I thought I’d do something a bit fun for once instead of boring everyone to death, partially because I’m currently boring myself silly with a part of my dissertation project, which involves mapping every single start and finish town the Giro has ever passed through, mapping these, ranking them on their North/South aspect, ranking the years by the number of new stage towns added, then hopefully using all this to help prove the impact the Giro had on Italy was to help spread a great deal of ideas, money etc across the country as well as exporting and builidng the notion of Italy. Thrilling stuff eh. It certainly is when you’ve been putting new towns in for a week solid and still are only on 1995. Only 18 years to go…
So for some light entertainment, lets look at Filippo Pozzato. Pozzato will be on the excitingly named Lampre-Merida next year, whose classy sponsors make pre coated steel and bicycles (although in a clearly missed opportunity, Merida don’t use any of Lampre’s products in their bikes), and will be back after serving his short ban for working with Doctor Ferrari. Here he is with Ferrari:
Hilarious! Not. Anyway. Pozzato is one of those odd riders who is always in the news and always touted as a favourite for the big races and classics, but whom has never quite managed to pull it off. Take this year for instance – he finally said he was fed up of coming second and being called ‘the Shadow’, a name he got for spending most of 2007 to 2009 following Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert in the Tour of Flanders and Milan San Remo, ensuring that neither of them could win essentially, and neither did he, and came back from breaking his collarbone to take second at Flanders, probably ruing being up against 2012 Boonen rather then 2011 Boonen in the sprint. He then fell off at Roubaix, when Boonen had already stormed clear. To his credit, he has won two Tour stages and a stage of the Giro, as well as taking part in a team time trial win in the Vuelta to secure the triple. Oh, and Milan San-Remo in 2006:
However, he will be more fondly remembered for his stellar 2010, a year where he won just one individual race (and a TTT at the Vuelta a Burgos), a stage of the Giro, but it was stellar for other reasons, more precisely, his kit. For Pippo had won the Italian national championships in 2009, and so would be able to wear the Tricolore for the next year.
Of course, national kits are usually pretty simple – you just pick a design, the team and national federation approve it, and you wear it, although in recent years teams seem less keen on the the national jerseys and are sadly trying to hide the evidence of national triumph behind the sponsors logos (See Sagan at Liquigas, any Garmin rider, etc). But Pippo didn’t think this was good. Oh no.
First, he went with the fairly obvious – he just stuck the logos of his team, Katusha, onto the design of the winners jersey:
Even though he wore his normal shorts with this, it was still seen as a good effort. But Pozzato has other, grander plans. And so he changed the kit.
And so he and Katusha came up with this. The red shorts where a nice touch, and the Moscow skyline became the green of the Tricolore. Lovely, no? Not suprisingly, the Italian Federation weren’t all that pleased with the global Russian cycling project hijacking their national symbol of pride and nationhood as a silhouette of their capital’s skyline, and so whilst Pippo wore it for a while, he was eventually persuaded to change. Although to be honest that was probably the plan.
Thus, the most widely used version of his national kit came to be.
This was more like it. All white shorts, twinned with a white jersey with simple Italian Tubing on the shorts and sleeves edges, the prominent flag on his chest, the subtle details in the glasses and helmet…it was beautiful. Let’s bask in some pictures of it’s glory for a while.
One for the ladies there. You’d think with three designs already made, Pippo would be all fashioned out, even if he is notoriously fashion conscious:
Classy eh? Of course, he ruined this image somewhat in 2011 when he managed to get away with riding with this abomination on his face:
…but that’s besides the point. Pozzato was forced by unfortunate circumstances into another kit change, as the death of Franco Ballerini, who was killed in a rally car accident in the February of 2010. As the former Italian national coach and a great rider, who had won Paris-Roubaix twice, Pozzato honoured his memory by switching the colour of his kit from the glossy white to a mourning black.
Pozatto could only manage 7th on the day as Cancellara powered away to win the day, but produced a picture of his late friend in the Velodrome. He did wear the kit again at former teammate Tom Boonen’s charity Cyclo-cross in Mol as well, presumably just because the sand and mud would have blemished the white kit too much.
But still he was not done. At the Tour de France had come another redesign (yes, I realise my chronology is out a bit as this one technically came before the above two, but meh), this time really emphasising the Italian Flag:
It’s an unfortunate shame that he didn’t carry on with this one, as it’s spectacular, but I suppose on balance the other one is probably better.
So a mere five designs later, Pozzato’s reign was at an end – a sad sight to behold, although the Farnese Vini kit was good for a while – lets hope Lampre do something radical to theirs, or hope Pippo wins the worlds and gets to play around with Rainbows for 12 months. Now that would be exciting.
In the mean time, here’s some more mildly homoerotic Pippo images to feast your eyes on.