What could make five professional cyclists strip to their underwear and dance in front of a crowded nightclub? First, the club must be in Italy, and second, the event should be run by their sports management company, or so it seems.
At a gala hosted by the A&J Sports as Image management firm, Sprint Cycling magazine, Virtual Image and Ciclismo Online, five riders battled it out in a strip-tease to win the title "Mr. Cycling 2009". The burlesque was a humorous sideshow to the more hotly contested Miss Cycling contest won by Maria Laura Fontana.
On hand at the event were some of Italian cycling's top names, including Alessandro Petacchi, Gilberto Simoni and Daniele Nardello, but only Francesco Chicchi, Mauro Santambrogio, Claudio Corioni, neo-pro Davide Cimolai and Franco Pellizotti engaged in the strip-tease.
In a contest judged by the female members of the audience and measured by the volume of the applause, Corioni edged out Pellizotti for the title of Mr. Cycling 2009.
We include a full gallery of the event for your viewing pleasure. After seeing this, we're sure you will agree that the 2010 season can't come soon enough.