After a long day in the California sun during the opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California, a small group of industry folks gathered at the flagship Oakley store on Market Street in downtown San Francisco. The reason? Food, fellowship, and Radar.
Steve Blick, Oakley's Sports Marketing guru, brought together a handful of Oakley's past and present cycling stars and sponsored athletes. Former 7-Eleven captain and 1988 Giro d'Italia champion Andy Hampsten, and the young and confident Saul Raisin (looking remarkably fit and focused after coming out of a coma last April) shared some stories about being Oakley athletes then and now, as 1986 Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Alex Stieda stood in the ranks next to former 7-Eleven Cycling Team chief Sean Petty.
After thanking the journalists, athletes and O Store staff, Blick walked us through the evolution of Oakley's performance eyewear. From the Pilots worn by Hampsten in the `88 Giro, to the Race Jackets currently worn by Discovery's George Hincapie, Blick charted Oakley's progression through the peloton. "Earning its way onto the faces of the peloton's best" would best describe the slow but steady acceptance of Oakleys into the traditional European ranks.
Not one to rest on its laurels, Oakley decided it was time to introduce its first true new technology in 12 years, and come March 1, the world will see the Oakley Radar for the first time. Here's an exclusive sneak peek to tide you over.
The new Oakley Radars
Â© Gary J. Boulanger
Andy Hampsten, one of Oakley's pioneers
Â© Gary J. Boulanger.