“I’ve had steel bikes and carbon stuff in the past,” explains freshly-minted Marcelo owner Alec, “but never a Pegoretti.” With a riding career that began twenty years ago, the obvious question is, why now? “I started riding around 2004, which was the year I feel like bikes stopped looking like bikes and more like monocoque, wind-tunnel sculpted shapes,” he says. “But I always loved the looks of a steel bike – Indurain’s Pinarello, for example, the Ulrich era, the Mapei guys, all of it. Plus, the amazing heritage of frame building,” he enthuses. “So I guess I was always on my way here.”

Keen to find out who made his hero’s bikes, Alec took to the internet, scouring blogs and press articles in search of the secrets behind the decals. Wherever he looked, one name kept coming up: Pegoretti. “Who Pegoretti built for had a big sway on me, to say the least,” he says, reeling off a list of names, some known, some unknown to the wider public. “But combined with that incredible pedigree was the brand’s attitude that bikes are for riding, for racing, even if they often look like works of art.”

Ultimately, Alec explains, he wanted a bike that was built, not processed, one with an artistic element to the frame and the legacy of performance that carried his cycling idols to success. And for that, it had to be a Pegoretti – with the addition of a Ciavete paint scheme. “I’ve never seen one I don’t like,” Alec admits, referring to our ‘surprise me’ signature style. He did, though, give a little creative direction. “I’m not too keen on barbed wire!” he laughs. “And I like a light base, but other than that, I was happy to let the team do what they do best.” Even if that meant some pink on the frame? “Ah, I did specify no pink, but I regret that now! I set up a sort of joke team – Team Zero Allez – and our kit is pink,” he explains. “So I was worried about it being too much, which it probably would have been.”

It might have been founded in jest between friends, but Team Zero Allez’s fame has spread beyond the Oxfordshire lanes of Alec’s regular routes, with riders the world over wearing the pink shirt with pride. “We’ve even got sponsors now!” he says wryly.

Fast forward a few weeks past our call, and on a sunny Tuesday morning in June, Alec arrived at Pegoretti partner CycleFit in Central London to pick up his new bike. His reaction? “It’s incredible. The detail is amazing. It’s got a light feel, yet the design draws you in. I love it!” A quick fit check with CycleFit’s Phil, and then it’s back to Paddington to catch the train home—this time with a bike in tow. “I’m heading to the Pyrenees soon,” Alec says on his way out of the door. “I can’t wait to ride my Marcelo over those mountains!”

Allez, Alec!

Story and photos by Peter Harrington.