Up The Road

Early days: Trek and Astana

Astana_bike_angle

Trek announced on Wednesday afternoon that we will be supporting the Astana pro cycling team for the next few years.  Some superfans had speculated we were up to something since both Johan and Levi spent time at Trek in recent months but for most it was new information.

We had a solid relationship with Johan during the USPS and Disco days but that relationship has grown even stronger since embarking on the Astana journey.  John Burke invited Johan to Trek just after the Tour of Missouri race in September with then intention of saying thanks for all the race success and bike development help.  That visit unexpectedly turned into a 3-hour negotiation and an eventual handshake deal in support of Johan’s re-born Astana program. 

Since then it’s been all hands on deck re-building and re-thinking the support network necessary for programs of this size and caliber.  The behind the scenes effort here at Trek is enormous.  We were starting from zero since Discovery bikes and clothing are now obsolete.  Same goes for press kits, photo libraries, point of purchase dealer programs, our website, print ads...

There have been a few versions of the team bike tossed about within the design department but the one we chose was the clear winner.  The bike in the photos you are seeing out on the internet is the “pilot” paint job and is all paint – no decals or pin striping.  It took 15 hours to craft.  It’s Levi’s size so we sent it to him for photo shoots.  Lucky man.

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The jersey art has not been released yet but there are stories about its creation, too.  The very first version was almost a home run.  Our own staff, John Burke, Johan, nearly everyone gave it their blessing.  We were blown away by this seeming triumph since past jersey selection processes have been plagued with the trials of revision after revision.  But it was not meant to be this time around either and a cultural taboo westerners could not have foreseen stopped the presses.  Seems the Kazakhs don’t like the color black.  The majority of that first jersey design was black.  Back to the design table.

Additional jersey design difficulties arose while relaying changes back and forth between the designer and the Kazakhs.  Their Kazakh-Russian feedback would go to Eki who would pass it to Johan who would pass it to Ben (Trek’s team liaison) who would pass it to the designer.  Reverse that for feedback going the other way.  It was easy to lose the message along the way.  In the end it has taken 62 revisions to get the jersey where we all can agree.  That has to be some kind of record.  The team's kit will be relaeased in a month or so.

Someone from Trek will be at the team presentation in Astana,Kazakhstan in early January.  We’ll make every effort to publish a photo album from that trip.

The team’s complete roster has yet to be made public but Trek is excited about working with so many new-to-us nationalities.  We are certain to learn a few things along the way.

A majority of the team is in Javea, Spain this week for an orientation camp.  Ben Coates is there, too, ensuring that the mechanics have what they need to get the riders up and running.  Since nearly all the mechanics came from Discovery, Ben walked into a somewhat familiar situation.  I have yet to see photos on the web from random journalists or superfans that have captured what’s going on in Spain but it won’t be long before photos surface.  Ben arranged delivery of Madone 5.2 Pro fit fuselages for the Javea camp and SRAM has been on hand to make sure the bikes tune up nicely.  Watch for Ben’s travel tales elsewhere on this blog site.

Keeping a lid on our connection to Astana has been fun.  I would have thought more fans and journalists would have figured it out sooner but no one in particular made the connection.  Perhaps I have more interest in Trek supporting a pro team than most since Trek has benefited so much from this kind of partnership in the past but I’m a little surprised that more people didn’t show interest.

What happens next?  From where I am sitting, Trek will likely have to inform all our dealers about the Astana team.  Then we might get a few queries from journalists or perhaps some interviews will be requested.  And we have to deliver a ton of bike parts to the team over the next few weeks.  Team camp in Albuquerque will be in late January so there will be some planning involvement there.  Then the Tour of California comes to town.  Stay tuned – there’s more to come.

Comments

Gary Mickel

I have more of a question than a comment since I am glad to see that Trek and Astana have come together as a team , I think this is a good fit as far as the Team goes. My Question is besides Levi and the Team Coach Johan coming to the team who else will be joining the Team from the successful Discovery Team of the past Tour

Vince

Great news! Look forward to reading and hearing more about this venture. Especially, the team members.

richard cruciata

will astana team colors be for sale on the new madone to the public ?

Richard - Yes. Place your orders today! -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bikes Brand Manger

Buzz

Ah yes - I crossed paths with Ben during the TT Stage at the Tour of Missouri and made brief, idle chit-chat with him. I walked away from that encounter thinking, 1) a Trek rep is here 2) the skinny was Johan is getting a new team, therefore 3) I wonder how long I'll have to wait until Trek offers the Madone in the new team colors. Well?????

Keith Russell

Great article Scott! Delighted that Trek will be back in the Pro scene and the bike looks great. Keep these articles coming, love reading them :-)

Dave V.

What does this mean for the all-new Madone's relationship with Shimano?

Will the top of the line 6.9 PRO now be sold with SRAM Red instead of Dura-Ace, to be in keeping with the Astana Team Madones?

Dave V. - The team riding SRAM won't affect the Madone line in 2008 but I bet there's a Red spec'd bike in the '09 line. -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bikes Brand Manager

pathman

Wow. Thanks for all of the great information! There is a fanbase for the New Astana at The Paceline, on the forum. www.thepaceline.com

Everybody there is excited about Astana and are very happy to see Trek provide the bikes, kits and sponsor!

bellmartin

Scott,

Thanks for all this information, and your very positive and fun way of communicating it.

Yes, please, post lots of photos from the Astana team presentation ceremony in January. And keep us all posted on how it's going.

Best wishes to Trek in the new venture.

msquared

Another big thanks, Scott.
You might as well know you can't
hide much from the superfan(actic)s that Team Astana inherited from Discovery.
We've seen the jersey art and we like it. Thanks again for continuing to support the best. It makes me proud to ride my Trek.

John Bullard

I'm happy for Trek and Astana but now my standard 5.2 Pro has lost a little bit of it's luster. Not sure I'll be able to talk the wife into another purchase so soon.

Can I at least get a screen saver-sized photo?

richard cruciata

What model Madone will the new team colors be on?

Richard - The Astana team colors will be offered in Project One so you get to choose the bike. -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bikes Brand Manager

Keith Russell

Geeky question...what pedals will the Astana boys be using on 2008 and what branding will the team kit have now that Nike have gone?

Keith - Astana will be on Look pedals. -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bike Brand Manager

Uzair

I've had a gut feeling for a while this would happen and ta-dah!

I'm eager to see the new line up and jerseys and such for sure.

Pity Nike left the cycling scene as I think their swift bib Disco shorts were the coolest around the peloton for sure. And their skinsuits were one of a kind too.

Now does this mean Nike leaves cycling altogether? If so, what about ther swift spin skinsuit technology? What becomes of it?

Thanks.

Joe Lintl

it's hard to see on the pictures, but will the team be riding the Bontrager brake calipers?

great bike, awesome paint scheme - I am looking forward to see it in different colors though through P1...

Joe - The team will be riding on SRAM brakes in 2008. Thanks for reading! -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bike Brand Manager

Trek-E

I'm having a epiphany here (if I can spell it correctly)..

I thought Nike nailed it with the Blue Ball Jersey. You could see it a mile away.

Why doesn't Trek take the Astana, replace Discovery on the Jersey (vertical lettering in White sans serif font), then take the Astana Yellow Icon and replace the blue ball, and then use the new dark blue to set it off? They can use the Turquoise for accents.... Thus NO BLACK MAGIC to upset the sponsor, while the rest of us don't have to squint to find the Astanished, amongst the new Quick Steppers... In short, don't mess it up. The new jersey sucks. It's not retro, it's not cool, it's just another kit. The most powerful team in the Tour needs some impact.

Of course, the thought has a bit of Cofidis style, but if Trek does it right.....(Are you listening Scottie Daubert? Beam me up to Waterloo for a new Madonne 6.9 Red and I'll design the kit that will have total peleton envy.... did I say, "Peleton Envy"....)


Trek-E - I'm listening and laughing at the whole situation.

The "new jersey" you are referring to was a leaked draft. It was never meant to be seen by you all (and I'd like to strangle the guy that leaked it). It was one of the now 60+ designs we have been trying to get approved by the folks in Belgium and Kazakhstan. In short, it might suck to you but it also might not be the final design.

Jersey design is not hard. The things that make this particular project difficult are coming up with something that the majority of the buying public would wear themselves AND that stands out in the pro peloton AND the sponsors are proud of AND has few if any associations to past team organizations AND can be delivered in bulk to a program that has an aggressive due date.

Taking on the Astana team thing has been fun. We've learned heaps. Maybe next time we will ask for help from consumers in designing the team kit. A contest of sorts. The winner would get a 6.9. -Scottie Daubert, Trek Road Bike Brand Manager

Jay

Will I be able to order my project 1 Madone with Sram Red?

Jay - Yes (or with Dura-Ace or Campy Record). -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bikes Brand Manager

EJ

Just wondering if the 2008 Project Ones will have the option of the SRAM red gruppo? I see it on the '08 Equinox TTX 9.9 SSL so why not the Madones?

EJ - Yes, there will be a Red grouppo option in P-One. - Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bikes Brand Manager

Ed

Will Project One have SRAM red as a gruppo option?

Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bikes Brand Manager

The Astana colors will be available in Project One. Grouppo options include SRAM Red. The new Project One site is currently under development. Watch for it to go live in early 2008.

Will

Scott,
Will Astana be continuing the "green" theme this year? I loved that disco led the sport in becoming enviromentally "green". I even bought that tdf jersey for my christmas present. Also will there be a Project One contest like there was a couple of years ago? That would be great with this new Madone

Will - I don't expect there to be a "green" theme within the Astana team. That call is ultimatly up to Johan so he might be the best one to answer that question. Trek does have an advocacy program you should know about
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/company/one_world_two_wheels/

I don't know about any Project One design contests yet but there's always that possibility. -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bike Brand Manager

Uzair

Hi Scott,

I was wondering what would become of Nike in the Pro peloton in terms of their attire and shoes maybe?

Also, what about the Nike Swift Spin skinsuits that are truly one of a kind with Disco and the Tour leaders' skinsuits? Does this mean only the Tour leaders would get to harness this technology?

And, what about the patented swift bib shorts too? Really cool and functional too I'm sure.


Uzair - I have no idea what will become of all the Nike technology. They own it and they left cycling. -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bikes Brand Manager

bellmartin

Scott,

Some of us over at The Paceline forum are wondering if there's a plan to take the new team and the new bikes into the wind tunnel soon.

If there's a plan, or when there's a plan, we'd love to know all about it.

bellmartin - There's no plan to go to the wind tunnel at this time. -Scott Daubert, Trek Road Bike Brand Manager

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