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Tarmacs, Shivs and Roubaix SLs all round as Specialized sign up another top team

Specialized and High Road Sports have announced "a multi-year partnership" beginning in 2011 that will see Mark Cavendish and his HTC-High Road team mates (as they will be for next season) riding on Specialized bikes in 2011.

Specialized  will supply the team’s frames, forks, and helmets. The men’s squad will race the S-Works Tarmac for most road races, the S-Works  Roubaix for cobbled classics, and the Shiv TT in time trials. Specialized will also supply S-Works  Prevail and TT3 helmets for road and time trials, respectively – although the "TT" bit probably gave that away anyway.

HTC's women's squad will will race on Amira road bikes , and Shiv TT bikes  for the time trials. They will also wear Prevail and TT3 helmets. Specialized have invested a lot of money into their women's specific range of bikes and according to Specialized boss Mike Sinyard, the chance to supply a top level women's team was one of the things that excited Specialized so much about the deal.

Specialized has moved quickly to shore up its position in the peloton having seen both it's other sponsored teams, Astana, and Saxo Bank dramatically weakened in the past few weeks. Alberto Contador won the Tour de France this year for Astana – riding Specialized's Tarmac SL – and was expected to continue his Tour winning form for the marque with his move to Team Saxo Bank. All bets on that score are now off as a result of the doping controversy that has since engulfed the Spaniard.

Saxo Bank initially looked to have scored a coup by signing Contador to replace the Schleck brothers, Frank and Andy, who left at the end of this season to set up their own Luxembourg based team – which will be riding on Trek bikes (a development that is rumoured not to have pleased at least one high profile rider of Trek road bikes). Indeed as we also report today the Contador signing and the strong possibility that he won't be riding in 2011 could have had disastrous consequences for the Danish team in terms of its sponsorship arrangements.

While neither Saxo Bank nor Astana now look to have any Grand Tour winners on their roster for 2011 they do have some star riders in the shape of Fabian Cancellara and Alexander Vinokourov that will continue to grab attention for Specialized. The deal with High Road Sports means that Mark Cavendish can now be added to that list. Specialized now have the world's top sprinter, and probably the best all-rounder and time triallist in Cancellara, plus Vinokourov who despite his tainted image continues to deliver as a GC rider even if he is no longer topping any classifications… and probably won't win any popularity prizes either.

Where the news leaves Scott, HTC's previous bike supplier is unclear - they were showing their arero prototype F01 road bike at Eurobike that Cavendish had been riding at this year's Tour - maybe today's announcement explains why they made relatively so little of it on their stand. HTC have enjoyed two phenomenal years as HTC's bike supplier with Mark Cavendish racking up six Tour de France stage wins in 2009 and adding another five in 2010, Andre Greipel also won the 2009 Vuelta points jersey a feat repeated in 2010 by Cavendish along the way HTC Columbia underlined its position as, dreadful phrase, the world's most 'winningest' cycling team.

You can read the joint announcement from High Road Sports and Specialized here

 

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.

12 comments

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Jon Burrage [997 posts] 7 years ago
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so that is Felt and Scott without a top line team.

Interestingly, I quite like that there are some top teams using the same kit, levels the playing field a bit, maybe?

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 7 years ago
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Scott are supplying bikes for the new Aussie team "Pegasus Racing" aren't they?

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Simon E [3206 posts] 7 years ago
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Jon, at this level surely all the top bikes are be pretty good. There may be differences, but nothing spectacular.

I'd have thought that other significant variables like diet, training regime, racing programme and psychological outlook/health have a considerably greater influence on a rider's performance.

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jova54 [679 posts] 7 years ago
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Agree Simon. I don't see Cav suddenly being a slower, or faster, sprinter because he's changed bike supplier.

The bike is a transportation system for which the power and aerodynamics are provided in the most part by the rider.

As they're all built to the same minimum weight spec I think it comes down to rider strength/ability.

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Jon Burrage [997 posts] 7 years ago
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Simon, I agree completely. All top end bikes are likely to be superb with great handling characteristics and stiffness for the climbs but different bikes do offer slight variations.

My point is that diet, training, mental toughness etc will be the difference between teams using the same bike.

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andylul [410 posts] 7 years ago
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Not a Pinarello, then?

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Tony Farrelly [2919 posts] 7 years ago
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I think if you are talking aggregation of marginal gains then having the right bikes can make a difference - even if it's only a psychological one. Plus it has to be said while the UCI has its daft minimum weight limit most of the bikes are actually manufactured to well below that and have weights added to bring them up to the limit… for scrutineering at least.

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bikeandy61 [538 posts] 7 years ago
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So who is the Trek rider who isn't happy about the luxembourg team being on Trek? Are there any major riders left on Trek? Levi Leipheimer? Maybe Trek have added a team as Radioshack haven't exactly set the world on fire? And doesn't their sponsorship end next year now? And will there be another BIG US based team with LA defo now retired?

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Jon Burrage [997 posts] 7 years ago
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I think garmin cervelo still ticks that box

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Tony Farrelly [2919 posts] 7 years ago
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He may, or may not ride next year's Tour, but that's just one race - don't think Armstrong's retired just yet.

HTC are a US team too

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jezzzer [329 posts] 7 years ago
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cav on a shiv - that'll be a sight to behold  1

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BikerBob [123 posts] 7 years ago
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Specialized yet further down the road to world domination...  37