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Freeman Cebu Sports

Britania rules the cycling seas

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente 'JV' Araneta - The Philippine Star

In the Tour de France, the Union Jack continued its dominance. It had 6 stage wins from four different riders (Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome and David Millar), and they also got their historic first Yellow Jersey. Fast forward one week to the Olympics and they are still on a roll.

While they lost the marquee cycling event of the Olympics, the road race, when the rest of the cycling universe raced against them and their designated leader, Mark Cavendish, Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins won the gold in the Individual Time Trial a few days later. Yesterday, they won the Women’s team pursuit. Add another silver and a bronze and they have a total of 5 medals, the highest tally so far. And I think they are not done yet.

How Britain gets to be very successful is a lesson for us. It takes a lot of dedication, passion, ego (as what 1992 gold medalist Chris Boardman says), talent and a ton of money (thanks to the SKY group) to get that elusive gold. I don’t want to sound like a pessimist but the way the other countries have been developing relative to our development plans, I think that we are not only getting left behind, the gap is continuously getting wider. They “Were-happy-to-be-here” mantra doesn’t buy anymore.

The Logo

Before 1992, only amateurs were allowed to race in the cycling events in the Olympics. But the IOC realized that with amateur athletes, they were depriving the Games of the best athletes, so they admitted the pros.

Now there is a rule in professional cycling that when you win your national championships, you have to wear a jersey designed with your country’s color for one year. It not only brings the wearer honors but also fame and sponsorship money. To a greater degree, the same thing happens when you wear the Rainbow jersey of the World Champion.

So when Pascal Richard won the 1992 cycling road race, his team then, CASINO, had a custom made jersey made for the Swiss with the 5-ringed logo of the Olympics prominently on his jersey. A cycling jersey is basically a moving billboard and it’s the sponsors who pay for the team.

Unfortunately for CASINO, they didn’t know that the IOC frowns on the practice of having their logos used without permission, so they told CASINO to stop making the jersey or pay for the rights to use the brand logo.

Along with the logo rule is another rule states that the bicycles should only have one sponsor plastered on the bike frame. If you have looked closely at the SPECIALIZED bike of champion Alexander Vinokourov, there is only one SPECIALIZED logo. But the marketing folks at SPECIALIZED had a great idea and that was to paint their frames bright orange. Indeed, it was the most recognizable bike in the Olympic road race, and coupled with the orange helmets asked their sponsored riders to wear, they just simply stood out.

Of course, colors wouldn’t have meant anything if it was another rider who had won with another bike.

ALEXANDER VINOKOUROV

BRADLEY WIGGINS

CHRIS BOARDMAN

CHRIS FROOME AND DAVID MILLAR

HOW BRITAIN

IN THE TOUR

INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL

JERSEY

MARK CAVENDISH

PASCAL RICHARD

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