Spending hours a day on the road a day, professional cyclists have intimate and complex relationships with their bikes and equipment. Most are obsessive to the point of exhaustion about the fine details and performance of their machines, with a perfect fit the holy grail of every rider.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

Once set it can be and is the perfect blend of man and machine. A powerful platform for speed and performance, particularly for riders like Marcel Kittel.

The Giant-Shimano sprinting powerhouse has used the fallout from a race incident to amusing effect, one which not only cheekily illustrated how strong that relationship can be, but in the process turned a potential negative into marketing win for his team sponsor and saviour, the Taiwan based Giant Bicycles.

Giant stepped in to save Kittel's team after the team's main sponsor Argos pulled out at the end of the 2013 season, he and his team-mates owe the manufacturer their jobs and loyalty.

The well coiffed German, one of the favourites to take that second stage at Tirreno-Adriatico, crashed in the run-up to the finish, and out of frustration he slammed his bike to the ground.

The incident immediately made waves around the internet, and later Kittel amusingly took to Twitter to apologise…to his Giant Propel team bike.

After sleeping on it, or maybe with some well crafted plotting with the marketing team at Giant-Shimano, he seemed to feel that some additional contrition was required prior to the tough 210km third stage from Cascina to Arezzo.

Of course it goes without saying that Giant may not have been happy seeing one of their bikes tossed around so publicly, so Kittel perhaps diffused any behind the scenes concerns.

Tennis racquet manufacturers don't enjoy seeing their sponsored athletes smash their tools into the ground after a lost point or game, why should Giant?

Ironically, the incident and Kittel's subsequent Twitter "apologies" may have done more to engage fans and promote the Giant Propel brand than any single victory.

It even inspired Trek Factory Racing to do a bit of good-natured ambush marketing of its own.

Men's professional road cycling is recovering from its darkest period, one dominated by doping and poor governance, and it desperately needs an injection of fun and inspiration.

The contribution has to come from not only International Cycling Union President Brian Cookson, but the teams and riders.

Lotto-Belisol's Australian rider Adam Hansen is a standout example of what the sport desperately needs. In fact the entire Lotto-Belisol team is fantastic in its engagement with fans, while putting wins on the board.

More teams should look for these opportunities and follow suit.

Kittel is recognised as one of the sports most marketable stars and well planned or not, his contribution was inspired and more of what the sport desperately needs, fun.