Chuck wrote i n response to Curt's earlier comment:
> Okay then, how about the following: I think the idea that since pro
> riders are paid to ride whatever the sponsor wants them to ride, that
> the stuff they ride is junk, is misguided.
A factual point: Coppi was paid by Juy to ride Simplex to a Tour de France victory. He was then later paid by Tullio and rode Campagnolo to a Tour win. At the time of the second tour win, Juy was not outbid financially by Tullio. The Campagnolo was simply better equipment, so Coppi took sponsorship money and the better equipment. The same holds true today. When two items are equal in quality the money decides.
Another factual point, when I was International Sales Director for Prince Tennis, we had Pat Rafter as one of our sponsored players. He was at the top of his game at the time and was probably among the most marketable male tennis players of the time on a worldwide basis. He was therefore offered considerably more money by a rival racquet maker, but stayed with us because as he put it: "he could make up the difference in sponsorship money by winning one extra tournament."
Effectively, no component sponsorship deal is ever good enough to overcome the penalty imposed by inadequate components. Offers for component sponsorship from competing suppliers only helps athletes get better contracts from their existing 'good' suppliers. It rarely gets an experienced athlete to change sponsors.