamois that continued down their inner leg? Hmmm… And a kit that I’m sure was created on a drunken dare was the Footon kit of golden-brownish with a large footprint across the front. How about the Quick Step photos of the guys leaning on each other while resting their heads on a sponsors pillow? And there’s countless others throughout the history of cycling – professional as well as amateur. But let’s take a look at some recent editions.
I for one was happy to hear that several of the women from the HTC-Highroad squad had found a home in the new Specialized-Lululemon team. I’d seen some of the early photos and I liked the jerseys – black and white striping that matched their Specialized frames. It doesn’t particularly stand out – but otherwise it’s a good looking kit. However, at what looks to be a team meet and greet with journalists a few of the ladies are being presented. Once again the crotch area of the bibs might lead to some awkward moments when the squad is introduced on a stage before a race. When the legs are close together it looks heart shaped or triangular. I’m hoping that Specialized can crank out a version 2.0 of the bibs which wraps the black and white design around the whole leg.
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has a new kit this year and it looks like the Leopard-Trek clothing designer jumped ship and went with the Belgian squad. The colors are still the classic blue we have seen in the past but it is now highlighted with the Leopard-Trek teal. I said last year I was a fan of the Leopard-Trek kit, so I’m on board with this design as well. Clean, classic and non-distracting colors doesn’t lead the eye to the chamois area. And the team is so excited about the kit that they even created a video clip with battle cry sounding music in the background – bad ass! Reminds me of the trailer I just saw for next summer’s Battleship movie – makes me want to blow shit up! Speaking of videos – check out the YouTube clip of the team’s boot camp from a week ago. New recruit Levi Leipeheimer at the 30-second mark has a look of, “We’re going to do what? I did not sign up for this!” But once again, the photo director jumps the shark with some rather odd posing of their athletes.
Three team members are posed on the guard rail, arms interwoven with each other with fake smiles in full effect. Maybe it’s my American sensibilities, but if I was that middle guy there’s just too much man crotch being aimed in my direction. I expect this to happen. Whatever happened to the classic standing, arms crossed with a stern look?
Finally, the series of team training photos that made me go WTF was Liquigas Cannondale’s training camp photo of the guys hanging out in the steam room in their bib shorts. I’m really not sure what more I can say about that photo. Did it not seem weird that his photographer pops his head into the steam room and starts snapping away or was it his idea for the riders to go into the steam room, take off their shirts and tell them to act “relaxed?” Regardless it has a creepy Sandusky vibe to it and I think authorities should have been notified.
It was reported that the Greenedge team presentation was a stereotypical laid back Aussie affair. However, the squad is producing a team song done to a Tom Petty tune? I can’t wait for that to hit iTunes.
Of course the man who everyone can thank for starting the trend of sending teams off to mini boot camps is Saxo Bank’s Bjarne Riis. He had his boys up to the same old shenanigans, but in this latest round of press photos he has Alberto Contador strapped to another dude for some parachuting. First off, I don’t care who you are, you look ridiculous harnessed to another person as you leap out from a perfectly good plane. In the photos that were released, Contador’s face looks like he’s being made a wife to his prison cellmate – it’s a combination of terror with the realization that it is happening no matter how much he protests.
There are still several more team camps coming up and I for one can’t wait to see the photos from those.