The high cost of riding around in brightly-colored underwear
September 4, 2009 8:25 AM Subscribe
Why is (Radio) Shack -- a company that only markets to North Americans -- spending $20 million sponsoring Lance Armstrong and his team as he spends a year racing bicycles mostly in Europe? "Somewhere, someone has a Venn diagram showing the crossover between electronics geeks and cyclists. I’m sure those two sets have a lot of crossover
There are only twenty available slots for UCI ProTour
teams, the creme de la creme of bike racing -- eighteen were filled in the 2009, leaving two openings and only room for more
if an existing team decides against renewing, is disqualified or disbands.
(Radio) Shack's signing Armstrong is certain to ensure that publicity reaches beyond the fairly narrow market of American pro cycling enthusiasts, but whether that connotes positive publicity for the sponsor, or remains focused around Armstrong, is yet to be seen -- certainly the oligarchs of Kazakhistan didn't find their profiles improved among the American public while they supported Armstrong's previous team, Team Astana
. Also interesting to note are the debuts
of Team Sky
(as in the Murdoch-owned Sky
Satellite TV) and Skil-Shimano
(as in chain saws and fishing reels), which put in a surprisingly high profile performance as a wildcard team in this year's Tour de France.