Mauro's Magnificent Mane

Photos D'équipe

Every year, the traditional 'team photo' by each team is shot and released. A chance to showcase new their new riders, team kits and bike, the pictures are bandied around the cycling press as column inches fill with the promises and statements of intent for the season ahead. Some teams manage to look every inch cool, their lean and perma-tanned bodies svelte in a slick new kit design, legs thrown casually over desirable weenie-esque carbon steeds. Below we take a look at some of the best and worst team shots throughout the years and celebrate those who don't quite manage this zenith of sharpness.
Hey! work experience kid! stitch our riders onto a glorious clip art of Kazakhstan please! 
Nothing says 'legitimate comeback' better than what could easily be the cover to a popular mano-e-mano p0rn film Ricco... amirite? 
Katusha clearly scrimping on the location budget here, riders jetted into the windy sands of sunny Skegness apparently... oh and bonus points for sticking the token beanpole mid line-up.
SKY 2010. Very cool. Look how much of a baby Froome looks. (Secret - these were stitched together from individual pics).
"YO! We are such BADASSES and were here to stay baby!".... errr.... you are actually a weapons grade tool and you suck BALL. Throwing up the rock horns and sipping monster energy drink from your Cadillac might have you thinking you are the epitome of cool, but in fact you put the douche in douchesquad. Having said that, I did like their mental kits. And a couple of their riders. Nice attitude, shitty management.
Sitting by the dock of the bay... nice relaxations from Colombia here, although those small frys on the front better watch they don't drop that ride in the ocean....
Aint no-body got time for a guy squatting in grey lycra. Peroid. And where did the guy on the rights leg go??? No wonder Footon/Fuji/Servetto/Geox whatever the hell they morphed into didn't stand the test of time. 
Vacansoleil plumping for the 'naughty class in the school gym' vibe here. Check out Flecha the class clown. Minus points for guy on right for forgetting his bibshorts.
Lotto Honda girls, giving it their best 'badass' pose. Out the back of a lumberyard in Belgium no doubt.
Is it a cycling team or is this a Burton Menswear catalogue image. Answers on a postcard purleeeease!

And below are my personal winners for the 'epic-wtf-what-were-the-press-department-thinking' award.... viewer caution is advised!
And heres a quality last minute addition to the WTF category from BOOM ...
Whose your daddy???

Il Giro Fever!

Giro d'Italia countdown has officially begun. So here we stand a mere 3 days out from the perennial date in the grand tour calendar, a true signifier that the summer of stage racing has begun in earnest! 
Will be see Wiggo actually get his head down and race with vigor, or is Sicily's prodigal son Nibali about to wreck the party and tear it up with the support of his easter block friends? Honestly... im dearly hoping for a Nibz coup this giro. Scintillating on descents, and seemingly 100% committed to animating a race rather than computing SRM figures for 6 hours on end. Racing with panache I guess some will call it.  I cant help but really like the love-able Sicilian, and after a show of decent form bagging Tirreno is grim conditions this year, he looks in good shape. Looking remarkably lean 'n mean this season...  he is for sure my pick to don the Paul Smith designed Maglia Rosa for 2013. Id also like to see Uran right up there, maglia bianca perhaps?
You can keep abreast via Eurosport on tv daily, or if like me your chained to a computer screen, check out the links at the end for places you can stream (I actually love streaming via the official Gazzetta page for euro flair). Don't forget you can catch stages at the London Rapha Cycle Club, or head to Bar Italia and enjoy a machiatto and some late afternoon stage finishes daily. To get you in the mood, check out this 'Maglia Rosa' cocktail
We spied this this natty little wallpaper thats available to download for free to a variety of handheld or tablet devices, from artist Pierluigi Riccio...
For any design/type nerds out there, you can download a lovely PDF gratis (or a meager 5 for a lovely print copy on rosa-coloured paper) over at Binnenland
Strava & Castelli bring you the 'Battaglia in Montagna' challenge, in the shape of a charge to undertake 813km of riding within the ten day period starting from 13th May. The challenge sees riders undertake the combined distance of stages 10, 14, 15, 19 and 20 from this year's race. These five stages, all major summit finishes, are where the eventual winner will undoubtedly prove they have what it takes to bring home the Maglia Rosa! Sign up and get involved, nothing like a good dollop of early summer inspiration to get out and chase some tarmac and work on those grand tour-esque tanlines ;)
Bored at work and cant ride? why not shield your screen from your boss and exercise the inner child, check out this online interactive 'colouring book' to colour-in the Giro d'Italia logo. 
Finally, we here at Bianchista HQ recommend truly getting in the Mediterranean spirit and grabbing a copy of Raphas 'The Giro' music album. Packed with classic jazz, traditional folk and italo-disco belters, the album is peppered with excerpts from the 174 classic film 'The Greatest Show On Earth'. A perfect summertime edition to the jukebox, and whilst a few years old now, has still stood the test f time and every summer its on heavy rotation
So get ready to work your Giro-inspired splash of pink and enjoy what promises to be an electric edition of Italy's finest racing export!