Way back in 1992, before the big comeback with Team Radioshack, before the 7 Tour de France titles, before the comeback from cancer, even before turning pro and winning the World Road Championships in 1993, Lance Armstrong was a Performance Bicycle cover model for our Summer catalog!
This catalog cover dates to a time way before Lance was a global icon and standard fare on many a magazine cover, although he was already a highly successful amateur bike racer in his own right. As you may have guessed from the Skittles USA team jersey, this catalog came out during the lead up to the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, where Lance would go on to finish 14th in the Road Race (the top American). Performance was the official bike supplier of the US Cycling Team for the Summer Games, so we took the opportunity to give a young up-and-comer some exposure on our catalog cover, oddly enough modeling our Synapse mountain bike!
But this wasn’t the only time we put Lance on the cover in 1992, as we also used this group shot of Lance and 3 other riders from Team USA (cropped from what was actually a promotional photo for Descente clothing). Can you name the other 3 riders in the photo (the answer is below the photo)?
Give up? Left to right across the photo are Jeff Evanshine, longtime pro (but now retired) Bobby Julich, Lance and, of course, current US National Road Champion George Hincapie (that hair is simply phenomenal, by the way), astride their Performance road bikes.
Inside the catalog with just Lance on the cover, we continued to use our new favorite model to demonstrate quite a few of our Performance brand products. Here we finally have Lance riding one of our “Team USA white” Focus road bikes, inspired by the real Team USA bikes (which were custom built to the specifications of designer and builder Koichi Yamaguchi). The Focus was a clean and simple Tange Prestige bike with sharp-looking matching white brake lever hoods:
We also did a photo shoot with Lance out on the open roads, shot near our headquarters here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Here Lance is demonstrating his cycling skills while wearing one of our MicroTec ST helmets, which was a blend of the popular soft-shell foam and older-style hard shell helmet construction (check out our Helmets from the ’80s post for more helmet 411):
While sprinting away for our cameras, Lance was also wearing our Coolmax Jersey in high-viz yellow. But the definite eye-catcher on this catalog page has to be the color-blocked yellow, teal, purple and blue matching ensemble in the bottom center. Maybe the real reason that Lance is sprinting so hard is that we told him he had to wear that kit if he slowed down:
Of course we didn’t just feature promising young cyclists on our pages. In this spread for Bolle eyewear, we featured 1991 Tour de France champion Miguel Indurain, sporting his ubiquitous Micro Edge shields. Indurain would go on to win the Tour in 1992 as well, the second of his 5 consecutive Tour titles (built on the foundation of his phenomenal time trialling prowess):
And, since it is Tour time after all, what catalog would be complete without the official Yellow Jersey and Polka Dot King of the Mountain’s Jersey (along with the somewhat obscure Giro d’Italia Sprinter’s Jersey). If you can get over our hunky bib short model, at the bottom of the page we also offered a replica Skittle US National Team Jersey, but we’re not sure if that’s an actual US team member doing the modeling:
We hope you enjoyed our dive into our archives, to the days before Lance was used to being on the cover of almost every publication you can think of. We think we showed a pretty astute eye picking a 20 year old Lance to be our Summer 1992 cover model (OK, he was the 1991 US amateur road race champion, but still)!
So good luck to Lance on the roads in France–we know that he’s trailing in the Tour right now, but one thing we’ve learned from watching Lance over the years is that you can never count him out!