Katusha made a special appearance in Brussels today with Olympic cycling legend Viatcheslav Ekimov as the company was rolling out their new cycling clothing at Kring bicycles. A chance to meet one of the real legends of the track and still one of the most influential people in Russian cycling today. And smile a little when we considered the difference in technology modern cycling clothing has over the basic nylon/silk combinations of past era.
Today, Katusha speaks of individual yarns and non-absorbent clothing (everything breathes). How fabrics range from bubble surfaces to vertical ridges as the manufacturers look for less drag and more aerodynamics. And a clothing range that spreads from the professional elite to the everyday commuter. It was also a chance to get a small glimpse into the pressures and demands of core sponsors in cycling.
There is a developing economic structure that far exceeds brand name and publicity of days gone by. Katusha has the professional team but also clothing, travel and a developing coffee shop line. Working on an integrated model, we got a chance to see modern peloton economics are incredibly diverse and complex. They spoke constantly of the 360-degree economy and the integrated structure that each “department” would have in the overall team performance.
As such, the travel coordinates with the pro teams, offering team experiences in off-season camps, or attendance at major Tours. Clothing that is tested with the elite professional riders then makes its way back into the consumer lines that will create their base.
So much more than the brand name on a jersey, looking for TV time.