Roundtable: What do we do with Cannondale?

Our four experts offer not-so-expert opinions on which Slipstream crowdfunding package is best and if riders should jump ship.

Cannondale-Drapac raised almost $300,000 in the first 24 hours of its #SaveArgyle crowdfunding campaign, but the future of the team is still in doubt. Our panel of experts put on their thinking caps, then promptly took them off to answer these roundtable questions.

Who should be the title sponsor of Cannondale-Drapac next year?

Fred Dreier, @FredDreier: Ryan Air. When you’re balling on a budget, nobody helps you out quite like Ryan Air. Plus, my guess is the team already has a healthy Ryan Air frequent flyer account.
Andrew Hood, @Eurohoody: “People’s Team, presented by ….”
Spencer Powlison, @spino_powerlegs: On the podcast I suggested Walmart because the Walton heirs just bought Rapha. But I have a new take: Men’s Warehouse. How funny would it be if the famously well-dressed Jonathan Vaughters had to wear some ill-fitting polyester suits? Or… spin-zone… He gets involved to help create a new line of uber-fashionable clothing for skinny guys.
Caley Fretz, @caleyfretz: Going to stick with my VeloNews Podcast pick, here. Levi’s. Bring back the faux-denim lycra look, à la Marco Pantani’s Carrera squad.

Slipstream’s crowdfunding is structured so that a larger donation provides more perks and deeper access to the team. What should you get for, say, $10,000? What about $50,000?

Fred: OK, so I did like the old Cervelo Test Team concept of selling individual sponsorships to rich dudes who want access to pro cyclists. By that model, $10,000 would mean that Alex Howes is required to become your buddy. That means a set number of hangout dates plus mandatory appearances in your Instagram feed. If you cough up $50,000, then Rigo Uran can DJ your next office party and domestique for you on the Saturday group ride.
Andrew: For 10K, tacos with the riders. For 50K, a chance to drive the team bus up Alpe d’Huez.
Spencer: For $10,000, Vaughters will fly you to one destination of your choice in the continental U.S. (He’s a pilot after all.) For $50,000, he’d come pick you up and fly you back home.
Caley: For $10,000, I want three of Jonathan Vaughters’s favorite sweaters. For $50,000, I want to play Canadian Mike Woods in a game of ice hockey, but he has to let me win.

Now scroll through the actual donation options. Which one provides the best return on your investment?

Fred: As someone who has too much bike gear, I think the “Argyle Adventurer” packs the most punch.
Andrew: The $250 Adventurer — good deal if someone wanted to ride alongside the pros.
Spencer: Exclusive website access is only $25 for a whole year … not bad considering the CyclingTips VeloClub is $10 per month … So I’m tempted by the Argyle Admirer level. But I think I’ll splurge on the $100 Argyle Advocate so I can put my name on the site. Except I’ll come up with a humorous sobriquet like Seymour Butts or I.P. Freeley.
Caley: As NPR knows well, I am highly motivated by mugs. The $50 Argyle Insider team mug would be my jam. $250 for a tote bag is pretty good too, though.

If you were a rider on Cannondale-Drapac, would you hold off on seeking and signing for a new team? For how long?

Fred: It’s a tough call, and I think it depends on the level of the rider. I actually think the lesser riders should strike while the iron is hot and sign for a new team immediately, since they would be the ones most impacted by the team’s closure. Big stars, such as Uran and Vanmarcke, may actually have more time to buy in this scenario, since the major teams would happily open a spot for them. Of course, they also stand to lost the most amount of cash if they wait. In this scenario, I see myself as a guy who fetches water bottles, so I’d look elsewhere immediately.
Andrew: It’s every man for themselves when there’s blood in the water. This is a novel idea, but it might not work. Loyalty only goes so far this late in the season when a racing career is hanging in the balance. I’d hang on only until I received a firm offer.
Spencer: Nope, a bird in the hand is worth a bush full of #SaveArgyle stickers. I’d hop on board with any WorldTour team that would have me.
Caley: Tough call. I’d certainly be updating the resume and making a few calls. But I’d try to give JV a few weeks to try to pull off some magic.