Number three of eighteen in our teasing fan dance of the 2012 WorldTour professional team's bikes, we'd love to say that they're in no particular order but the fact is that the manufacturers are hastily scrambling behind the scenes to prepare bikes for the Mediterranean training camps and theatrical team presentations that are normal at this time of year. Basically, we get them when they're good and ready and one or two teams every year will always try and hold out for the big reveal at the first race of the season, the Tour Down Under in Australia in January.
So, for the 'new' team Lotto-Belisol actually formed from the majority of the outgoing Omega Pharma-Lotto comes a new bike brand Ridley and out goes German supplier Canyon - seriously though, will we really miss that typography in the peloton? Actually, Ridley, a Belgian brand despite sounding Anglo has history with the legendary Lotto sponsor, providing bikes for the seasons 2005 to 2008, and everyone we've spoken to there seems really excited to be back with a home team after the Russian Katushas, not least because they have a genuinely innovative bike to race for 2012 in the form of the new FAST version of their long-running carbon Noah.
We probably spent more time ogling the FAST than any other bike at Eurobike and you can look at some pictures here. The big story is that the brakes are not just integrated into the frame in the style we have seen recently behind the fork crowns of time-trial bikes - these brakes actually are an integral part of the carbon fibre, forming the spring from the frame itself. Clever stuff and as tidy as you like.
Other item of interest is that Ridley will be one of the teams running Campagnolo components which means they'll almost certainly be using the new Super Record EPS drivetrain. Based on the Ridley frame and our experience with the electronic components in Italy recently here and here, these Ridleys may just be the bikes we spend most time with in the pits this year. God, we're such geeks.
It always falls to a first-year pro to model the new team kit and poor Tosh van der Sande drew the short straw for Lotto-Belisol. We say 'kit' although it's just the jersey; the shorts obviously weren't ready because they're from this year's Omega Pharma-Lotto outfit.