It was a shock to many when Spanish bike manufacturer Orbea slipped out of the World Tour at the end of 2013 when the Euskaltel-Euskadi team they sponsored folded. But after a year away from the top level of professional cycle racing, Orbea have announced they'll partner with French team Cofidis Solutions Crédits for 2015.
Orbea and Cofidis Solutions Crédits have struck a two year deal but with “longer-term ambitions” revealing Orbea have ambitions to remain in the professional ranks for longer than the agreed contract suggests. The previous partnership between Orbea and Euskaltel-Euskadi was one of the longest running in professional cycling, lasting 20 years since their formation in 1994.
This news means Cofidis will swap their Look bikes for the Spanish designed models from Orbea, which includes the flagship Orca. This top-end race bike, in the company’s range for 10 years, was handily updated for 2015 with a new lighter 900g frame and emphasis on providing a better stiffness to comfort balance. There are less of the unique styling cues of previous generation models, but it’s still unmistakably an Orbea. For time trials the team will have the new Ordu time trial bike, introduced just this year.
We’ll have to wait until January to see what the actual bikes and kit look like. The current Look bikes as raced by Cofidis are fairly unique in that they’re stock colours available through the French company’s range, not custom painted just for the team bikes as we’re more used to see from the other manufacturers. Orbea bikes always used to be easy to spot in the peloton because they took the orange of the team sponsor and made it their own. More than that, the bikes and team became a symbol for Basque cycling. We're not sure what the future will be for Look though...
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.