there is a whole team around [pros] with managers, coaches, engineers, physicians, technical advisors, sponsors etc.
Thinking that all these persons are not that "techically savvy" either is a naif thought, at least...
It's not that simple; I read somewhere that Armstrong used a Specialized Trispoke when other wheels would have been faster; the person telling him to skip the trispoke was some guy named Steve Hed. (It's my understanding that the Trispoke was only marginally slower than the alternative, however).
Exactly, SPONSORS. TEAMS. People who have made products that have to survive x number of cycles in a rig and feel good to y number of people. You always say aero is marketing but you can't see that this is the biggest marketing exercise of them all?
RIDE WHAT THE PROS RIDE. That's marketing.
I'd say this is a little reductive too. There's a saying in horse racing and motorsports: "racing improves the breed." Some sponsors really do use their pro riders to make better products. Others treat sponsorship as a pure marketing exercise.
Some people treat "marketing" as a four-letter word, as though any company that engages in it is somehow dishonest. I don't agree with that...all companies try to show their products in the best possible light. That's their job. Ours as consumers is to educate ourselves so we can choose what we like without being swayed by specious claims.
If the pro doesn't want to ride it, he won't.
This is true only for superstars. Sponsors have a right to expect their teams to use the provided equipment. The vast majority of the peloton rides what their sponsor provides.
There are many in the peloton where nothing will change what they felt and biases established when they were growing up in U18 and U23 racing.
This I agree with wholeheartedly. Pros tend to be very conservative, but for good reason: they can't afford to throw away any victory due to equipment failure. Combine that with soigneurs and mechanics who are deeply bound to tradition and directeurs sportif who are mostly former pros and you have a culture that's constitutionally averse to change.
Back in the '90s, I worked for a bicycle trade magazine. We'd occasionally hear rumors that we couldn't pursue or write about because they were just hearsay and not especially relevant to the bike industry. One of the rumors I heard was that one reason (among others) that Greg LeMond was despised by some members of the European cycling establishment was that he was not sufficiently respectful of tradition. I mean, they got really mad because he played golf and ate ice cream.
LeMond was among the first pros to use both aero bars and clipless pedals. He was on Calfee carbon frames when many pros were still riding steel bikes. LeMond's technical sophistication made him an outlier among the pros, and it certainly didn't help his popularity. The sport is not quite so hidebound now, but it's not exactly open to new ideas, either.