– A RECORD-EIGHT TDF TEAMS WILL TAKE THE START LINE ON FI’ZI:K SADDLES-
Pozzoleone, Italy – For the first time in Tour de France history, fi’zi:k saddles is dominating the peloton as the premiere saddle supplier and sponsor to participating Pro Tour and Pro Continental teams. Of the twenty select 2009 Tour de France teams, 8 will be riding fi’zi:k saddles.
Amplified support of professional teams comes not only the heels of increased global original equipment specification, but more so from increased demand from road teams for the premiere brand. As an example, one of the non-official-fi’zi:k-sponsored TdF Pro Tour teams, has twenty team members using their brand.
Many of the 2009 Tour de France teams will using the new ultra light Antares road saddle as well as the recently introduced Ares time trail saddle. Among those cyclists using the new Antares and the new Ares is defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre who, after testing the final Ares version earlier this summer said, “It’s now perfect. I definitely noticed the difference between the first and final versions.” Dave Zabriskie, US National Time Trial Champion, joins Sastre in choosing both the Antares and Ares; and most of the entire Columbia-High Road will be riding the Ares time trial saddle when they line up in Montpelier on July 7th in attempt to maintain their title as the world’s number one time trial team following their 2009 Giro d’Italia TTT victory.
While fi’zi:k has been sponsoring professional road teams since its start in 1996, its presence on Grand Tour teams has often numbered three or less. Thirteen years later, however, the brand is dominating the Tour de France. Teams riding fi’zi:k at the 2009 Tour de France include Agritubel, Cervelo Test Team, Cofidis, Columbia-Highroad, Francaise des Jeux, Garmin-Slipstream, Liquigas, and Milram.
While pro sponsorship often leaves little to choice for professional cyclists, diversity and quality can make the transition easier. Team Columbia’s Kim Kirchen and Michael Rogers are, perhaps, poster-boys for reluctance to change and for an all-in-favor-say-yes reaction to fi’zi:k’s new Antares road saddle.
Both Kirchen and Rogers were vocally concerned at the thought of transitioning to a new saddle brand after having used the same brand for the last five to ten years. Kirchen’s concern led to a requested clause that would allow him to option out if the change ‘didn’t work’ – not a common agreement at this level of sponsorship support. Rogers was just as adamant explaining, “I was really nervous about switching saddles because I’d been riding the same saddle for the last four to five years, the same brand pretty much since I was born. I wasn’t happy about the prospect of changing.”
For more information on the new fi’zi:k Antares and all fi’zi:k high performance saddles and accessories visit the website at www.fizik.it.