July 5, 2005
Stage 4 - Mystery Oakleys?
One of the cool aspects of the Tour de France is the appearance of new and sometimes secret gear, and as we all know, shwag is always good... Here at Discovery Channel that's readily apparent, with more notable items like Trek's TTx Time Trial bike, Lance and Nike's 10//2 line of clothing as well as the "Iconography" symbols on his TT rear wheel (more on that in another article). But one of the items that has really raised quite a bit of buzz was Lance in the Green Jersey sporting a new set of Oakley eyewear in Stage 2. They looked like M-frames, but not anything anyone could recall seeing...
We went right to the source, and a quite storied source he is. Kiko Garcia rode for 7 years as a domestique for the Spanish ONCE team and is now one of the European marketing managers for Oakley. "The glasses Lance has on are prototypes - he is the only person who currently has these," he told me as he sipped a coffee in Le Village before Stage 4. "But I keep getting emails every day from people all over who want to know where they can get a pair of these - so hopefully they will go into production soon."
Now for the real behind-the-scenes info. We were in Lance's hotel room the day before Stage 1 as he checked out the fit of his new Giro TT helmet. In addition to the helmet, eyewear selection in the opening stage is also huge as millions of people will get an up-close look at LA's face as he readies in the start line. So Oakley sends Lance quite a few sets of new eyewear for him to choose from. When he got ahold of the white frames he immediately put them on, stared in the mirror and declared them "Bad ass!" but couldn't wear them for the TT because the M-frame top bar is right in his vision line when he's down in the aero position.
But it wasn't long after that the new Oakleys were brought out for all to see, and as Kiko said, hopefully they'll be available soon for the masses.
Thanks for checking in.