This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
The team formerly known as Specialized-Lululemon has changed its title sponsors and, consequently, its name to Velocio-SRAM Pro Cycling for 2015. As a result, the former world team trial trial (TTT) champions go into 2015 with a whole new look and equipment list.
Tiffany Cromwell won the Flanders-based 2013 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race and more recently was voted 2014's ‘Australian Female Road Cyclist of the Year’. Beyond the bike, Cromwell continues her passion in fashion design with freelance work, including cycle clothing. BikeRadar caught up with her during the Santos Women’s Tour, where she was riding for the composite team of Roxsolt.
Cervélo is no longer sponsoring a men’s team in WorldTour, having shifted its focus to professional women’s racing and other teams such as the South African Pro-Continental MTN-Qhubeka and Australian Continental Budget-Forklifts.
Cromwell is currently riding the new and improved Cervélo S5 aero road bike. The S5 was given a full revamp for 2015, with a total of 31 improvements and refinements over the previous model.
Cromwell previously rode a women-specific Specialized Amira, so how is finding the non-gender-specific S5. “For me it’s been quite an easy transfer, but it is a very different frame," she said. "I’ve raced unisex bikes before, such as when I was with Orica-GreenEdge and we were on the Scott Foil. The front is one major difference, Specialized is a whole lot higher and the Cervélo S5 is extremely low and aggressive”.
She also mentioned that the aero frame and deep wheels can be problematic in high winds - “Most of us are quite small, but we quickly learned how to handle these bikes in gusty conditions” - and didn’t rule out that the team would likely get the more climbing orientated R-series frames soon to use where applicable: “The aero framing has its benefits in most races, but given my size, I can benefit from a lighter and more reactive bike where extended climbing is required.”
With SRAM as a title sponsor, much of the bike is a showpiece for the American-company’s finest, including items from Zipp and Quarq.
“Having used it last year, I really like the SRAM RED. I’m looking forward to the ‘rumoured’ SRAM Wireless, though, we can’t say when it will be released, but it’ll be great. I really enjoy working with SRAM as a company, there’s a great relationship with them,” Cromwell said.
Fitting a power meter to Cervélo’s own ‘BBRight’ bottom bracket standard is a non-issue with the BB30 SRAM Red 22 Quarq crank. Where the 9mm wider bottom bracket standard has been known to cause compatibility issue, the Quarq simply adapts with a slightly different spacer configuration on the spindle.
“Coming to Quarq from SRM has been a positive move – I like data and I can extract plenty more information out of the Garmin than I could with the SRM unit," explained Cromwell.
Currently using 45mm deep Zipp 303 tubulars, Cromwell spoke of the team’s positive experience with the brand and explained that they’ve also been testing the new Zipp 404 (Firestrike) with great results. Beyond wheels, Zipp supplies the team with handlebars, stem, bartape and bottle cages; Cromwell's bike features the alloy Service Course SL stem and bar.
Glued to the wheels are Specialized Turbo tubulars, an item likely left over the previous-years' sponsorship. These treads are in a generous volume 24c, something that easily fits in the new Cervelo S5, but wouldn't have worked in the older model with its tight clearance.
The S5 is supplied stock with a 20mm set-back seatpost, unusually though, Cromwell is using the Cervelo twin-position seatpost in the 40mm set-back position, with the saddle then slid far forward to achieve a 50mm set back over the bottom bracket. This twin-position post is commonly used in triathlon race setups, but we’re unsure of the reason behind its application here – perhaps it's as simple as that's what was available.
Attached to that seatpost is a Selle Italia MAX SLR Gel Flow saddle, not the lightest but something that Cromwell finds comfortable: “Moving from Specialized saddles to Selle Italia has been an adjustment – thankfully Selle Italia has so many options.”
Given the aero frame (although small), power meter and Garmin 510 on the front, a complete weight just above 7kg is impressive. This is mostly made possible through the SRAM Red 22 drivetrain – which is currently the world’s lightest groupset – and some sneakily lightweight Speedplay Zero Titanium pedals at just 164g for the pair.