My first taste of European bicycle racing came to me in the form of beautiful, color photos taken by Graham Watson and printed in the pages of Winning Magazine in America.
I still recall one of the story headlines: The Master is an American, which recounted the story of the World Championship road race.
For the life of me, I cannot remember the words, just the fact that Greg LeMond had won the World Championships. Further in the pages of that magazine, I caught my first glimpse of Lo Scorpione.
It was an amazingly simple, yet spellbinding logo that I had never seen before. I knew instantly that it was Greg’s team’s clothing brand, and, as I went on to discover, was the same brand being worn by many other greats in the sport of professional cycling of the day.
“Only the great teams had clothing
emblazoned with the Scorpion”
Less than three years later, I signed my very first contract to become a professional cyclist. Unfortunately, my team’s clothing brand, although Italian, did not bear the Scorpion logo. At first it did not matter; I was getting paid to do exactly what I came to Europe to do, and racing in events that I had only read about in the pages of my magazines. But as time moved forward and I became more schooled in the ways of the professional peloton and more particular, I noticed that only the great teams that had clothing emblazoned with the Scorpion.
As a second year pro, when I began to ride with more confidence and intelligence, I often found myself following closely behind one or another rider from the Belgian Hitachi team that housed two-time world champion Claude Criquielion. Riding for sometimes hours at a time behind the Hitachi riders, I got to know the neon yellow version of the Scorpion logo almost intimately. And when the Hitachi team performed well, I lusted after their Castelli clothing even more so.
After a career as a cyclist, I finally found myself wearing Castelli clothing when I went to work for Castelli USA in 1998. It didn’t take long before I learned that I hadn’t been alone in my desire to wear the best cycling clothing in the world. More than one famous cyclist, including grand tour champions walked through our doors and walked out with their very own Scorpion adorned cycling wear.
Simply stated, Castelli is the best cycling wear in the world – it was the best when Maurizio Castelli fashioned the first bibshort, when Greg LeMond won the World Championship in 1983, and it continues to be the best today, worn proudly on the backs of the Garmin-Barracuda Team. I guarantee you, that somewhere in Europe, a neo-pro is staring at Garmin’s team kit and wondering when he’ll get to wear his own Scorpion.
Follow Joe Parkin online: twitter.com/joeparkin