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Tales from the Peloton, February 6, 2006

Pro cycling teams unveil 2006 hair strategy

Ullrich's aero locks
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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Mallorca, January 22 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) - Cycling enthusiasts around the globe reacted extremely positively to the January 22 T-Mobile team presentation, wherein the 29 members of the men's team and 10 members of the women's team were announced.

More importantly, however, T-Mobile also took this opportunity to reveal Jan Ullrich's new hairdo.

"This hairdo represents the significant investment we have made in Ullrich," said team manager Mario Kummer. "These curls have been scientifically designed to be loose enough to blow elegantly in the wind as he attacks on mountain climbs, but not so loose that they unravel under the intense pressure of a gruelling time trial. They are long enough to look cool, but not so long that they will poke out of his helmet and look clownish. They have been demonstrated in wind-tunnel tests to be the most aerodynamic curls known to man.

Continued Kummer, with evident pride: "His curly, highly moussed locks clearly state, 'I am the team captain. You must ride in support of me, and in support of my hair.' I only wish that we had thought of this hair before last year's Tour de France; perhaps we could have kept Vinokourov in check. You will note," the manager pointedly concluded, "that this year Andreas Klöden does not have such a hairdo."

Team Discovery Channel reacts

Johan Bruyneel, directeur sportif of Team Discovery Channel, lost no time in preparing his team's response to the new threat Ullrich poses. "Acknowledging the brilliance of Ullrich's new haircut," said Bruyneel from the Team Discovery Solvang camp, "I have tasked one of my most seasoned riders, Viatcheslav Ekimov, to counterattack with a new hairstyle which I myself have designed.

"As you can see," said Bruyneel at a hastily-arranged press conference this past week, "Eki's hairstyle is still short up top and on the sides, so as to not interfere with his riding. In the back, however, his hair is considerably longer, and now nearly touches his shoulders. I firmly believe this haircut will effectively neutralize Ullrich."

Others, however, are not so optimistic.

"It's a mullet," said Lance Armstrong, who remains actively involved with Team Discovery Channel operations. "Bruyneel has sent Eki to chase down Jan with a freakin' mullet. No way is that going to be enough.

"I'm just glad that I'm retired," said a concerned-looking Armstrong, pensively running a hand through his (rather pedestrian) close-cropped hair. "I mean, I've always said that Ullrich was my greatest opponent. With that new hairstyle, well, I don't know." Armstrong paused for a moment, weighing his words. "To tell the truth, I don't think I could compete with that."

Tour teams scramble

Reacting to the Ullrich hairdo bombshell, pro teams are now quickly putting their own 2006 hair strategies.

Team CSC has announced its intention that all team members will grow the same haircut: a short, spiky style, with frosted tips. "We train as a team, we race as a team, and we will now style our hair as a team," said team manager Bjarne Riis.

Euskaltel-Euskadi is staying tight-lipped about its own Tour de France hair strategy, although rumours gravitate around a specially designed new hair follicle designed especially for the team. If these rumours are to be believed, the Euskaltel-Euskadi team will be sporting hairdos up to 15% lighter and 10% more fashionable than comparable hairstyles.

Lampre-Caffita and Bianchi-Liquigas have each extended Mario Cipollini lavish offers to come out of retirement. Regarding these offers, a spokesman for Cipollini said, "While Super Mario has not ridden his bike in several months, I can assure you that his hair is every bit as glorious as it has ever been. If he so chooses to come out of retirement, I can assure you that he will not disappoint."

Phonak, in an act of desperation has hogtied Floyd Landis and shaved off his goatee. "Look, nobody has ever liked Floyd's goatee," said a source close to Phonak, on the condition of anonymity. "And now with that new look Ullrich's got, we were put in full-on damage-control mode, man. That scruffy thing had to go."

Ullrich: Ready to Ride

Ullrich himself has approached the subject of his new haircut with his usual modesty, "It is an honour for me to wear this very fashionable hairdo for T-Mobile, and I hope to do it justice with my riding. I believe that with training, focus, and the support of my team, my hair and I will emerge victorious in this year's Tour de France."

Elden Nelson blogs as the Fat Cyclist each weekday, where he says pretty much any old thing that pops into his head, with complete disregard for accuracy or truth. Hey, at least he's honest about his dishonesty.

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