[Editor’s Note: Uni Watch bench coach emeritus Bryan Redemske checks in today to bring us up to date on the cycling scene. — PL]
By Bryan Redemske
Hey, Lance Armstrong is back — you may have heard about that. His comeback with Team Astana started in January at the Tour Down Under in Australia and continued last week at the Tour of California.
Since he’s, well, Lance, both races enjoyed record crowds and heightened media exposure, which made some uni-related oddities a lot more noticeable.
Lance has always lived by his his own set of uni rules (he wore three different lids in his final Tour de France alone), but this comeback has taken things even further. In training, Lance wears full Livestrong kit, rather than the Astana kit worn by his teammates. And this is the team-issue Astana helmet … which Lance doesn’t wear. He’s worn a pair of Livestrong-branded lids so far — one with more yellow than the other. Note also the visor on that second one. That model (Giro Ionos) isn’t available — or even compatible — with a visor. More custom work, to be sure.
The weather was pretty brutal for the first few days in California, which brought out vests, jackets and everything short of snowmobile suits. Most riders went for a team-colored vest or jacket, but Lance did not. Not even close. He also opted for black Nike arm and knee warmers, rather than team-issue navy blue.
Lance’s bike was different from his teammates’, too. That’s been one of his hallmarks for a number of years — he’s always had three or four different paint jobs on hand. Astana’s Levi Leipheimer (who won the race) had a special paint job on his time trial bike as well. That’s a bear, by the way, on the frame — Leipheimer lives in California (though he’s actually from Montana).
Finally, there’s the yellow band on the left cuff of Astana’s jersey and shorts. It symbolizes the Livestrong band, which was present through all three years of Lance’s Discovery Channel sponsorship, and is now on the Astana kit this season (but not last season). But Lance’s bands actually say Livestrong. They didn’t in the Tour Down Under, however.
In non-Lance news:
• Check out the writing on the left leg of this Cervelo TestTeam rider. That says “Innovate, Sacrifice, Unite, Succeed.” The interesting part is the orientation — it’s right-side up to the wearer only.
• Rock Racing, the team that had nearly two dozen different kits last season (viewable — and available for purchase — here), is back. Rumors flew all winter about whether the team would even start the season. So the theme is “Rock’s Not Dead.” OK … but maybe there should have been more consideration toward word placement. Having “dead” scrawled across my junk wouldn’t be the first choice. Plus, the kit design in general kind of makes them look like clowns.
• Frank Schleck’s Luxemborg national champion jersey (center) is one of the few that look awesome with a team logo. Here’s the standard Saxo Bank (formerly CSC) kit. Combining a national champion’s colors with a team kit rarely works so well. We’re looking at you, Rock Racing. That’s U.S. national champion Tyler Hamilton at the front, by the way. The stars and stripes are in there somewhere.
Ah, the crack of the ball on the bat, the prick of the syringe on the butt cheek…: Paul here. My annual spring training roundup column is up now on Page 2. This column also includes the first working installment of the long-planned Uni Watch Glossary, which I’ll later make into a permanent page on this site.
Raffle Results: That’s right, you didn’t win again — unless your name is Steve Seager, that is.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Classic Old School Gear prexy Alain Nana-Sinkam was recently hired for a project by Kansas State: “Their Marketing and Promotions Director saw my ad on Uni Watch and e-mailed me mid-January about making jerseys for four players whose jersey numbers would be retired at the end of the season,” writes Alain. “There are two women (Priscilla Gary and Tammie Romstad) and two men ( Willie Murrell and Mitch Richmond). The jerseys we did were based on photos and other research and are meant to match what the players wore during their careers.” … The Arkansas baseball teams has unveiled four new uni designs, two of which are shown here and here (with thanks to Charlie Shields). … Good spot by Shawn Bleiler, who notes that the current Eastbay and Modell’s catalogs are using the same cover photo. … Soccer note from Patrick Runge, who writes: “Crystal Palace rolled out a series of choices for next year’s kit design. The fans were less than pleased, a local paper ran a mildly critical article, and now the team is boycotting the paper.” And now the fans have come up with their own design proposal. … Kenn Tomasch notes that the Houston Dynamo were wearing a black armband the other day, but he’s not sure who it was memorializing. … The Women’s Professional Soccer league should be out of business within, what, four months or so, right? So take a look at their uniforms (several of which feature skirts) while you can. … Oh, but wait, it turns out that the skirts won’t be worn in games
because the league will fold before any games are played (thanks to Craig Justice for that clarification). … And there’s some further analysis of the WPS uniforms here and here. … The Marquette women’s hoops team wore collared, sleeved throwback tops (but not shorts) on Saturday, but only for warm-ups (with thanks to Blain Fowler). … If you normally pull your pant cuffs down over your heels, what do you do for footwear-free sliding drills? Pull your cuffs down over the heels of your socks (good find by Phil Johnson). … Uni number news from Yankees camp, where Brett Tomko is now wearing No. 28 and Melky Cabrera has No. 53 (with thanks to Stephen King). … Speaking of uni numbers, Jose Valentin is in Mets camp as a non-roster invitee and is wearing No. 99. I’m not positive about this, but I think that’s because 9 + 9 = 18, which was Valentin’s number back in his first stint with the Mets. That number is now worn by Jeremy Reed. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Not sure if I’ve ever seen a pennant design like the one shown here. … Lots of photos of Auburn’s new retro-styled baseball uniforms here (with thanks to Jonathon Binet). … The best uniforms I’ve seen so far this year can be found in this comic (genius find by Larry Torrez). … “Looks like the Cubs may have switched back to traditional helmets,” says Bryan, who’s really back in force today. “Either that, or they don’t ship Cool-Flo helmets to Arizona. That seems unlikely, given the rest of the stuff that gets shipped.” … Thomas Miller, who’s the assistant minor league equipment manager for the Milwaukee Brewers and Nashville Sounds, sent along some pics of the team’s minor league complex, where they have framed jerseys of all the Brewers affiliates. … FNOB alert, of sorts (with thanks to Dan Cichalski). … Kenny Crookston snagged this for two bucks at a thrift store. “Not exactly uni-related,” he says, “except that I plan on wearing it to the Indians’ home opener on April 10th.” … You may have heard and/or seen that Rich Eisen ran a 40-yard “dash” while weaing a suit at the NFL combine the other day. What you might not have noticed (but Chris Flinn did) is that the old NFL logo appears at the very beginning of the video segment — which is particularly odd given that this footage is from the NFL Network. … Bosox minor leaguer Ryan Khoury wore a plain double-flapped helmet in last night’s spring training game against the Twins (screen grab courtesy of Nick Hanson). … Mirko Vucinic got caught on-camera making some extracurricular adjustments the other day (with thanks to Matt Beaudin). … Everything from here to the end of the Ticker is from Phil: In a shocking display of misplaced financial priorities, a Cincinnati elementary school is taking funds that were budgeted for buying basketball uniforms and using them to help a sick kid. … The Bobcats’ D-League affiliate will dangle the NBA carrot in front of its players’ noses on Saturday by having them wear Bobcats uniforms. … The Illinois hoops team has already announced that it won’t have NOBs next season. … Hey, wait, here’s one more WPS uniform. Oops, it’s actually the latest Oregon cheeleading outfits, coming soon to a Girls Gone Wild video near you.
Steeltown-Bound: By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to Pittsburgh. Phil will be handling the site from now through next Monday (thanks, buddy). All e-mail sent to the usual Uni Watch address will be forwarded to him, or you can send him Ticker contributions directly.
Hope to see lots of you on Sunday, 1pm, at Max’s. Rob Ullman (who hails from Pittsburgh but now lives in Virginia) sent me a small batch of these Steeler Girl decals to distribute at the shindig. First come, first served, so it’ll pay to arrive early. Too bad this auction won’t end until after the party, but one of your Pittsburghers out there really ought to bid on it anyway.