Rapha severs ties with Team Sky, cites “Market saturation”

November 5, 2015 § 24 Comments

Rapha announced today that it would end its partnership with Team Sky at the end of 2016. Cycling in the South Bay sat down with Chauncy Chalmers, CEO of Rapha, to talk about the divorce.

CitSB: What was it? Irreconcilable differences?

Chauncy: Oh, far from it. We’ve both benefited immensely from the partnership and are leaving on the best of terms. We plan to remain friends, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without Team SKY.

CitSB: And where are you today?

Chauncy: We are the dominant player in the pretentious bicycle clothing market. $345 for a pink plastic vest. See? We OWN it.

CitSB: Yes, but there’s more to your success than that, isn’t there? Rapha is regarded as one of the best fitting, most superbly designed clothing manufacturers in the bike industry, combining the understated English qualities of Savile Row with the hardman exploits of volcano dopers. That’s what they say over at Red Kite Prayer, anyway.

Chauncy: Don’t believe everything you read; that guy was nominated for Wanker of the Year. Our stuff is made by the same underpaid Chinese garment workers as every other label. And get this–the average Chinese worker makes $19.81 per day, just under $2.50 an hour. Pretty sweet mark-up, I’d say.

CitSB: Schweet, for sho. So why the break-up with SKY? Seemed like a match made in heaven. Pretentious British label hawked by marginal gains volcano dopers with funny accents that sound vaguely aristocratic to the untrained American ear, which can’t distinguish between the Queen’s English, Ozzie Jibberjabber, and Pig Latin.

Chauncy: Yes, the American market is what we’ve always referred to as “gullible.” And it certainly has paid the bills.

CitSB: So why the breakup? Faux English tailored cycling kits with a vaguely 70’s design in updated 21st Century Pink; volcano dopers who talk funny and millions of tubby Americans who think Rapha’s been around since Eddy Merckx.

Chauncy: The market is saturated.

CitSB: How can that be? There are ten new baby seals on the NPR every week, ripe for clubbing and for new Rapha kits and for 100% full carbon parts made of pure carbon. It’s only just begun!

Chauncy: Our market research shows that with the exception of New York, Los Angeles, and parts of North County San Diego, the pretentious asshole demographic is saturated and shrinking.

CitSB: Impossible.

Chauncy: It’s true. Most people who ride bicycles aren’t snobby twits who crave approval by being treated rudely and looked down on. What’s worse, most people who ride bicycles don’t really care what their bicycle clothing looks like.

CitSB: Blasphemy! How do you know that?

Chauncy: We took our team of designers to the Tour of Palm Springs last year to examine the market first hand. Three of our designers are still in therapy. It gets worse. We randomly sampled riders, asking them if they liked Wiggins better than Froome. The answer blew our mind.

CitSB: What did they say?

Chauncy: They all said the same thing: “Who?”

CitSB: Shocking. And so you’ve pulled the plug. What’s Team SKY going to be wearing for 2017 then?

Chauncy: It’s a secret, but I’ll tell you if you promise to keep it off the record.

CitSB: You can trust me.

Chauncy: They’ve hired one of your local guys here in LA to do their kits. Apparently one of the designs here has really caught their fancy.

CitSB: Which one is that?

Chauncy: Big Purple, or Orange, or something.

CitSB: Big Orange?

Chauncy: Yes, that’s the one. You know them? They must have a pretty understated look to catch Team SKY’s eye.

CitSB: Nope. Never heard of ’em.




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Froome, mad after being sad, now happy

July 19, 2013 § 22 Comments

After his frightening brush with sadness on Monday’s rest day, Tour de France leader Chris Froome became very mad on Tuesday. Froome, angry about challenger Alberto Contador’s “dangerous” riding which forced him off his bike near the end of Tuesday’s 16th stage to Gap, was still stewing about the incident six hours later when he posted a tweet expressing his irritation.

“Yesterday I was really sad about all the volcano doping allegations,” said Froome. “But today I’m mad. Contador’s dangerous riding was really dangerous. It was extremely dangerous, so much so that I could have gotten really badly hurt. That just makes me mad.”

When it was pointed out that, generally speaking, two hundred cyclists crammed onto French roads no wider than a tampon while racing shoulder-to-shoulder downhill at speeds exceeding 100 kph was a fairly dangerous endeavor, Froome reacted angrily and with a lot of madness. “I have a right to be mad about this. I think Contador was taking too many risks and evidently he did go a little too fast, he couldn’t even control his own speed and crashed. That put me in danger.”

Spanish madly react to Froome’s anger

Contador rejected Froome’s concerns, appearing to be mad that Froome was mad at him. “He is, how you say in English, a big pussy? Is true, I made the crash in front of him going a little too much fast, no bueno. Now he’s crying about peligroso? It’s the bike racing. Que pussy.”

Soon-to-be-Sir David Brailsford, babysitter of Team Sky and curator of the team’s Hello Kitty collection, was also very mad, despite being sad only a day earlier. “This makes me mad. Chris could have lost the Tour. Do you know how mad he would have been then, not to mention getting very sad again? He has ridden an amazing race. The others should be giving up, not pushing the pace on the downhill and somehow trying to gain a time advantage which makes Chris awfully mad. We talked about this amongst ourselves, and the whole team was mad. Just really mad. Angry mad.”

Teammate Richie Porte, who is hardly ever mad, was hopping mad. “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more,” said Porte in his thick Australian accent that sounded like a cross between English and a throat disease. “G’day mate, shrimps on the barbie and all that. Just because I’m a banana bender don’t mean these bities ‘n bludgers can act like a bounce on me mate, eh?”

Froome goes from mad to happy after Thursday’s queen stage on l’Alpe d’Huez

Despite being sad, then mad, Froome found himself feeling happy after Team Sky released his power data to Dr. Professor Jacques Tati, the respected French physiologist and comic film director. According to Tati, “Froome’s power profiles show what we would expect within the range of a human with a V02 max that is at the limit of what is possible for a human, although suspect for a gangly insect, which he may well be.”

Froome was very happy to hear Tati’s analysis. “I’m really happy to hear Dr. Tati’s findings and his take on it, and basically to back us up and say that these performances are very good and strong, clean, sporting performances. I’m not mad anymore, and I forgive Alberto. I am happy now.”

Dr. Tati pointed out that he had not concluded that the performances were clean. “I only said he was normal for someone who is completely abnormal. Whether he is clean or not, who knows?”

British cycling public slowly getting happy

As Froome’s lock on the 2013 Tour looks unshakeable, the cynical, sad, mad, and fundamentally grumpy British public has slowly shown signs of being happy about Froome’s happiness.

Nigel Rathbone, a waiter at the famed “Warm Beer and Fish” pub, was guardedly happy. “I s’pose I’m happy, yeh, if it means we beat the French at something. Yeh. Why not, eh?”

Cloretha Clammonger, a charwoman in the City’s toney central district, was also potentially happy. “I reckon I could be ‘appy, I could. I’d rather be grumpy, but you know Chris is just a South African, which isn’t really English, right? Now if he was a right good Englishman, I s’pose I’d be ‘appier than a whore at a cardinal’s convention, I would.”

Froome admits to “volcano doping,” WADA launches investigation

July 17, 2013 § 24 Comments

Lost in the press reports of rest day haircuts and predictions for the remaining stages, it took almost twenty-four hours in the news cycle for the World Anti Doping Agency to act on Tour de France leader Chris Froome’s shocking admission during a media interview.

When asked about the credibility of his ride up Mt. Ventoux, Froome said “My team-mates and I, we’ve slept on volcanoes to get ready for this.”

WADA officers immediately charged Froome with a “non-analytical” positive, a scenario in which a rider can be accused of doping based on circumstantial evidence, written or spoken admissions, or convincing evidence other than standard urine or blood analyses.

Jean-Paul Smails, Chief Inquistor for WADA, laid out the charges. “He’s admitted to volcano doping, which is a violation of Rule 2.281(a), Subsection 12, which states that ‘No athlete may sleep on or otherwise utilize volcanoes to enhance performance.'”

Team Sky boss David Brailsford reacted angrily. “You’re kidding me, right? There’s no way he volcano doped. He misspoke. They slept on a mountain, perhaps, but no one knew it was a volcano. We thought it was a large mountain. We checked it out with the Mallorcan authorities and they assured us it was a mountain, not a volcano.”

Froome also rejected the charge. “I’ll wait for the B sample to come back. There’s no way that was a real volcano, and if it was, it’s because someone slipped it into my meat. It was tainted Mallorcan meat.”

When pressed as to why he’d referred to it as a volcano if it really wasn’t one, Froome shot back. “‘Volcano’ is slang for ‘boner’ in the UK, maybe you Yanks don’t know that, eh? I was sleeping on my mate’s boner, which is like a mini-volcano, get it? Stupid Yank reporters, go learn y’self some English.”

The Mallorcan Meat Cooperative, a national meat marketing collective, angrily rejected Froome’s claims that its meat was tainted. “We handle our meat carefully, regularly, religiously almost. When our meat leaves our hands it’s guaranteed to be fresh, firm, and free from additives such as clenbuterol or volcano. Our legal counsel is looking into filing defamation charges against Mr. Froome for claiming that we mishandle our meat.”

WADA investigation gathers steam

Officials for the French AFLD and WADA insisted that they would pursue the investigation, but the UCI remained skeptical. “We don’t believe he volcano doped,” said UCI chief Paddy McQuaid. “Although his team did buy us a new volcano testing machine to catch other lava cheats, that has had no influence on our posture in the matter. We don’t treat the stars any differently from the routiniers.”

Francois Vichy de Foiegras of the AFLD disagreed. “Ee eez vocano doping, n’cest pas? Why else he sleeping on ze volcano? Le Mt. Venoux est un volcano aussi, et we believe zat he gets un avantage avec zees volcano doping.” Later that evening the Team Sky bus was searched by the forensic unit of the French National Anti Doping SWAT Team, but no magma was found, although investigators were seen carrying large plastic bags of rocks off the “Froome Wagon” along with what appeared to be most of the team’s Hello Kitty collection.

Links to Italy?

Froome has worked with notorious volcano doping physician Michele Ferrari, although both deny that the connection involves volcanoes. “I use him for his training plans,” said Froome. “He is a good man. He’s taught me so much about how not to blow, but nothing that involved a volcano, I can assure you.”

Ferrari also denied helping athletes such as Froome volcano dope. “I don’t do such a thing, but if I did, so what? A bit of volcano is no more dangerous than a liter of orange juice. Except for when Pompeii was obliterated by Vesuvius or Krakatoa. But that is completely different.”

At press time, Froome’s team physician, Bugsy Malone, provided Tour de France officials with a prescription for volcano enemas, although it had apparently been backdated to precede Froome’s mountaintop trip to Mallorca. “Chris had terrible saddle sores and a bloody anus. I prescribed the volcano cleanse for him in order to stop the drip and reduce the swelling.”

Team Sky has scheduled a press conference for 6:00 AM tomorrow to explain its official position regarding these allegations.

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