Though camera shy in the wild, the seemingly ageless Italian cyclist – who bears a striking resemblance to the Incredible Hulk – features regularly on social media channels, often pairing up with pros on the hunt for exposure and future sponsorship.
Genetics, and a refusal to miss leg day ever, means that Göttlich looks like a thoroughbred sprinter. However, his true dream is to overcome the natural physique which sees the scales hit 120 kilograms, and compete at the Tour de France.
The sprinter’s ambition was almost realised, when Bora-Hansgrohe tracked him down, signing him up during the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
The German team had ambitions of having Göttlich support Peter Sagan’s green jersey hopes at the French race. They also planned to advise him on race nutrition, to help him reach a target watts per kilo ratio – with Eurosport coming on as media partner to document the journey.
Announcing the signing, team manager Ralph Denk said: “Ion is incredibly motivated and his sprinting prowess is undisputed.”
“If we are able to bring him to such a form that he will be able to survive the big climbs of the Tour, then he could really make the difference for Peter in the sprint preparations.
“Our coaches and the performance team continue to remain in close contact with Ion. There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are confident.”
Unfortunately, though Göttlich proved his excellence on the flat roads – even motor pacing the motor pacers – the mountains proved just one hurdle too many, and he was sent home without a pro contract.
After journeying through five stages of grief, his disappointment played out in the public eye, Göttlich spotted a new way to get himself to the final in Paris.
The rider was successfully recruited by Eurosport, and will take on the role of social media consultant for the broadcaster, during the biggest month of the year in cycling media.
Laurence Schirrecker-Mothes, Director of Global Cycling Production at Eurosport, said: “It’s clear that Ion has the speed on the track and the flat, but to survive Le Tour you have to be able to climb and sadly for him he just couldn’t make the cut. However, it’s obvious that Ion has a passion and flair for social media and, with almost 100,000 followers, he certainly knows how to produce engaging and entertaining content.
“I’m very happy to announce that Ion will be joining Eurosport during the Tour de France as a social media consultant capturing the sights and sounds of the world’s most iconic race from his unique perspective.”
Ion’s father, South African animator Claudio Pavan, is looking forward to seeing what his creation can do in the coming months.