Cannondale Pro Cycling recently held its team launch in Los Angeles to coincide with a four day training camp in. For 2013 Cannondale stepped up its sponsorship of the UCI pro level team as Liquigas of Italy ended its long running sponsorship of the team formerly known as Liquigas-Cannondale. Cannondale, a part of Dorel industries, went all out for the event. They held the presentation at Paramount Studios. For the occasion they not only invited the local media, but also representatives of the international cycling media and its smaller co-sponsors and suppliers from around the world including Italy, France and Spain. The festivities began at the entrance of the studio lot where the attendees were treated to an open bar and appetizers while they awaited the arrival of the athletes. The riders arrived by lime and then walked down a roped-off black carpet wearing tuxedos. Also accompanying the riders down the black carpet were Erika Christenson starring in the TV show Parenthood and Shemar Moore and Joe Mantegna from the hit show Criminal Minds.
After posing for photos outside consistent with the Hollywood themed event, the riders, media and guests all went into a theater where Bob Roll (aka Bobke) emceed the presentation. The riders arrived dressed in their new Sugoi cycling kits riding their team Cannondale SuperSix Evo bikes up ramps and on to the stage. Bob first introduced Cannondale’s management team and then the Team directors and staff. Bob Burbank the Global General Manager of Cannondale addressed the audience saying, “(t) here is no denying that we love to win, but it’s not just about crossing the finish line first, but how you get there. Riders all over the world can be proud to be part of the Cannondale Pro Cycling Community.” He also said at Cannondale they intend to offer a range of bikes for every level of rider that are fun to ride; noting that not everyone is a Cat 1 racer.
Then the athletes who were present were introduced by Bobke and they each got to talk about their role on the team and their goals for 2013. Most of the riders were present except for those who were about to start Australia’s Tour Down Under, then only about a week away. The attendees included co-captains Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan as well as Elia Viviani, Moreno Moser and American Ted King. Not surprisingly Ivan Basso said his primary goal for 2013 is the Giro d’Italia. Peter Sagan said he had two primary goals, to again win the Green (sprinter’s) Jersey in the Tour de France and to win the only big one day classic that has so far eluded the Team, the Tour of Flanders. Peter also said he would return to the Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) where last year he won five of the eight stages. I asked him later at the bar if he expected to do as well in this year’s ATOC. He said he had no idea, and that even he was surprised that he won the five stages last year.
A party in the Studio’s Streets of New York movie lot followed. An international selection of food was available from gourmet catering trucks. The only problem was that the event was at night, and it happened to coincide with one of the coldest nights of the year. Fortunately there were numerous portable heating lamps, and us locals knew better and came dressed in warm attire. I met several people from Europe who were caught unawares assuming Southern California was always warm and they did their best to brave the unusually cold night. Upon departure all the attendees received a musette bag with gifts inside including a pair of sunglasses. It was a wonderful and fairly extravagant team launch reflecting Cannondale’s place as the premium brand of the Cycling Sports Group of the $2.4 billion Dorel Industries.
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