Kisses from the original Specialized Angel

Specialized Angel
Photo by Ken Conley

Jana Ireton, who launched the Specialized Angel as the symbol of the Tour of California and beyond, has written to say she will not be wearing the wings in 2008. She endured many a cold KOM to spread the Specialized brand and represent a heavenly California counterpoint to the Tour de France Devil. But unlike the Devil, the Angel has corporate overlords.

Specialized wanted to take the Angel icon beyond the US and has decided to go with a multilingual Spanish model. Fret not, Original Angel Fans: Jana says, "I will be along the sidelines cheering on the riders at various stages of TOC and enjoying every moment as I have always done. And yes, "I am Specialized"!" To see more of her message, read the full entry.

See also: People dig the Specialized Angel

I was hoping to share the good news of my return as the Specialized Angel for the 3rd year, but Specialized did not ask for my return. I was heart-broken when they gave me the news that they decided to have another girl from Spain be the Angel at TOC this year. They thanked me for all I've done to make the Angel iconic and to not take it personal, but it was the majority opinion of having this someone be the Angel who spoke multiple languages and keeping it fresh for the press.

It was very difficult for me to imagine someone else in my wings. After all, I was the first Specialized Angel who the cycling industry was so taken with and I was so taken with them. Being that there has been one Devil (Didi Senft) in Europe for many years, I was dreaming whole-heartily of being the one Angel for the U.S. I do respect Specialized's decision for whomever they choose to be their Angel - I'm just disheartened that it will not be me.

I have to say as I told Specialized that I am truly grateful to have been the Specialized Angel all this time and will remember this amazing experience for the rest of my life. I've been able to embrace the cycling phenomenon like never before. I absolutely loved being at the KOMs, starts, & finishes blowing my signature kisses to all the riders, team cars, motorcades, police squad cars, caravan, and of course the fantastic fans. So a special thanks to you and for featuring your article of me: http://kwc.org/cycling/seaotterclassic/peopledigthe_angel.html

Although you will not see me in my glorious wings, I will be along the sidelines cheering on the riders at various stages of TOC and enjoying every moment as I have always done. And yes, "I am Specialized"!

Kisses, Jana Ireton

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