French tyre manufacturer Michelin is set to return to the professional peloton this year by sponsoring the Cofidis team in a new two-year ‘technical partnership’ that will run from 2018.
The iconic tyre company will supply the team with its latest Power clincher tyre and inner tubes. It’s a tyre we’ve tested and have been very impressed with, building on the solid foundations of the previous Pro4 with numerous improvements.
But as you probably know, most pro cyclists race tubular tyres, which you won’t find anywhere on the Michelin website. Instead we’re led to believe that the team will race specially prepared tubular tyres.
The most likely outcome is another tubular tyre manufacturer will supply the tyres with the decals replaced by the Michelin logo. We know this to be the case with another French tyre manufacturer that also supplies a pro cycling team but doesn’t offer a tubular tyre in its range.
Cofidis has previously been riding Kenda tyres manufactured by Veloflex.
There’s no official word from Michelin whether a tubular Power tyre will join the range at some point in the future. The company does add in its press release that it’ll look to use the team to help it “develop innovations that will ultimately benefit its bicycle road tyres” so we could expect to see some new products emerge from this partnership.
“Using bicycle racing in this way as a full-scale laboratory in association with a partner that is capable of fighting at the very top will help Michelin to accelerate the introduction of new high-performance tyres,” says Ulrike Ristau-Hutter, manager of Michelin’s bicycle tyre division. “To be able to put our innovations through their paces in such exacting conditions while benefiting from the experience of these outstanding athletes is a considerable asset for the Michelin Group’s bicycle tyre division.”
"We are delighted with this partnership,” says Cédric Vasseur, Sporting Director, Cofidis, Solutions Crédits. “Michelin is much more than a tyre supplier to Cofidis Solutions Crédits. It is also a partner with a long history of innovation and bicycle racing experience. Thanks to its know-how, our riders will benefit from the finest tyres for all types of conditions. Together, I am sure that we will succeed in shining on the world stage.”
Tyre sponsorship in the professional peloton is a hard-fought thing, with lots of brands represented including Specialized, Vittoria, Continental to name a few.
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.