Sunday, October 17, 2021
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Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 3


¡Hola! (You can tell Martin’s been coaching me – upside-down exclamation at the start there…). Saturday, and it’s official Saunier Duval team launch day. The TV cameras are gathering, the cars are being polished and the riders are playing musical clothing with one-another; the full delivery of kit hasn’t arrived from Castelli yet.

On the big run yesterday there were still plenty of “Prodir” logos, despite the fact that the Swiss pen manufacturers are no longer a sponsor.  So, it’s not just those British clothing suppliers who get the deliveries wrong.

Saunier Duval Team Launch
Piepoli wonders who to wind up today.

I’ve been busy with the interviews – Virginie Ducrot, the Saunier PR girl; her husband and vice president of team frame suppliers, Scott and team boss, Mauro Gianetti.

Saunier Duva
Virginie Ducrot-Geinoz, with little Emmylou.

Virginie has her baby with her, she seems very relaxed but she always remembers everyone’s name – and to arrange that interview for you.

Saunier Duva
A young Pascal Ducrot.

Pascal was a pro until 1990 when a bad crash in the last couple of kilometres of Het Volk poked two bones out through the flesh of his arm. He’s really into his job and despite the fact that his private, leisure and business lives are all intertwined, he never gets tired of talking about bikes.

Saunier Duva
Mauro early in his career.

Mauro was a pro for 17 years and has wins in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold to his credit. He always has time for you, despite the fact that he’s the man behind this giant undertaking.

Saunier Duva
Piepoli’s Saddle.

I was out taking more pictures of the bikes this morning, to support the Pascal interview and also the SRAM interview I did; the Scotts really are crackers.

The all-black look of last year was getting a tad tired and the new colour scheme is of ‘now’ as is the SRAM groupset.

Saunier Duval
Mega graphics.

They’ve been very bold with the graphics and it works well in my opinion, the SRAM logo behind the left hand crank is loud, but I like it.

It’s 9.00 pm – where did the day go?

After my morning pics and interviews, I was writing and emailing photos, up until the afternoon, outdoor photo sesh.

Saunier Duval
Smiling for the “battledress” shots…

There were two lots of shots; in “civilian” clothes and in “battle dress”. Then there were shots in the hotel lobby and individual shots.

Saunier Duval
…and for the civvies shots.

Some of the guys had to wear ‘Medilast’ socks for the shots, these are like the socks you wear on a plane to stop deep vein thrombosis or ladies wear after they have given birth – the theory is that they aid recovery after training too. Don’t start – I’m just repeating what I was told by the sponsors!

Saunier Duval
‘Medilast’ socks – not the best look, but if they work…

It was ‘hang about until the big presentation time’ after that. It was meant to start at 6.00, but this is Spain and it started – eventually. Like Virginie said; “just one time I would like to have a presentation in Switzerland, so it would run on time!”

I’m writing this on the BlackBerry as I email pics from the PC, it’s a solid connection but not the fastest, so there’s time to tap-away between batches.

Saunier Duval
Riccardo Ricco, lovely fellow, preparing for a six hour ride.

I was meant to have an interview with Riccardo Ricco: after the schmoozing – but he vanished. Virginie says she’ll track him down for me and we can do it at dinner, we’ll see…

…Well, I met the ‘great man,’ he looks about 12 and if he fails as a cyclist (unlikely I know, unless something happens…) he’s certainly not going to make it on the ‘X-Factor’ – “you’ll need to work on that personality son, and lose the sneer!”

Enough said, he’s an attacking rider and we need more of those, so I’ll take the blame for the lacklustre interview. At least I sussed why he’s called ‘The Cobra’ – there’s an obvious answer, but we’ll avoid it!

Saunier Duval
Just one more tiny wafer-thin pastry sir?…

Emailing again, I need shots to support all these words, an article on the internet with no pics is no use to man nor beast.

One more batch and ‘I’m done’ as we say in Pezspeak. ‘Later, dudes !’ (sorry).

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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