Friday, July 17, 2009

Cervelo - The little engine that could  - go check out why this little Toronto company (well, now based "officially" in Switzerland) have taken the cycling industry by storm.  Its a killer little story really.

Today their growing star won a stage in the Tour de France.  Henrick Haussler: 2nd in Sam Remo, 2nd in Tour of Flanders and now 1st in an epic Tour stage.  He's 24, that is just fucking wicked to me.  

So why am I talking about Cervelo not Haussler?  Because Cervelo is taking the world of cycling by the pills and giving it a squeeze.  Saxo Bank (formerly CSC) used Cervelo bikes since 2003 and won Liege Bastone Liege (Tyler Hamilton), Olympic gold (Cancellera), and the Tour (Carlos Sastre).  A new sponsor in Saxo Bank this year and team owner Bjarne Riis decided Cervelo should give a little more $$ to the pot.  Cervelo said, "wait, why do that without any control?  Lets just start our own team!"

BOOM - a cycling company sponsoring a pro team riding the Tour de France and taking its 2nd stage win today (Hushovd took their first stage in front of Olympic Stadium in Barcelona).

According to co owner Gerrard Vroom, cycling companies contribute 30% of all the funding to pro cycling.  Bikes, advertising, team dollars.  So, why not keep the budgets tight and go it alone?  Full control, more rider access, direct to rider feedback on product? So they do.  People laughed at first but make no mistake, Cervelo test team is now the envy of many pro cyclists.  They want in.  Now, I am sure Cervelo would love an Oracle type company to pony up $10MM with delight BUT the fact is, Cervelo did what no team has done in 40 to 50 years and its working.  I love it when a business turns a business model on its head and wins.  Vive Cervelo!

Look for Formula 1 to follow.  Do Ferrari, Mercedes, Honda and Mclaren really need Ernie Ecclestone and his antics?  Just sign contracts with courses and go it alone!

Sports is changing, Cervelo is leading the charge.

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