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Stage 6 Tech Talk: It’s all in the placement

Ya know, it’s important to be noticed. Sure, it’s great for everyone, fans included, for riders at the Tour de France to have good equipment. The riders go faster with a higher margin of safety with properly designed equipment. But it doesn’t do the equipment sponsor any good if no one knows whose equipment they are using. And sometimes, it takes someone unfamiliar with the intricacies of the sport to point out the very obvious. A case in point involves the winningest rider in both the Tour and the Giro this year, Fassa Bortolo’s Alessandro Petacchi. Everyone knows that Petacchi won six

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By Lennard Zinn

Petacchi made a mark at the Giro... did Briko?

Petacchi made a mark at the Giro… did Briko?

Photo: Graham Watson

Ya know, it’s important to be noticed.

Sure, it’s great for everyone, fans included, for riders at the Tour de France to have good equipment. The riders go faster with a higher margin of safety with properly designed equipment.

But it doesn’t do the equipment sponsor any good if no one knows whose equipment they are using. And sometimes, it takes someone unfamiliar with the intricacies of the sport to point out the very obvious.

A case in point involves the winningest rider in both the Tour and the Giro this year, Fassa Bortolo’s Alessandro Petacchi.

Everyone knows that Petacchi won six stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia. Briko executives were thrilled. Briko staff were high-fiving each other seeing one of their sponsored riders getting so much press.

However, a friend and casual fan pointed out to a Briko Hard Goods Production Manager, Charlie Hancock, that unless you were familiar with the shape of a Briko helmet, you could not tell its brand in finish photos.

Petacchi is at the Tour... and so is Briko

Petacchi is at the Tour… and so is Briko

Photo: AFP

Sure, everyone saw the logo of clothing sponsor Pearl Izumi. It popped up – and into photographers’ view finders – whenever the man from Fassa Bortolo raised his arms (and opened his hands) to celebrate a win.

Sure enough, Hancock looked at the finish-line photos and every one of them was taken from the front. Briko’s stickers adorned the sides of the team’s helmets.

Needless to say, before the Tour, Hancock applied Briko stickers to the front sides of team Fassa’s helmets… just in time for a string of wins that, as of Friday, has reached four.

This coming Monday evening, July 14, Hancock will again be at the Tour, delivering new helmets (with stickers on the front) to the other Briko-sponsored team in the Tour, the Vini Caldirola formation of Freddy Rodriguez and Stefano Garzelli.

In a further effort to make sure Caldirola’s Briko association is identifiable as well as classy, the riders will be getting Briko casual eyewear to complement their racing sunglasses.

Another important function of a team sponsorship is product research, and getting rider feedback is key, something that Briko, as well as other sophisticated product sponsors, will endeavor to do during the Tour. Product sponsors employ people whose job is to look after teams, find out what riders want, what they like and don’t like, and report back to the company.

In Briko’s case, Tommaso-the-eyewear-man, and Marco-the-helmet-man fill these important roles. But sometimes it is important to have someone who does not know the sponsors, the products, and racing in general, to point out what those who do know cycling might fail to notice.

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