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Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, September 24 - 28, 2007
Part 7: Technically not technical at Interbike
While there are plenty of items to measure, elements of the periodic table to discuss, and grams to be shaved at the Interbike trade show, there are other parts of the show that are decidedly less technical. Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski takes us on a stroll around the show for the less technical highlights.
Make this one out to...
One of the most popular parts of the Interbike trade show is the potential to meet and greet with the stars of cycling. And because the show is (technically) closed to the public, the opportunity is only open to a select few. This year saw a slew of winners, both current and former, from the Tour de France to Paris-Roubaix and points in between. Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) had one of the longest lines as he signed autographs at the Giro booth. However, his line also moved the quickest as the strict 'no personal items and no personal requests' rule, as well as the language barrier, kept things humming along. Nevertheless, Contador was all smiles the entire time.
Three other members of the Discovery Channel team, Levi Leipheimer, Tom Danielson and Tony Cruz, were all at the Powerbar booth. Danielson's mere presence alone was impressive given the fact he had surgery on his shoulder a few days earlier. He said that he originally wasn't planning on coming, but the boredom of sitting on the couch would have been too much for him, so he packed his pain pills and was signing autographs like a true pro.
All three riders will be on new teams next year, with Danielson and Cruz already confirmed to Slipstream and BMC, respectively, but Leipheimer stayed quiet about his destination. However, a recent article in a Utah paper hinted at the likely location.
Former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond was also on hand at his LeMond Fitness booth, and it looked like the training miles he puts in with his now-racing younger son has done him well. Current Paris-Roubaix champion Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) was another popular signature, and he also made a special visit to Cervélo's booth at the OutDoor Demo to hang out with a few top dealers. Axel Merckx and Saul Raisin were signing autographs at nearby booths, with Merckx taking a break to come over and joke around with Raisin, saying "I don't really feel sorry for you!" Raisin was signing copies of his new book while Merckx was signing his last autographs as a professional.
And the winner is...
Slipstream Sports announced the winner of its very popular jersey design competition. Joe Yule, a graphic designer and avid cyclist from Redondo Beach, California, took the honors, besting the other five finalists and more the 600 total entries in the process. Director Sportif Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews that the fan voting for the finalists totaled more than 10,000 and that the margin of victory was "extremely close".
The winning design may not be the actual 2008 team kit however, at least not in its current form. The contest rules clearly state that the winner designer "will work hand-in-hand with Slipstream/Chipotle to finalize the official team jersey for the 2008 season" so it still remains to be seen what the final product will ultimately look like.
"Oh no you didn't!"
Sock Guy had a new technical offering in the booth this year, a set of arm warmers with ribbed stitching and reinforced elbows. That was all fine and good as it provides a new option in the arm warmer area (with knee and leg warmers a strong possibility based upon the success of the arm warmers). But that was not the most exciting item, as a pair of limited edition socks honoring a certain 'questionable' doctor overshadowed everything else. Think what you like of the figure that lies at the heart of the ongoing Operacion Puerto battle, but Sock Guy sounds off its opinion loud and clear: socks adorned with a devil on the cuff and the phrase, "Dr. Fuentes, the pope of dope", stitched on the bottom were the talk of the show on Friday.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews.com