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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A new Angel for Specialized

Here's a disappointing bit of news: Jana Ireton won't be back as the Specialized Angel for this year's Amgen Tour of California bicycle race on Feb. 17-24.

Here's the note Jana sent me today.
Hello Roger,

Happy 2008! I hope all is well with you. Another great year of cycling is among us and TOC is less than a month away.

I was hoping to share the good news of my return as the Specialized Angel for the 3rd year, but Specialized did not ask for my return. I was heart-broken when they gave me the news that they decided to have another girl from Spain be the Angel at TOC this year. They thanked me for all I've done to make the Angel iconic and to not take it personal, but it was the majority opinion of having this someone be the Angel who spoke multiple languages and keeping it fresh for the press.

It was very difficult for me to imagine someone else in my wings. After all, I was the first Specialized Angel who the cycling industry was so taken with and I was so taken with them. Being that there has been one Devil (Didi Senft) in Europe for many years, I was dreaming whole-heartily of being the one Angel for the U.S. I do respect Specialized's decision for whomever they choose to be their Angel -- I'm just disheartened that it will not be me.

I have to say as I told Specialized that I am truly grateful to have been the Specialized Angel all this time and will remember this amazing experience for the rest of my life. I've been able to embrace the cycling phenomenon like never before. I absolutely loved being at the KOMs, starts, & finishes blowing my signature kisses to all the riders, team cars, motorcades, police squad cars, caravan, and of course the fantastic fans. So a special thanks to you and featuring me in your blog these past 2 years and although you will not see me in my glorious wings, I will be along the sidelines cheering on the riders at various stages of TOC and enjoying every moment as I have always done. And yes, "I am Specialized!"

Jana Ireton
I, too, am disappointed that Jana will not be the Specialized Angel. I've never met Jana, but she always has been kind and gracious in her notes to me over the years. It sounds like she's taking the news as well as can be expected, but the fact she still will attend the Tour of California tells me she's a class act.

With that, I leave you with one more photo of Jana:

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Roger 2 comments links to this post 7:55 PM

I have to say Specialized made a great choice for 2008, based on the young lady I met at the prologue. Her Spanish accent is beautiful!
I'm way late on saying so, but I spoke to her just a bit some years ago and she was sweet and generous, in the spirit of the role and clearly enjoying the interaction. And of course the riders (during warmup rides) loved seeing her on the hill. (The Italian teams were VERY supportive. ;-)

I did get a few nice shots of her, including this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmphoto/112478847/ . I trust she's doing well, and just as nice.
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