Cannondale’s New Sheriff

Back in the 1990s Mario Cipollini was getting fined by the UCI with the frequency Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be fouled. The Lion King couldn’t just show up to a stage of a grand tour and ride it. No, he had to put on a show and when Cannondale became the sponsor of Cipollini’s Team Saeco, in them he found a willing partner to make an entry spashy enough for Milan or Paris.

Leading the Tour of Italy? Let’s do a pink kit and bike to match. Leading the Tour de France? How about a yellow kit and a matching yellow bike? Celebrating the Fourth of July? Why not wear some stars and stripes shorts?

Cipo may be gone, but Cannondale’s sense of style is intact. We received these photos from Cannondale of a special bike they whipped up for the Tour of California.

Sprinter Francesco Chicchi of Team Liquigas took two stages at last year’s Tour of Missourri, the stages into St. Louis and St. Joseph. Following his win in St. Louis—the gateway to the West—Chicchi declared his love of American western movies and the folks at Cannondale decided to have a bit of fun.

Cannondale presented Chicchi with this bike upon his return to the U.S. for the Tour of California and with the bike comes a nickname: Frank the Sheriff.

Cannondale worked with an Italian design company called Artech to give the bike its wild-west-themed look. Artech is no stranger to the bike industry. This isn’t the first time they have worked with Cannondale, and they were also responsible for the custom paint jobs you may have seen on some of Cinelli’s Ram integrated bar and stem combination.

Liquigas saddle sponsor  Fi:zi’k even got into the act with a custom Arione saddle with the central leather strip replaced with one of cowhide. They also provided him with leather bar tape.

“I hope the day comes this week when I can fire off another shot and win here in California. Then they can say that the new sheriff is in town, named Frank!” Chicchi said when he was presented with the bike.

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  1. todd k

    I actually really dig how this turned out…. Now I have Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo images running through my head withIl Triello as the soundtrack…. An Eli Wallach kind of bike or Clint Eastwood?

  2. Lachlan

    while i’d never sit on such a thing myself, I do love that this seems very fresh, very different to the standard directions of custom themes. Good effort. Very Mario : – )

    1. Author

      I’ll admit that I don’t employ a filter of any sort when I get this sort of stuff. I just don’t even think about whether or not I personally would ride it. I just like that people get creative and I love seeing what happens when someone is told to go crazy. It just don’t happen enough.

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  4. Champs

    So now it seems like the captain and maybe even a “left-tenant” or two of every team has a customized bike for the 2.HC events or a classics campaign, sometimes more than one.

    Do teams and sponsors just have that much money to blow on promotional kit, or are they finally going to tool up and let everyone customize their bike with rainbows and unicorns… I mean dragons and flames.

  5. Souleur

    Whoever conceived of this bike at Cannondale absolutely must have been hosed on a long and loose weekend w/the waitress down at wafflehouse, Marcell. Sure, at the time it seemed like an ok thing, nobody would really find out, but now look once the bun is in the oven. In such circumstance, especially when considering lines of pedigree such as Cannondale has diligently worked on, one must be careful not to contaminate lineage, but whomever in R&D opened the door and let this crossbred rat of a thing in must be held to the highest level of account. Cannondale should leave Italians alone, because see what happens. If I were Chicchi, I would be asking “and THIS is what you made for ME?” Did I do something wrong? “You want me to ride THAT, and WIN??”

    This sheriff unfortunately is very forgettable, and Cannondale should have left well enough alone w/the Liquigas squad set up. If they were smart, they would quietly hide that thing somewhere and deny its existence because even Chicchi won’t be found riding this in another season.

    Of course the converse could also be said, the future is promising at Cannondale for all applicants to the R&D program:-)

  6. James

    I think it’s great people have fun with this stuff. Tradition is OK to a point, but hell, lighten up! Really ugly bikes like the current Radio Shack mess are one thing but one off bikes like “The Sheriff’s” are kind of cool. I liked Levi’s California Bear TT bike last year and some of Lance’s “art” bikes last year too. Do you think if Eddy Merckx was riding today he would have a bike with a bunch of half eaten people on it??? That should be a future post…make up bike designs for former champions!

  7. MattyVT

    My cynical side says that this is an attempt to deflect attention away from the Pellizotti suspension.

    “Hey look- we’re an AMERICAN bike company making bikes for a race in AMERICA…to be ridden by an Italian.”

    (to be read in the South Park redneck accent with emphasis on the “M” making the “A” virtually silent)

    1. Author

      MattyVT: I don’t blame you. It’s hard not to be cynical at the point doping and cycling intersect. Really hard. That said, the people who work for industry companies are cycling fans just like us. I can tell you from experience that when a rider they help to sponsor tests positive, they feel sucker-punched. It’s not my job to be an apologist for these companies, but I’m familiar with the shock and disappointment they have faced when a rider returns a non-negative result.

      Nonetheless, I can hear Uncle Jimbo saying exactly your quote.

  8. mark

    It’s garish. It’s flamboyant. It’s not gay…it’s…Italian.

    Love the bike. But if you ride it, you better either come in first or last.

  9. rorymasini

    As the ‘conceiver’ of this bike, I can say that the inspiration did not come from a lost weekend at a waffle house! It also has nothing to do with Pelli. The press release about this beauty (if you feel that way) is 100% accurate. Chicchi and I made a bet in Missouri last year. He won. This was his prize… a ‘cowboy’ bike (no further details were given or needed). It doesn’t belong to the team, but was gifted to Chicchi. He loves it… it’s currently being shipped to Philly for him to race there.

    Also – if you hate it, blame me. R&D has nothing to do with it. They’re too busy building winning bikes. BTW – this bike won, and the Sheriff’s guns flew at the finish line. Were he too embarrassed of this bike, wouldn’t he have just given a standard finish line salute?

    1. Author

      Rory: Thanks so much for checking in. Many of our readers don’t really understand the division of labor at bike companies, nor the diverse talents necessary to bring a bike such as this into being. I, for one, really enjoy special bikes like this one. Next time you do one, no matter who it is for, make sure we find out.

  10. KYRoadie

    @Rory Great work man! Loved the post and response. Looks like you shut them all up. Thanks for the back story and cool design! What next?

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