Cannondale bike wins World Champs, but will the company win back IBD trust?

At a dealer meeting on Monday morning at Interbike Las Vegas, the cycle enthusiast fund manager - and now boss of Cannondale - made lots of references to teamwork, focus, outstanding product, and innovation. No mention was made of the ousting of Scott Montgomery, son of Cannondale's founder. Instead, Uri and Cannondale execs laid their cards on the table, stressing the continuation of US manufacturing and redoubled committment to the specialty retail channel. No Cannondale's made in Taiwan and sold in Wal-mart, then...
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At the weekend the largely unknown Igor Astarloa of Spain won the Elite Men's World Championship Road Race in Hamilton, Canada.

He did it on a Team Saeco Cannondale bike. Much was made of this at Monday's dealer meeting. There was also much made of the focus on bicycles. David Uri, pictured above, president of Cannondale and in charge of $800m of investment funds at Pegasus Capital Partners, owners of Cannondale, said he had been in charge of disposing of the motorcycle division, and had been glad to got rid of a "distraction."

The motorcycle division had eaten cash, diverted attentions and, eventually, led to the chapter 11 bankruptcy filing earlier this year.

Now that the distraction has been removed, Uri has installed new execs, and promoted long-time employees to key positions.

'Employees have embraced the management changes," said Uri.

Promoted staffers later said there was a better, more upbeat feeling among workers at Cannondale than for many years.

Uri said the changes had "maintained the [Cannondale] culture."

This was the "glue that held this business together."

But there were critical changes that needed to be made to make Cannondale more IBD, vendor and consumer focussed, said Uri.

"We will now couple passion with discipline and focus. What is our commitment to the speciality retailer channel? We will maintain our presence going forward. IBDs will be welcomed as partners. There will be additional resources available to them, including for marketing and operations."

"Are we committed to domestic manufacturing? Absolutely. Our Bedford plant can be used as a strategic weapon, creating the right product at the right time. We are flexible, we can make a bike in hours where some of our competitors have weeks and months as leadtimes."

A 'war room' has been created at Cannondale HQ where buyers, planners and designers can meet together instead of working isolated from each other.

A project manager is to be hired to improve forecasting and oversee production and on-time delivery. By March, it is expected the percentage of ontime deliveries will rise to 90 percent.

Cannondale designers are increasingly working on carbon as well as aluminium and Cannondale wants to be seen as the "materials expert", not just the "aluminum expert." As well as further carbon/alu frames, Cannondale is working on carbon cranks and other components.

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