The History of Coffee and Cycling: The Teams that rocked the coffee bean…

We all know that coffee is an integral part of cycling.  But one may question… “why?”  The truth is that caffeine delivers a sharp performative boost during exercise.  It even has beneficial recovery qualities by working some of the toxins out of the muscles. 

Is this why some coffee growers and coffee machine manufacturers have sponsored a handful of legendary teams? 

Let’s explore some of these teams and how coffee and cycling became synonymous with each other…

FAEMA (1968-1970)

Fabbrica Apparecchiature Elettromeccaniche e Affini (FAEMA) is a Milanese coffee machine manufacturer that banked on the benefits of this brewed beverage as early as 1955. This arrangement saw major results on the road-all within three seasons.

Here’s a rough account of the wins:

  • Rick Van Looy - He won the Giro di Lombardia, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix (twice), the Mountain Classification at the Giro d’Italia, the Points Classification at the Tour de France, the World Championships (twice), and Tour of Flanders (twice).
  • Eddy Merckx - He won the Giro d’Italia (twice), Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix (twice), Paris-Nice, Tour de France (twice), Tour de Romandie, Tour of Flanders, and Volta a Catalunya.

Cafe de Colombia (1983-1990)

Colombian coffee growers Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia came through with “Cafe de Colombia” and linked with Luis “Lucho” Herrera. Herrera became the first South American cyclist who won many Mountain Classifications, 1984 Tour de France Alpe d’Huez stage and a 1987 Grand Tour.

The team disbanded in 1990, but is still remembered for its accomplishments to date. 

SAECO (1996 – 2005)

Saeco, a coffee machine manufacturer, entered the world of cycling in 1996. The company made up for its late entry into the field by ushering in riders like Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Francesco Casagrande, Gilberto Simoni, Ivan Gotti, Paolo Salvodelli, and the legendary Mario Cipollini, who sprinted to the finishing line with unrivaled, laser-sharp precision. Cipollini’s most memorable moments were his 4 consecutive stage wins in the 1999 Tour de France. 

Trek-Segafredo (2011 – present)

You know you have a top of the line Trek model when you see the Trek Segafredo logo on the bike.  The coffee conglomerate Segafredo has made quite the mark in popularizing the culture of cycling and coffee. This road cycling team is very inclusive, with professionals (both men and women) from 13 different countries.

Riders like Vincenzo, Jasper Stuyven, Mads Pedersen, Lizzie Deignan, and Elisa Longo Borghini strive to race hard for the glory of the sport. They have clinched victories across the Grand Tours, La Course, and Milan-San Remo. More recent riders that makeup the mens team are Giulio Ciccone, Mads Pederson, Bauke Mollema, Jasper Stuyven and on the women’s team are Lizzie Deignan, Elisa Longo Borghini, and Elllen van Dijk. 

This team is still racing and can currently be seen racingon the grand stage at the Tour De France. 

Coffee and Cycling

While there are more coffee sponsors than the ones we identified, it goes without saying that Cycling and Coffee have quite a symbiotic relationship.  Which is also why Velo Canteen ultimately designed a bottle that could elevate your ride!  No longer get left stranded with unfinished coffee, simply pour the rest of your hot coffee for the ride home.  Or if in the summer, keep your drinks nice and cold with Velo Canteen.