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News Update – Pre-Tour edition: Ridley and Floyd Landis

Tour fever is getting, well, torrid here at the home offices of Competitive Cyclist. We were like everyone else in anticipating the hardest fought Giro since Visentini v. Saronni or maybe Hampsten v. Breukink, Instead what we got was unadulterated slaughter, with Basso’s margin of victory the largest since the Elizabethan era. As a consequence, it makes le Tour seem bigger than ever before -- as though it’s obligated to pack the excitement of two Grand Tours into one.

As we prepare ourselves for an unusual amount of time parked in front of the television (plus an irrepressible urge to cook duck confit), we have some Tour-related news we’d like to pass along to the people who make all the fun possible, that is, our customers:

Ridley Noah1. Ridley Bicycles. Many of you are already familiar with Ridley. They’re ridden by the powerhouse ProTour team Davitamon-Lotto. They race the Damocles model -- a beautiful monocoque carbon bike unique in that it’s won races in field sprints (Robbie McEwen), in the high mountains (Chris Horner), and in the rolling stages that take in the worst of both (Freddie Rodriguez). You’ll see Davitamon racing the Damocles in the 2006 Tour de France, plus the just-introduced ultra-aero Noah, as well as the Cronus carbon time trial frame. You might also be familiar with Ridley thanks to their amazing exploits on the cyclocross circuit -- 5 of the last 6 Pro World Championship titles have been won on Ridleys, not to mention umpteen World Cup races and Nat’l ‘cross titles.

Davitamon-Lotto riderGiven their beauty and their ride quality and their intense race pedigree, we’ve joined forces with Ridley Bicycles to become their exclusive on-line retailer for North America. Between our inventory and the extensive inventories housed at the American importer and at Ridley in Belgium, we can build up your dream bike (be it road, TT, or cyclocross) with minimal lead times, and you can rest assured that the bike you’ll own will be identical in every way to the ones being raced by McEwen, Cadel Evans, Erwin Vervecken, and the rest of the pros who rely on Ridley technology to bring world-beating performances within arms’ reach. And when you think about Ridley for yourself, think Competitive Cyclist.

Floyd T-shirt2. Floyd Fever. We must confess our awesome admiration here for the hardcore pro fan clubs that line the roadside of every Euro pro race. Where would life be without the Simoni Hooligans, the Mattan Ultras, or the rest of the homegrown tifosi who chant and drink and jump up and down all for the glory of the local legend gone big?

It’s a shame, then, that except for Nike’s lionization of The Lance, we’ve never seen anything similar for an American rider. We’re talking throat-quaking, blouse-hiking, possibly inebriated but certainly authentic LOVE of an Americano. The time is nigh, we think, to infuse some Euro passion into our support for our favorites. It’s in that spirit that we’ve made three snazzy T-shirts in tribute to our favorite U.S. rider: Team Phonak’s Floyd Landis. His legend was sealed on the Col de Croix Fry in the ’04 Tour, and we’re fired up with all the enthusiasm of a classful of 2nd graders as he approaches the ’06 Tour with an inside track for the maillot jaune. We made these T’s in very limited numbers, and given their Phonak-themed artwork (rumor is that Phonak will cede their title sponsorship of the team in ’07 to iShares), it’ll be as close to a collectible as you can get in the crazy sport. Click here to see all 3.