Tuesday, 27 September 2011

New World Champion - a change in direction

Project completed - job done

Photo by Jens Gresling, downloaded here.

What a feeling Cavendish must have felt as he crossed the finish line in Copenhagen first on Sunday, after all that hard work by his teammates and after three years of systematic work towards this historical goal. Moments like these are what I truly love about sports in general; all the hard work pays off, drama and emotions all over. 46 years has gone by since Simpson wore the rainbow jersey. Did I hear a "Cycling's coming home"?

Next year
Had a discussion with a close friend on Sunday, who was sad to see "panache out of the door" as the person said. "A world Champion should not need to be carried to the finish line, but honour it the way the best rider in the world should", the person continued.
Personally, I know I'll miss seeing the rainbow jersey attack furiously up the Alps or the Dolomites, the strong solo win Hushovd did during the tour was nothing short of spectacular, as was Cadel Evans' year as WC.

However, my view is more divided. As I mentioned earlier, sports is all about improving, and I mean every way possible. Generally speaking, every person on a team bring something to the table, something slightly different than me or you. That is why teamwork is a recognised way of performing a task (even though other people can be annoying at times...). Change is almost never easy to withstand and in sport, it comes and goes in waves almost continuously.
Who wins is of course depending on the WC course. Despite that I really enjoyed watching the rainbow jersey set colour to the last two seasons, I believe Cav will do the same, his way. I brought this up with Rich Land (@Sprinting4signs) on twitter, and he most graciously wrote that "each World Champ brings something new". I totally agree with this, and cant wait to see Cav sprint next year.

The last years cycling has been blessed to have giants as World Champs, so Cav is in good company and has some shoes to fill. As it should be, I must add. His first words after securing the win, that he'll honour the jersey, is a sentence that probably spoke directly to the hearts of many cycling fans.

If (when) Cav goes to Team Sky, what will this mean to the set-up and the team's goals? That is another question worthy a post of its own. Let's first see if Pinarello is thrown out the back door for Specialized.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Long time since last post

As you can see it's been a while since my last post. Have had some very interesting, yet long days lately, so I haven't found the time to squeeze in some words on the blog. However, when times like this occur, one can rely on twitter, the micro-blogging sphere.

I will post more here soon, need to get my head above the water first.

It's getting close to Copenhagen. Can Hushovd regain the throne, will Gilbert again jump for the line first? Or perhaps will we see a certain Slovak hit the finish line. I wouldn't rule out G, EBH or Matt Goss either. No one has mentioned the old cat Oscar Freire. If he's in shape, he can very well make it.

I can feel the anticipation building. Bring on the Worlds.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Maglia Rosa project - the RCS keeps innovating

Photo courtesy RCS

One of the biggest happenings of the year took place this week, the Eurobike. This annual event is arranged in Friedrichshafen, Germany and is where you can get a view of the coming season's newest gear, bikes and clothing.

On the 1st of September, the organiser of the Giro, RCS and La Gazzetta dello Sport, presented a brand new project; "Tweet your Maglia Rosa". The event was presented at Eurobike and was hosted by the famous Italian brand Santini, a long time partner of the Giro d'Italia, and the very designer and producer of the famous Maglia Rosa.

The Project
The project is all about interaction with fans on social media platforms, twitter and facebook. The project, as I see it, is two parted. Firstly, fans can decide how the design of next year's pink jersey will be like. Go to this facebook page to vote. Secondly, the RCS has decided that a total of twenty tweets will be printed inside the Maglia Rosa, ten from fans and ten from professional riders who have worn the jersey before. One selective tweet from a fan will also be placed on the collar. Like the RCS writes in the press announcement:

A selection of 100 tweets, divided by geographical origin, will be posted on the Giro d'Italia's facebook page. The fans will then vote and choose the ten best tweets, worthy of being printed on the 2012 Maglia Rosa.  

To show your support and participate, simply tweet what the Giro means to you by using this hashtag: #Magliarosa, and do so before the 15th of September.

Imagine the current leader of the Giro relaxing at the hotel, admiring one the best known jerseys in the history of cycling, reading your tweet.

RCS vs ASO and social media
The Giro organisers have an understanding of social media that is one of the highest of the industry. The way they interacted with fans during the 2011 Giro was nothing short of impressive. The way involved fans and riders during the race with live updates, pictures from behind the scenes, asked questions and made people feel welcome to join the conversations. A text book way of using twitter as a social media platform.
The RCS - La Gazzetta dello Sport the press release says that they "aim at showing that is possible to combine the past and the history of a symbol as the Maglia Rosa, with the present and the future of communications represented by the web and the social networks, to create closer links between the Giro d'Italia and its many fans , through innovative and interactive global media".

Well, it is a press release and one could expect a press release's content to be full of promises and gold plated words, but so far, the Giro d'Italia has delivered the goods.

I was very happy when I discovered the ASO was going to use a specific twitter account during the tour, and I sort of expected the ASO to rise, if not over the bar so to it. After all, with regards to the amount of feedback the RCS got after and during the Giro, I certainly had anticipated the tour to be full of nice updates and innovative solutions when it comes to social media. That is how the corporate world operates, to borrow solutions, modify and develop, no? But that didn't happen. So here is to ASO, being conservative is one thing, being far back in the pack is another.

You can read the press release from RCS here, uploaded by @wielermanhttp://t.co/XawPUbp