Spot the Leopard

Trying to follow pro cycling can be very challenging. Even more so than other, more mainstream sports like football. With football, from year to year the players change and move from team to team. But for the most part, the teams stay the same. In pro cycling, not only do the riders change teams, but the teams themselves change. The teams are based primarily on the fickleness of corporate sponsorship, so as these sponsors pack up their toys and go home, teams disappear. At the same time, new and existing sponsors slide willy-nilly into bed together, creating ridiculously hyphenated team names that remind me of my kids’ class lists.

It is silly and confusing, especially for a woman like me who is missing the man gene that allows the retention of limitless useless sports statistics. Last year I tried to remember the teams based on their jerseys, but thanks to all the sponsor-swapping, this year I will have to start all over again. I hope they all get gonorrhea.

Case and point, yesterday the new Team Leopard-Trek was announced, including the Brothers Schleck and Swiss star Fabian Cancellara. Not too shabby. Pro teams like to hold these big media announcements every year to show off their riders, their bikes, and their fancy new race kits. It’s kind of like a fashion show, but I doubt they would appreciate the comparison.

As much as I hate (HATE) the team name, the bikes and race kits are totally sweet. Check it out:

Very nice indeed. Not sure how Bianchi feels about Trek using their signature colour, but I suppose these things happen. Oops.

Like a fashion show, the riders get to change outfits and I was quite impressed with Fabian’s second number, which I would describe as “dressy hipster” complete with scarf tied jauntily around his neck. No doubt an attempt to outshine those pesky Schlecks that everybody seems to like so much.

I was impressed, that is, until I noticed that Frank Schleck showed up in THE SAME outfit!

Talk about awkward! Fabian seems unfazed, and even amused by the unfortunate coincidence… But wait!! It gets worse!

Apparently the entire team somehow managed to dress exactly the same! A fashion faux-pas of epic proportions! Here you see Fabian looking a little pissed, because now he just blends right into the crowd. I’d hate to be back on that team bus when the shit hits the fan.

But I suppose it could have been worse. In a room full of leopards, imagine being this guy. Contador perhaps?