The Astana team and new bike sponsor Argon 18 unveiled the bikes the Kazakhstani team will use during the 2017 season at their recent get together in Tuscany, confirming a switch from Campagnolo to FSA. The riders will initially use Shimano Dura Ace Di2 electronic gears, but gradually switch to FSA's new WE electronic gears as the product rolls out during the start of 2017.
Astana announced a three-year agreement with the Montreal-based Argon 18 in August, ending an eleven-year partnership with Specialized who have supplied the team since it's inception in the second half of 2006. Specialized has arguably swapped teams with Argon 18, with the California-based brand helping fund Peter Sagan's big budget move to the German team. Argon 18 was happy to swap teams, securing a keenly contested place in the WorldTour as it continues to grow as what it calls a 'specialist brand' and snap away at the heels of the bigger global brands.
Owned by former Olympian and road racer, Gervais Rioux, Argon 18 has supported professional continental teams in Europe and North America including Jelly Belly Maxxis team and Bora-Argon 18. The company produces over 15,000 frames a year and distributes in products to over 70 countries. It has recently opened a new European base in Italy that will greatly help the availability of its complete bikes and frames.
The Astana riders will be able to choose between the Gallium Pro road frame and the Nitrogen Pro aero road frame, with the E-118 model as the time trial option. The bikes have a blue and yellow decoration that matches the Astana team colours. The Astana logo and name also appears on the seat tube and chainstays confirming the bikes as a distinct team issue version of the Argon 18 range.
FSA will supply the brakes, crankset and finishing kit –including some slick and very curvy carbon fiber aero road bars, whilst the levers and shifting is set to be Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with a Power2Max power meter. The team will have a choice of Vision Metron wheelsets with Schwalbe tyres. The bikes on show were fitted with Schwalbe Durano Plus rubber.
After the end of their relationship with Specialized and Campagnolo, Astana has worked to secure several new technical sponsors. These include Sidi shoes, Prologo saddles, Garmin computers and Limar helmets, while Astana will wear Clique casual clothing. The new Astana jersey – made by Giordana - with input from Argon 18 designers, has a new look and now fades from sky blue on the shoulders into the black of the shorts.
Argon 18 will supply close to 250 bikes for 2017, with riders able to use the Astana team issue Gallium Pro lightweight bike, the Nitrogen Pro aero bike and the E118 Next time trial bike. Argon 18 will also supply their new Gallium Pro disc model, with Astana planning a gradually use of disc brakes during the 2017 season. The bike features flat mount disc brakes and a specially designed through axle release system. The frameset allows clearances for up to 30mm tyre width, versus the 25mm on the standard Gallium Pro.
Swipe or click through the gallery above to see the Astana Pro Team bikes for the 2017 season.