Here’s a question I’ve been pondering for awhile (if it’s dumb, please forgive me):
What if you don’t like your sponsor’s products?
For example, 2010 Kona champion Mirinda Carfrae just signed a sponsorship deal with Felt and will be riding their DA bike for the foreseeable future — after years with Cannondale. Team Saxo-Bank, which recently stole Tour champ Alberto Contador, rides Specialized, but a mass exodus of talent, including the Schleck brothers, joined a team sponsored by Trek. Cycling is an incredibly fluid sport, so these kinds of team changes happen all the time. Well, what if you move to a team that uses a bike you just don’t like? Or your sponsor pulls out and you end up with a new one?
I’ve always thought equipment, nutrition, gear etc. are a very personal choice — maybe even more so for the pros. For example, I’m not a pro, but I run in Mizunos and haven’t found another brand or shoe that comes close in comparison. And I can only tolerate specific sports drinks, down to particular flavors. I suppose elite racers can have anything and everything tailored to their needs and often can choose their sponsors, but still, what if you just really like one brand over another to the point that it could make or break your race? Do you have to use Gu if it makes you sick? Etc. etc.
Note: I don’t have any individual sponsors, but I’m sure that if one came along and was willing to support my tri habit, I’d be all over whatever they had to offer. The Dream Team has a number of sponsors, however, so I’m looking forward to testing out some new gear!