WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA (BRAIN)—Cannondale wrapped up a four-day camp for its first title-sponsored WorldTour road race team on Monday, an event marked by the Hollywood-themed rider introduction in the heart of Southern California’s film industry.
Cannondale rented the famed Paramount Pictures studio in Hollywood for the official team presentation on Saturday evening — a two-hour event emceed by Bob Roll and filmed by the crew from the television show “Criminal Minds.” The 11 riders in attendance pedaled in and around the sound stage before Roll introduced them individually to an audience of about 350 guests, including 55 international journalists, select top Cannondale dealers, and employees from Cannondale and the team’s other sponsors and a few Hollywood celebrities. The team is led by captains Ivan Basso, Peter Sagan, Elia Viviani and Moreno Moser, although the brightest spotlight is on Sagan, the 22-year-old break-out sprinter who became known last year for his quirky finish line celebrations in the Tour of California and Tour de France. The 2012 Tour de France green jersey winner represents the fun, youthful image and energy that Cannondale is trying to bring back to a sport reeling from the doping allegations leveled against its former hero, Lance Armstrong.
Saturday’s presentation was followed by a party held on an outdoor studio set replicating the streets of New York City, where guest ate tacos and crepes from local food trucks as they huddled under heat lamps.
The high-zoot presentation culminated months of preparation on Cannondale’s part as the brand promotes its title-sponsored team. Cannondale increased its commitment to the professional peloton after six-year co-sponsor Liquigas decided to consolidate operations and sell the team entity. The Italian management team from the Liquigas squad, led by Roberto Amadio, continues through a new entity called Brixia Sport, of which Cannondale is a partial owner.
“All the people, the structure, the support, team management, doctors, massuesses, everybody carries over. There’s basically no disruption. It really ends up boiling down to simply as a name change,” said Bob Burbank, Cannondale’s general manager. “… We all want the industry to grow, we all want to get more people on bikes. We all share the same vision and we’ve had a great relationship for six years. As that trust built, for a lack of a better term, we invested more. So it really was the next logical step.”
FSA also increased its commitment to the team this year with its Vision brand as the wheel sponsor, replacing Mavic. Other sponsors include Fizik, SRAM, Kenda, Sidi, Speedplay, Elite, Rudy Project and Sugoi apparel (Sugoi and Cannondale are both owned by Dorel Industries).
The Cannondale Pro Cycling team’s 2013 season kicks off next week at the Tour Down Under.