Thomas Dekker hangs up cleats, enjoys new-found independence

March 21, 2015 § 13 Comments

Thomas Dekker retired from the pro peloton yesterday, bringing to a close one of the most illustrious potential careers in professional cycling. Cycling in the South Bay sat down with him on the park bench next to the one he normally sleeps on to talk about what’s next.

CitSB: So you’ve decided to retire?

TD: Yes. It was a really hard decision and I agonized over it for a long time. It was so tough to make up my mind but eventually I knew it was the right thing. Sometimes when you’re turning something over in your mind for a long time, seems like there’s no good answer, then bang–the answer presents itself.

CitSB: Couldn’t find a team, huh?

TD: Oh yes, that was huge. You can’t imagine how tough it is to ride as a professional today without a team.

CitSB: Pretty expensive?

TD: Super expensive. Then there’s the whole thing about getting your own bottles, driving your own car as the DS, giving yourself massages, and of course being your own domestique and lead-out train. It’s very hard to do.

CitSB: You’re still not that old compared to, you know, real bike racers like Jens Voigt. Why do you think your career ended so soon?

TD: I’m older than Andy, remember. He quit at age 29.

CitSB: True, but he has a bike shop he’s going to open. So that was probably extra motivation for a former Tour de France champion to go ahead and retire. You’re not opening a bike shop, are you?

TD: No, but I think the main difference is that guys like Andy and I were from a different generation.

CitSB: How so?

TD: We grew up using massive amounts of drugs from an early age. Devoid of natural talent, work ethic, or drive, we were picked early by our federations’ sports-industrial complex and earmarked for success. Sheltered, pampered, overpaid, and feted, we grew up thinking that bike racing meant cranking out good numbers in a lab and winter training meant withdrawing oxygenated blood in December for later use in July.

CitSB: And you mean that there was more to bike racing than that?

TD: Not initially. Come on, we crushed it before they started cracking down on Lance.

CitSB: What was that thing with the hour record?

TD: I was hoping that someone would see how fast I was and offer me a contract. Simple. Kind of like Horner signing on with that junior high development squad and only doing the local CBR crits. I like that guerilla marketing stuff. “Grand Tour champion sprints for water bottle prime.” Freaking cool. Some big team is gonna snap that guy up soon.

CitSB: Surely some teams showed interest?

TD: Nope.

CitSB: What do you chalk that up to?

TD: As Jonathan Vaughters said a couple of years ago, I’m sort of an immature asshole.

CitSB: I think his words were “arrogant prick” and “hugely insecure guy.”

TD: I think that’s pretty close to “immature asshole.”

CitSB: Fair enough.

TD: So yes, that probably had something to do with me not getting another ride.

CitSB: What are your plans for the future?

TD: (Waves hands at park bench) This is the future, mate.

CitSB: Wow. These steel armrests must be pretty uncomfortable to rest your head on at night.

TD: Yes, but you know what? My whole life up to now was dominated by cycling, but I do not want to depend on my form, my equipment, my team, anyone or anything any longer. My cycling career was beautiful, ugly, intense, and edifying. I’m ready for a new step. Without my bike.

CitSB: That’s pretty noble, but as my dad used to say, how are you gonna eat?

TD: Could you lend me five bucks?

CitSB: Sure.

TD: Thanks.



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Pro Cycling: a sponsor’s dream come true

May 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

By now you’ve saved up a few dollars in your company’s bank account, or squirreled away some cash as a result of your recycling business. So you’re thinking about expansion. About marketing. Fact is, you love cycling. It’s your passion. Why not marry Peter with Paul? Or, ah, Peter with Suzie if you’re in North Carolina?

Maybe now is the time to bring your brand recognition to the next level by sponsoring a pro bike squad.

But first, let’s do a little research. Below is a list of the sponsors for teams entered in the 2012 Giro d’Italia. Take the quiz to get an idea of how well cycling sponsorship dollars correlate to improved brand recognition, and then make your sponsorship decision accordingly.

1. Lampre-ISD. Years as a pro sponsor: 21
Lampre’s primary business is…
a. Lamprey eels
b. Semiconductors
c. Prefinished steel sheet materials
d. Blood doping products

2. AG2R La Mondiale. Yeas as a pro sponsor: 12
AG2R La Mondiale’s primary business is…
a. Agricultural “twools”
b. Euro bailout funds
c. Insurance
d. Moondials

3. Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela. Years as a pro sponsor: 12
Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela’s primary business is…
a. Secret Service hookers
b. The “Chavez” style hairpiece
c. Toys
d. Doping products

4. Pro Team Astana. Years as a pro sponsor: 6
Astana’s primary business is…
a. Doping products
b. Doping products
c. Doping products
d. Doping products

5. BMC Racing. Years as a pro sponsor: 6
BMC’s primary business is…
a. Bicycle frames
b. Bowel Movement Calipers
c. Tissues and diapers for Cadel Evans to cry and poop into
d. Multi-angle mirrors to make Taylor Phinney appear small enough to win a Grand Tour

6. Colnago-CSF Inox. Years as a pro sponsor: 30
Colnago-CSF Inox’s primary business is…
a. Bike frames/Industrial valves
b. Bike frames/Industrial centrifuges
c. Bike frames/Industrial whinges
d. Bike frames/Vacuum cleaners

7. Euskaltel-Euskadi. Years as a pro sponsor: 11
Euskaltel-Euskadi’s primary business is…
a. Telecom
b. Pharma
c. Vacuum cleaners
d. Orange

8. Farnese Vini-Selle Italia. Years as a pro sponsor: 4
Farnese Vini-Selle Italia’s primary business is…
a. Wine/Bike seats
b. Winemaking barrels/Bike seats
c. Wine drunkards sniffing bike seats
d. Doping products

9. FDJ-Big Mat. Years as a pro sponsor: 9
FDJ-Big Mat’s primary business is…
a. Gambling/”Big” porn
b. Gambling/Plus-sized yoga equipment
c. Gambling/Building materials
d. National Excuse Infrastructure Development to Support Hypotheses Why the French Can’t Win Real Bike Races

10. Garmin-Barracuda. Years as a pro sponsor: 6
Garmin-Barracuda’s primary business is…
a. GPS devices/Security-networking-storage-cloud services
b. StageOne moving billboards/Eating little fish
c. Anti-doping products/Anti-doping PR services
d. Sideburns/Vests

11. Orica GreenEdge. Years as a pro sponsor: 1
Orica GreenEdge’s primary business is…
a. Blowing shit up
b. Dastardly chemicals
c. Adjunct products for strip mining
d. All of the above

12. Katusha Team. Years as a pro sponsor: 4
Katusha’s primary business is…
a. Promotion of Russian cycling
b. Defending Antonio Colom’s analytical positive
c. Defending Christian Pfannberger’s analytical positive
d. All of the above

13. Liquigas-Cannondale. Years a pro sponsor: 14
Liquigas-Cannondale’s primary business is…
a. Licking gas products/Bike frames
b. Liquified gas products/Bike frames
c. Hair care products for Ivan Basso/Bike frames
d. Oakley frame designs/Bike frames

14. Lotto Belisol. Years as a pro sponsor: 29
Lotto Belisol’s primary business is…
a. Gambling/Door and window frames
b. Gambling/Tanning booths
c. Pine-scented cleaner for large bellies
d. Doping products

15. Movistar. Years as a pro sponsor: 2
Movistar’s primary business is…
a. Movie stars
b. Telecom
c. Residential and commercial moving services
d. Doping products

16. Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Years as a pro sponsor: 9
Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s primary business is…
a. Doping products/Laminate flooring
b. Doping products/Dance lessons
c. Doping products/Total Domination of the Spring Classics
d. Doping products/Doping products

17. Rabobank. Years as a pro sponsor: 17
Rabobank’s primary business is…
a. Usury
b. Contract bank robbing services
c. A long history of organized doping
d. A place where busy, upwardly mobile, professional single men and women can meet for lunch without committing to anything more than a casual meal and a blowjob in the bathroom

18. RadioShack-Nissan. Years as a pro sponsor: 2
RadioShack-Nissan’s primary business is…
a. Gemcracky crap/Gemcracky cars
b. Cancer awareness programs/Cars that wish they were still called “Datsun”
c. Hideously ugly team kits/Sushi

19. Sky. Years as a pro sponsor: 1
Sky’s primary business is…
a. Blue sky
b. Satellite broadcasting
c. Brad Pride Parade organization and logistics
d.  Yawn. Doping.

20. NetApp. Years as a pro sponsor: 1
NetApp’s primary business is…
a. Cross-domain analysis and advanced analytics to help customers manage, optimize, and plan performance and utilization across their data center infrastructure
b. Two variants of Data ONTAP; Data ONTAP 7G and a nearly complete rewrite called Data ONTAP GX, based upon grid technology acquired from Spinnaker Networks; software product lines comprising one OS-Data ONTAP 8, which will fold Data ONTAP 7G onto the Data ONTAP GX cluster platform
c. Headaches galore
d. A bunch of Sunnyvale tech geeks who get dropped on the local Saturday ride and want their revanche as owners of a UCI pro team

21. Saxo-Bank. Years as a pro sponsor: 5
Saxo-Bank’s primary business is…
a. Saxo-Usury
b. Saxo-Thuggery
c. Saxo-Fraudery
d. Saxo-Dopery

22. Vacansoleil-DCM. Years as a pro sponsor: 4
Vacansoleil-DCM’s primary business is…
a.  Luxury camping holidays/Farm supplies
b. Luxury auto rentals/Farm animals for “niche” videos
c. Poverty camping holidays/Farmers’ daughters
d. Poverty ocean cruises/Dolphin Care Mannequins

Well, how’d you do? Ready to sink some money to increase your brand recognition?

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