The race to get a new world champion his bike

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When a drenched, elated Mads Pedersen crossed the finish line in Harrogate last Sunday as the new world champion, one race had come to an end. Over the Atlantic, in Trek’s headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin, another was just beginning.

The challenge: to turn around a new bike, deserving of a world champion, in time for the young Dane to race it in his next outing – the Tour d’Eurométropole, held in Belgium on Saturday.

Within minutes of Pedersen’s upset world champs win, things were in motion. “As soon as Mads crossed the finish line, I started ‘pulling the levers’ internally at Trek HQ in Waterloo,” said Matt Shriver, Trek-Segafredo’s Technical Director, who put in calls to get parts and frames organised for Pedersen. “Then I contacted the Creative Director, Brian Lindstrom, at Trek to inform him we need world champion artwork ASAP!”

The chronology of the last week, for those involved in the process, has been something of a whirlwind. By Monday morning, the details of the artwork were finalised, and the frame was painted on-site by Trek’s Project One division by Tuesday afternoon. By 2pm on Thursday afternoon, half a world away, the frame had been received in Trek-Segafredo’s service course in Belgium. By 6pm, Mads Pedersen’s new bike had been built.

The world championship design of Pedersen’s Trek Madone SLR features a white base, offset with striking diagonal stripes on the top tube and fork crown. Subtle personal touches include the words ‘All or nothing’ on the top tube, and a crossed-out ‘Underdog’ on the down tube, a reference to Pedersen’s post-race press conference where he talked of finally transcending his underdog status. “Mads’ win was an incredible achievement. We wanted to honor the new champ while honoring the DNA of Madone, keeping a clean, simple, classy design,” said Trek’s Art Director Brian Lindstrom.

Whilst the team in Waterloo raced to get Pedersen’s bike ready in time for the weekend, Trek-Segafredo’s Clothing Product Manager Leslie Zamboni was in the midst of a race of her own. Her challenge: to work with Santini in Italy to get four full kits organised for Pedersen – enough to get him through the remaining races of his season – while also overcoming the UCI’s technical regulations for the new designs.

“The first point was working with Santini to prepare the design, checking all the rules in placing the logos in the right position, in the right dimension, and in the right color,” Zamboni said. “Once that was done, the design was sent to the UCI through Matt Shriver. The UCI came back a day after with a request to adjust the space between the Trek-Segafredo logo and the rainbow – a very small adjustment, but it took away another day! So finally, Wednesday morning production could start.”

That didn’t leave a lot of time to spare, so Zamboni personally went to Santini to collect the kit on Thursday evening, and finally flying from Italy to Belgium on Friday morning, with Pedersen’s new gear in her backpack. “Yes, it was all a bit stressful,” she conceded. “But it was super nice to have this stress!”

On Friday afternoon, at a hotel in Belgium, Mads Pedersen walked to the team truck to see his new bike for the first time. “It’s so beautiful with so many details that make it so personal,” he said. “I took it for a ride, the first one in my new kit, and everybody kept hitting the horn and taking pictures.”

Pedersen was the defending champion at the Tour d’Eurométropole, and whilst he was unable to back up the victory – he DNFed – he can take solace in the fact that he looked pretty sharp doing so. “This is the best jersey in the peloton. I am so proud and honored to wear it,” he said.

What do you think of Mads Pedersen’s new bike? Hot or not?

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