“No matter how hard you try, it is (almost) impossible to top them.”
World Championships: Elite Men TT
I have to say that I’m very lucky. This is only my third TT for 2003 and it would normally only be a total of 2 TTs (with my trade team — US Postal) if I had not worked the worlds for the US Federation (national team event) here at the worlds.
This is probably the most relaxed at a TT I’ve ever been. With only two riders per nation it meant Geoff and I only had to take care of one rider each. Geoff chose Bobby Julich and I got to take care of Levi Leipheimer. Like myself Levi seemed to be super relaxed. Maybe he seemed relaxed but actually really nervous inside. Regardless, it was good to see him so laid back this morning and all the way up to his start.
The UCI gives each team one car that is exactly the same for each team. Here at this years worlds, it is a basic white 4 door Chevy car with a basic roof rack. In Europe (as last year) we use ASO/Tour de France cars with custom racks that were able to carry 7 bikes and 5 pairs or wheels. Since it was not cost effective for the UCI to ship cars here the organizer got Chevy as a car sponsor and a separate car top bike rack sponsor. With only 4 bikes, and no wheel forks it meant for a difficult decision to hold spare bikes (for the upcoming RR on Sunday).
For today’s TT it is easy to carry one riders worth of equipment. But our problem was both of our riders were to go off in the second wave so two different cars were necessary. Lucky the T-mobile women’s team caravan car is here with us so we got to use that for today in addition to the UCI provided car. In an odd situation we had a white UCI car supporting Bobby (Team Telecom trade team — soon to be called Team T-Mobile) and the T-Mobile car following Levi (Rabobank trade team). It would have been cool to have the (pink and black) T-Mobile car following Bobby with his pink and black Pinarello spare bike on top.
With a sort of barely adequate race ready car rack on the caravan car we had a plan to one up everyone here. So we took the custom race ready rack off the USA/T-Mobile car and put them on the UCI provided car. This killed two birds with one stone. First and foremost it gave us a sturdy race ready so we would not loose hairs wondering if bikes would stay on top. Second it would be way cool compared to the other teams that had UCI provided unchanged cars and racks. Well, we (US Mechanics) were surpassed in the cool factor today. The Italians showed up with a European made (probably ASO/Tour made) custom rack. Like last year it also holds 7 bikes and 5 pairs of wheels. I had heard that they had it shipped here and were grinding, drilling and generally fabricating things to get it bolted to their car. And it was cool. I wonder how much it cost to ship that beast of a rack here. I’d guess at least$500 or $600 just to get it here. And the same to get it home. That is a huge budget just for a cool rack but they succeeded in topping every team here including us. So, no matter how hard you try, it is (almost) impossible to top the Italians.
Damm pasta eating, Fiat driving, pointy shoe wearing, espresso drinking Italians!