The 23-year-old Dane takes to his first race as World Champion sporting a custom-painted Madone SLR and brand-new Santini rainbow jersey.
When Mads Pedersen crossed the finish line at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships last Sunday, the cheers and shouts amongst the Trek-Segafredo team and its partners were heard around the world: We have a World Champion! For some, the celebrations were the start of a busy week. Mads’ first race was days away, and work was needed to be done, fast.
As soon as Mads crossed the finish line, I started 'pulling the levers' internally at Trek HQ in Waterloo.
“As soon as Mads crossed the finish line, I started ‘pulling the levers’ internally at Trek HQ in Waterloo,” said Matt Shriver, Trek-Segafredo’s Technical Director. “First, I put a call to the Trek Race Shop to get the parts organized and pulled from Project One, and specific frames picked for the World Champion. Then I contacted the Creative Director, Brian Lindstrom, at Trek to inform him we need World Champion artwork ASAP!”
A new World Champion Madone SLR was already taking shape minutes after the 23-year-old Dane shocked the cycling world. The distance between Trek’s HQ in Waterloo, USA, and the team’s service course in Belgium created a slightly trickier situation. The new bike needed to be in Mads’ hands by Friday. “On Monday morning, we had a quick meeting to decide what kind of unique bike and details we wanted for our first Elite Men’s World Champion,” continued Shriver. “The artwork was approved, and the Madone frameset went into Project One to be painted.”
By Tuesday afternoon, the Project One World Champion Madone had its new rainbow paint scheme with Trek-Segafredo team logos and a few signature touches – “All or nothing” and “Underdog” evident on the down tube, words that described Mads’ victory. “Then it was back to the Trek Race Shop for final checks and then everything was shipped to Belgium for arrival at the service course by 14:00 Thursday. It was built up by 18:00,” explained Shriver.
At first, I was shocked by the surprise. Then, a bevy of phone calls started.
While Shriver and the gurus at Trek HQ worked feverishly on the custom bike, Leslie Zamboni, the team’s Clothing Product Manager, had her own pressures to deal with. “At first, I was shocked by the surprise,” said Zamboni of Mads’ win. “Then, a bevy of phone calls started.”
“The first point was working with Santini to prepare the design, checking all the rules in placing the logos in the right position, in the right dimension, and in the right color,” said continued. “Once that was done, the design was sent to the UCI through Matt Shriver. The UCI came back a day after with a request to adjust the space between the Trek-Segafredo logo and the rainbow – a very small adjustment, but it took away another day! So finally, Wednesday morning production could start.”
Four kits tailored to Mads’ measurements were artfully crafted that included a short-sleeve race jersey, a thermal long-sleeve, race bib-short, gloves, and socks – enough to get him through his last three races of the season. “Production worked really fast,” said Zamboni, “but after talking to Matt, we decided that it was safer if I took them personally from Santini to the race. So, Thursday evening, I picked up the clothing at Santini, and Friday morning, I flew from Italy to Belgium with the World Champion kit in my backpack.
“Yes, it was all a bit stressful,” she added,” but it was super nice to have this stress!”
The bikes and kits arrived at the team’s hotel Friday, one day before Mads’ first race as World Champion, the Tour d’Eurométropole. And like a kid on Christmas day, Mads wasted no time. “When I got to the hotel this afternoon, I went straight into the truck to see my new bike, and it is absolutely amazing,” he said, “It’s so beautiful with so many details that make it so personal. I took it for a ride, the first one in my new kit, and everybody kept hitting the horn and taking pictures.”
Mads Pedersen won the Tour d’Eurométropole last year, and Saturday, he will debut his new World Champion jersey with race number one, but if there’s a little added weight on his shoulders, he’s not showing it: “This is the best jersey in the peloton. I am so proud and honored to wear it. I really can’t wait to race tomorrow!”
It was a whirlwind week for those behind the scenes getting Mads outfitted for his first public appearance as World Champion. In the world of professional cycling, it’s not only the riders who need to be fast.