In with Owen Wilson. Garmin steals comedy page from Radio Shack playbook.
The balance of power and comedy shift in the ProTour ranks.
In a telling sign that Garmin-Transitions is planning to take over the number one role, the team brought in Hollywood comedic actor Owen Wilson for an audition for the last stage of this year’s Tour de France.
“We saw what Armstrong did with Stiller and Williams. Comedy keeps guys loose and when the pressure is off, you win big bike races,” said head man Jonathan Vaughters. “Planning for the 2011 Tour de France starts now and Wilson may help us get to the podium.”
Wilson, the bankable and amusing Hollywood star of Wedding Crashers and Night at the Museum wasn’t ready to guarantee victory. “I love Stiller. I’m not sure I can duplicate what he accomplished with Lance but I like Tyler and Christian and the Canadian with the funny name. I can work with that,” said Wilson.
In the last few years Garmin has taken relative unknowns such as Christian Vande Velde, Bradley Wiggins and now Ryder Hesjedal and put them mere inches away from the podium. “It’s all about recovery and that’s comedy. Opens up the passageways, releases the stress toxins. Pomegranate juice is terrific but laughter gets us a yellow jersey,” said Vaughters. Maybe he said that, or words to that effect.
Dave Zabriskie, who finished an impressive 5th in the Bordeaux time trial, wasn’t sure Wilson was needed. “I got some good material and Millar is a brit, so you know he’s funny. I don’t know. I’d rather have a sexy physiotherapist than a comedian,” said Zabriskie. That’s an exact quote except for the accuracy part.
The intense pressures and circus atmosphere of the Tour de France had Owens thinking big. “I could see a Darjeeling Express kinda vibe where I’m like the big bother to these guys and we’re on this bus traveling through the Pyrenees and Ryder falls for this crazy Basque girl and Christian gets mixed up with gun runners,” said Wilson. “Could be pretty funny. I have to workshop it with the guys, you know?”
Asked for comment, Radio Shack’s Johan Bruyneel wisely had no comment.