Top4 by DMLR - The marketing magazine
(Once Upon A Time In France)
(INTRO) The one and only time I saw the caravan of the Tour de France I was a little boy and that race had passed the border to reach my birth place in Italy. A winding road let me only intercept some moving frames of too many riders among them I couldn't acknowledge not even the yellow jersey of the day. All the racing bikes vanished in a hurry!
SET1 Tête de la course...
Prologue. The strenght of every cyclist comes from form or spurt. The form is a lasting balance of character, muscles and willing, it's human strategy. The spurt is an electric impulse like a divine gift, it's superhuman tactics. There is a terrific substitute for those quality, the bomb! Bombed cyclists will be sooner or later banished from the great Tour and deprived of the conclusive parade at the Champes-Elysées. Tough luck! Or retired men waiting only for entering the ancient Conciergerie Nationale?
Lexicon of champions --a remembrance list at random (1).
These days it's tough for anyone in cycling to avoid association with Lance Armstrong. In the last decade, he has become the dominant rider whose winning image has been sponsored by US Postal or Discovery Channel, equipped by Trek Bicycle Corp;, powered by Shimano Inc. etc... These companies are the Tour de France's other winners.
Inside the bike business, "it's extremely important to be associated with the winner of the Tour" as executives are used to say.
Until 1961 the competitors were grouped into the national teams. But bikemakers and parts suppliers should have gotten more importance and visibility to the end-users only later when the commercial marks began to be directly associated to the top racers. Most important équipes running and winning the Tour de France have been: Bic (1971, 73); Gan-Mercier (1972, 75); Kas (1974, 76); La Vie Claire (1985, 86); PDM (1988, 89); Banesto (1991, 99); Carrera (1992, 93); Festina (1994, 96); Once (1995, 2002); Kelme (2000, 01); T-Mobile (2004, 05) --source: www.lagrandeboucle.com.
All these brands were also shot ahead the pack for their promotion, and in exchange decisive for helping many sporting directors set the standard in reliability of the international teams leading a global competition like the Tour. The real marketing and sales power lies with the big companies...
The legend tells a buffet of champagne, oysters, and foie gras awaited the king of the cronomen, Jacques Anquetil, after he crossed the finish line as victor! At first sight, it seems unlikely. As surely as the bubbles in a champagne glass, the poor food made the day of most cyclers at the beginning of the XX century, and so later when some Italian pioneers ran the Tour de France being somehow the forunners of the modern clothing, feeding, and cycling. I'm not telling about the legendary icons of Italian ciclismo --Coppi and Bartali-- but the almost unknown Pavesi and Gerbi. The former invented the role of coéquipier and as indipendent racer he was used to steal food from the tables placed for the official teams refreshments... The latter was grand avide of honey, milk, and rice, the best sporting diet in the modern times too.
Or did you really believe a top racer closed that energy gap in the salle á manger while one was running some terrific stages of the Tour? The roads to hell were often unpaved (Mont Ventoux), while the Alps and the Pyrenees rose in southern France very faraway from the opulent hills of Champagne where chardonnay vineyards have been growing both in quality and celebrity.
These days about 100 delivery trucks are going before the racers along the route. They are transporting supplies and provisions, and all the merchandise to be promoted through the stages crowded with disenchanted people.
The true race will come later as the still uncertain play where the fighting will resolve between the individual destiny of the characters and the collective morality of the group... (Roland Barthes).
(OUTRO) Summing up, a resting man consumes about one K calorie per minute, while the same man producing an high competitive performance consumes up to 25 K calories.
Première 14 juillet 2006. En définitive 22 juillet.©2006 Roberto Dondi - www.dmlr.org
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