SRAM's march through the upper reaches of the pro peloton continues with the news that the Cervelo Test Team will be using their brakes, shifters and rear mech this season as SRAM are quick to point out this means that the winners of the last 11 editions of the Tour de France now ride SRAM RED. Another but slightly less impressive way of saying it is that the last four Tour winners are now on SRAM: Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pereiro, Carlos Sastre and Alberto Contador, only one of them actually rode SRAM to victory. Fair dos though it was the last one and that's what counts in this game.
Capturing Cervelo is a coup for SRAM when the Canadian bike company showed us around the 2010 version of their flagship P4 machine at Eurobike back in October (video below), apart from a paint job, the main changes to the frame were some tweaks to allow it to run then equipment supplier, Shimano's, Di2 electronic groupset more effectively.
There is no doubting the excellence of RED as a racing groupset, but for time trialling in particular it is hard to think of a performance advantage that it enjoys over Shimano Di2 – as long as the team mechanic remembers to dial in any switches to non-standard chainring sizes in to its electronic brain. Last season Cervelo Test Team ran with the new Dura Ace 7900 - whether they would have continued to do so had they stayed with Shimano is a moot point - Shimano told us earlier this week that 80 per cent of their sponsored riders in Pro Tour teams would be riding the Di2 electronic groupset and it's likely that Cervelo would have plannedd to go the same route. However, Cervelo were not a Shimano sponsored team – they bought their equipment a factor which must have some bearing on their switch to SRAM.
“We are excited about the team using SRAM this season,” said Damon Rinard, Cervélo TestTeam Race Engineer in a SRAM press release announcing the deal, . “SRAM RED is more tolerant of contamination, more adjustable and adaptable to the bikes and the riders and, provides more reliable functionality – gear to gear, we hit the gear every time.”
“This is an incredible team that gives us a formidable platform for our products,” said Jason Phillips, SRAM’s European Sponsorship Manager. “They are at the forefront of bicycle technology and will ultimately help us make SRAM RED even faster, lighter and more functional.”
Cervelo will continue to ride on Rotor cranks – the spanish company, famous for its elliptical chainrings, is one of the co-partners in the team along with Cervelo and SRAM will presumably be a straight swap for Shimano.
Five Pro Tour Teams will run SRAM RED this season: AG2R, Astana, Team Milram, Team RadioShack, and Team Saxo Bank. As will Cervelo Test Team, and like Cervelo the Footon-Servetto Fuji ProTour team will run a partial SRAM RED groupset.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.