High performance bike brand Cervélo delivered an unmissable dinner for its Australian retailers last month – based on its perfect attendance rate.
Offering the chance to meet one of road cycling’s biggest stars at the moment, in one of the world’s most picturesque city locations, Cervélo and its distributor in this country, Pon.Bike Australia, achieved a 100% attendance rate at the dinner, held in Sydney’s Circular Quay on the 26th September.
It was always going to be a risk booking the dinner for the night immediately following the pro men’s race at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships – especially when the guest of honour was Wout van Aert, currently number two in the UCI world rankings.
As one of the hot pre-race favourites, Wout could potentially have arrived at the dinner as the newly-crowned world champion. Or he might have limped in after a bad fall.
Neither extreme turned out to be the case. Wout finished fourth, having played the team role and resisted chasing his Belgian teammate Remco Evenepoel who won with a solo breakaway.
So he arrived in good spirits, although not denying that a finish three places higher would have suited him better. Wout has a unique ability to win sprints, mountain stages and time trials. His unmatched versatility also includes three world cyclocross championships.
Wout’s Jumbo Visma pro team had a dream Tour de France this year, with Wout winning three stages and the green jersey, and teammate Jonas Vingegaard claiming the overall yellow jersey.
The venue and setting of last month’s dinner certainly added to the night’s atmosphere. The Squires Landing restaurant is upstairs in the northern end of the overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay. It has sweeping views across Sydney Harbour, stretching from the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House city skyline.
It was a clear, still evening and cycling photographer Beardy McBeard set up his studio lights on the balcony to take one-on-one photos of Wout with every dealer – the bridge providing a postcard backdrop.
Pon’s Australian CEO, Graeme Moffett, commented it was the first dealer function he’d run where 100% of the invited guests actually showed up! They’d come from all over Australia.
It was perfect timing to run the event. Most Cervélo dealers are road riders themselves and had already planned to visit nearby Wollongong to attend the world championships.
Recently retired pro cyclist and podcaster Mitch Docker was the dinner’s MC – starting with a one-on-one with Wout and later convening a panel that also included three-time world track champion Annette Edmondson, dual Olympic track cycling gold medallist and pro road veteran Graeme Brown and fellow pro Mark Renshaw, best known as the long-time lead-out specialist for most of sprint star Mark Cavendish’s biggest victories.
The dealers loved hearing inside stories and some light-hearted banter. On their way out, every dealer received a Tour de France green jersey, autographed by Wout that night, and a commemorative T-shirt.
For the dealers it was a memorable way to cap off a special week of racing in Australia that probably won’t return to our shores any time soon.