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What’s going on with Specialized athletes?
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I read on Instagram that both Kristian and Lucy were ending their contracts with Specialized. What’s going on? Is Specialized moving away from tri? Or have they found « better » sponsors?

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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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Seems like they are further pairing down then? I seem to remember this exact same thread last year.

If Slowtwitch can be used as a barometer for the broader population, the Shiv seems to be hardly ever on anyone’s consideration list. I wonder if they are canceling sponsorships due to poor sales of this model?

That said, I wonder if this is part of a broader trend among manufacturers, looking at Cervelo dropping almost all their sponsored athletes, and the likes of Trek and others only having a handful of athlete sponsorships.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [Kickr] [ In reply to ]
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I remember there was a thread like this indeed but have no idea why I couldn’t find it.

I was wondering whether maybe all Bahrain endurance athletes were switching to a team’s sponsor? But I’m not sure Lucy is part of that group. Also it would imply AB moving from Scott. Pure speculation here

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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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I was going to make a similar thread. Mainly sponsorships changes in general. I don't follow a ton of triathletes but those two were notable changes and also Josh Amberger will no longer be with Felt. I figured it was just coincidence that their contracts ended at this time but I could be wrong. Maybe Blu will move to Giant with Iden?
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [FuzzyRunner] [ In reply to ]
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Definitely intrigued to see if there is a large scale something going on... maybe a company of some varieties looking to make a large move into triathlon and has a great product, maybe companies such as specialized are cutting costs through fear of economic problems related to COVID/post COVID? if you couldn't tell I have no idea and none of my ideas are likely true.... but I'm most certainly interested in what may be happening! Personally hoping I'm going to get to see a bunch of awesome shiny bikes paraded all over social media!
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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Vincent Luis and Hayden Wilde have not posted anything so I guess it is on an individual basis.
Justus Nieschlag, german ITU athlete, also has a smiliar post about ending his time with Specialized.

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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe it's as simple as bike companies sponsor athletes to help sell bikes. Bike are pretty much sold out right now, so why bother spending sponsorship money on pro athletes when your product is already selling out.

As for Lucy Charles, I imagine it costs Specialized a pretty penny to sponsor her, and tri is such a niche bike sport. Plus, purely anecdotal, but out of all the tri folks in my area, I've only seen one of the newer Shivs among our riders. Cervelo and QR seem to be the top tri bikes in my area.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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if they were to keep anyone i would have thought Lucy would be it. i saw on instagram the announcement this morning. i was pretty shocked.

i wonder also if the athletes just dont like the bike that much and WANT to go to something else.

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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [TommyBTri] [ In reply to ]
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COVID has been a boon for bike sales and service. Don't know about sponsorships though.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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It all boils down to money. Either for the athlete or for the company. I wouldn’t be surprised if specialized offered both of them contracts and both turned it down because they could get more from somewhere else.

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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [Rideon77] [ In reply to ]
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I guess I was thinking along the lines of although sales have gone well so far if people who might have been future customers feel the squeeze due to adverse financial impacts on them they may not purchase as they may not be able to, particularly with prices rising due to production and supply chain difficulties? However I may be very wrong...
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [Rideon77] [ In reply to ]
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Not specific to Specialized, but Paula Findlay mentioned in this week's YouTube video that she's still working on her bike sponsorship for next year. So, throw Trek in there as well (and you'd think Findlay is a very attractive athlete to sponsor at the moment). So Charles-Barkley moving away from Specialized, Amberger moving away from Felt, Findlay considering switching from Trek. Perhaps a coincidence or perhaps three legacy bike manufacturers--Specialized, Felt, and Trek--that haven't been innovating all that much in the tri space have just decided that the tri market is no longer where it's at for them.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [stevej] [ In reply to ]
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stevej wrote:
It all boils down to money. Either for the athlete or for the company. I wouldn’t be surprised if specialized offered both of them contracts and both turned it down because they could get more from somewhere else.

I'll bet its Canyon.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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One of the problems for buying a Shiv is that it's an uber pricey superbike, or northing. No mid rang offerings. Whereas Canyon and Cervelo have an range of models and prices.

In the UK a Shiv frame is £6k. That's ludicrous. Who's spending £6k on a meh frame ?
The cheapest bike £8.5k. With a ultegra di2 and 38mm deep Royal wheels. It doesn't even come with tubeless tyres at that price point either so you have to chuck another £130 to get a decent tubeless set up (if the Roval wheels are Tubeless compatible?).
A below average offering at boutique pricing. Not many going to buy that.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [BobAjobb] [ In reply to ]
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BobAjobb wrote:
One of the problems for buying a Shiv is that it's an uber pricey superbike, or northing.........

I think the other issue is that you have to be someone that really wants a huge water tank on the back of your bike. If that kind of hydration system isn't of interest to you, you likely aren't going to buy this bike.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [stevej] [ In reply to ]
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stevej wrote:
It all boils down to money. Either for the athlete or for the company. I wouldn’t be surprised if specialized offered both of them contracts and both turned it down because they could get more from somewhere else.

Also I was thinking that Specialized needs to keep up with their other athletes’ expectations. For instance Vincent Luis. And if they had to choose between VL and Lucy/Kristian, I would not be surprised they went all in for the former. When you think in terms of wins and titles VL is the horse to put money on before an Olympic year

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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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captainolek wrote:
Also I was thinking that Specialized needs to keep up with their other athletes’ expectations. For instance Vincent Luis. And if they had to choose between VL and Lucy/Kristian, I would not be surprised they went all in for the former. When you think in terms of wins and titles VL is the horse to put money on before an Olympic year
Perhaps. They could also be totally unrelated. I don't think these bike sponsorship contracts are annual. Lucy/Kristians' contracts might be up this year while VL's is not.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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proftri wrote:
captainolek wrote:
Also I was thinking that Specialized needs to keep up with their other athletes’ expectations. For instance Vincent Luis. And if they had to choose between VL and Lucy/Kristian, I would not be surprised they went all in for the former. When you think in terms of wins and titles VL is the horse to put money on before an Olympic year
Perhaps. They could also be totally unrelated. I don't think these bike sponsorship contracts are annual. Lucy/Kristians' contracts might be up this year while VL's is not.

More and more companies are trying to move to one-year contracts. For obvious reasons. Multi-year contracts are great until they aren't. I think you'll see fewer multi-year contracts post-COVID. While, ultimately, COVID has proved to be a boon to the bike industry overall, it was pretty tough early on. I imagine that many of these companies are rethinking their overall investment strategy. In particular, *race* bikes - and elite sport (both triathlon and cycling) more generally - were shown to be relatively fragile this year. Put more simply, I'd definitely bet on interest in fitness - swim, bike, and run - continuing to grow. Would I bet on pro triathlon returning in a meaningful way? I'm a whole lot less confident of that.

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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [SBRcanuck] [ In reply to ]
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SBRcanuck wrote:
BobAjobb wrote:
One of the problems for buying a Shiv is that it's an uber pricey superbike, or northing.........


I think the other issue is that you have to be someone that really wants a huge water tank on the back of your bike. If that kind of hydration system isn't of interest to you, you likely aren't going to buy this bike.

Lots of good, sensible stuff being said here. could just be the normal carousel of sponsorship changes, or COVID-related issues from Specialized which are changing their focus a little bit. or both. but I keep coming back to these points, which I just see as flaws in the bike/product line itself and I don't think sponsorship can fix them. There have been multiple documented instances of sponsored pros not even using the hydration system as designed (lucy, tim don, probably others). if I was spending uberbike money, I wouldn't have the shiv on my list, no matter who they sponsored. maybe they realize this.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [PBT_2009] [ In reply to ]
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I work in Sport Marketing and sponsorship, not in Triathlon but in football.
Don´t start thinking that it was because of the look or functions of the new Shiv.
The athletes don´t ride the bikes for the looks or the difference of 2 or 3 Watt it is for the money.
It is their work and we all would follow the money to make a living.
Covid actually helped the bike companies and you can´t get your hands on a new Shiv, Scott or similar before April as they are sold out.

Each year Specialized seems to end some contracts and sign some new ones. We all remember last year when Ben Hoffman left Specialized, people were also thinking that there must be some secret stuff going on in the background. But it wasn´t.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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captainolek wrote:
I read on Instagram that both Kristian and Lucy were ending their contracts with Specialized. What’s going on? Is Specialized moving away from tri? Or have they found « better » sponsors?

There is such little investment return from pro triathletes in general. Only the true fans really follow it anyway. I've always said the best way to grow a business is to focus on true high-quality anchor tenants (ie. Super noisy triathletes and coaches, tri-club presidents etc). You need a couple of pros to validate the brand. As an aside, I watched Cobb go from 25 athletes to 15 to 10 to 5 to just 1 athlete! Didn't seem to hurt their brand and the company eventually sold for top-dollar. Interesting that Cobb and Alex just seemed to seemed to have good insight to which athletes were adding value, not so much on absolute basis, but relative to their cost. Big athletes may produce value but relative to their cost it just isn't a good return.


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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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Will be interesting to see if The same is happening to Tim Don.

Pretty sure they will hang onto their Olympic athletes.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [Chris_Mint] [ In reply to ]
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Also this comes down to just a lot more ways of reaching people with todays means.
I am not sure what any of these bike deals are worth in Triathlon, but I know that specialized sponsors a TON of motocross athletes, and the combined following of 10 top motocross racers is probably greater and costs less than 1 pro triathlete. Now I think LCB is probably one of the most sought after triathletes in terms of brand size (she is a top performer, large social following, ETC) but that also means she probably commands a premium paycheck, and maybe Specialized decided that was not worth it.
There is also a lot of teams shifts in the mountain bike world. The womens world champion is leaving Canyon, the mens world champion is leaving BMC, Emily Batty is leaving Trek, and Specialized shifted 2 of their big US MTB prospects from their factory team to the Trinity Racing team.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [captainolek] [ In reply to ]
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Not a shock that ITU athletes are changing bike after the 2020 season.
2020 was the end of the olympic cycle.
Of course due to corona, the olympics will (maybe) happen in 2021.
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Re: What’s going on with Specialized athletes? [proftri] [ In reply to ]
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I think in Findlay's case, she has created a market for herself after the year she just had. Spent all year making great content (well, being in great content largely created by Eric) when no racing was happening then capped it off with the performance of her career in the one race that mattered. Think she has options she is exploring, rather than Trek perhaps giving her the boot.

That's pure speculation, but think Findlay is in the driver seat more than many of her peers.

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