Rudy Project wearer Jan Ullrich
Ever since Greg LeMond turned up to the Tour with half his face hidden
under the original Oakley Eyeshades, the Tour has been a hard-fought showcase
for the latest and greatest from the world's sunglasses manufacturers.
According to Italian eyewear maker Rudy Project, the most popular sunglasses
at this year's Tour are made by, well, Rudy Project. Fair enough, you'd
hardly expect Rudy to make a fuss if someone else's glasses were adorning
more faces; as well as being the official eyewear of Le tour, Rudy is
equipping no fewer than 45 riders this year - 24 percent of the peloton.
Rudy Project users include Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile); all of the Rabobank
and Lampre-Caffita teams; most of Saunier Duval (Juan Manuel Garate, David
Canada, Nicolas Fritsch, Christopher Horner, Leonardo Piepoli, and Manuel
Quinziato); most of FDJ (Bradley McGee, Baden Cooke, Carlos Da Cruz, Bernhard
Eisel, Philippe Gilbert, and Thomas Lövkvist); Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit
Agricole); Thierry Marichal and Cédric Vasseur (Cofidis); and Robert Förster
Lance Armstrong's Oakley protos
Number two on the list, with 17 percent of the peloton, is Oakley, and
the Big O has been the subject of quite a few reader emails from people
wanting to know about the white shades Lance Armstrong has been wearing.
According to Chris Brewer, Cyclingnews' embedded reporter on
the Discovery team bus, they're an as-yet-unnamed prototype and Armstrong
has the only set.
Brewer pigeonholed Kiko Garcia, a former domestique for the Spanish ONCE
team and now one of the European marketing managers for Oakley. "The glasses
Lance has on are prototypes - he is the only person who currently has
these," Garcia told Brewer. "But I keep getting emails every day from
people all over who want to know where they can get a pair of these -
so hopefully they will go into production soon."
We've also been asked why Armstrong wasn't wearing sunglasses for the
team time trial. According to Garcia, the new shades sit right in his
vision when he's in an aero tuck.
A significant new player in this hyper-competitive category is Specialized
- which entered the eyewear field this year with its photochromic glasses.
The California-based company already accounts for 11 percent of the field
thanks to its sponsorship of the Domina Vacanze and Davitamon-Lotto teams
(such as Fred Rodriguez) and of course, Gerolsteiner riders Levi Leipheimer
and Michael Rich, as well as Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile) . Specialized
sponsored riders are using the ARC and new Helix models. Both the Davitamon-Lotto
and Domina Vacanze squads are also using Specialized helmets.
(Specialized is also a prize sponsor of the Cyclingnews le Tour
Game - with a pair of either the new Arc or Helix models on offer
as the daily stage prize.)
Dave Z has made Smith visible in
Six eyewear makers account for the next 30 percent of the Tour peloton,
with five percent each: Smith (CSC), Spiuk (Illes Balears), Zero RH+ (Fassa
Bortolo), Cebe (Liberty Seguros), BBB (Quick Step), Nike (Bouygues Telecom),
and Briko (Liquigas). The remaining nine percent are, apparently, 'others'.
The Smith eyewear has been worn most prominently by Dave Zabriskie and
other members of Team CSC.