The Roompot-Oranje Peloton team has confirmed to Cyclingnews that all its riders will use disc brakes during the 2016 season as part of their sponsorship deal with bike brand Isaac and component maker SRAM. The team is set to use disc brakes at next week's Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain after spending time getting used to the new technology at their January training camp in Calpe, Spain.
The Dutch Professional Continental squad is the first major team to take advantage of the UCI's decision to allow the new brake technology to be used in the 2016 professional peloton as part of final trials. If this wider phase of testing is a success, disc brakes will officially become legal across the sport from 2017.
Several teams and riders have expressed concerns about safety in the peloton if some teams use disc brakes and other opt for more tradition caliper brakes. However, these concerns have been dismissed by component manufacturers and riders who have used disc brakes during last season's trials at the Vuelta a España and other races. Roompot was one of the first teams to try disc brakes on the Isaac Boson frame during last year's Eneco Tour and is convinced of their advantages, despite questions concerning neutral service support during races.
"A shorter braking distance in the rain, better [braking] dosage downhill and never distorted wheels from overheating. When riders from other teams begin to see the plusses, I think they will soon follow us. As a team we are now in favour [of disc brakes]," said the Roompot technical manager Henk Schipper.
Roompot faced a race against time to get the new bikes ready for all the team to race on them at the same time, with Isaac providing new frames specifically designed for disc brakes. The special Isaac Element SL frames are designed for thru-axle hubs and wheels, which are provided by FFWD. SRAM provides the HydroR disc brake set-up. The team even had to adapt its roof racks on team cars to accommodate the disc brake-equipped bikes.
"We had to do a lot of work in a short time. A gradual transition to rim brake disc is not practical to do because you will end up with different bike frames and wheels. Also bicycle manufacturer Isaac has put everything in order to provide the customized Element SL frames in time," Schipper explained.
"On top of that, the storage systems in the team trucks and roof racks on the Peugeot team cars had to be adjusted. Thanks to a great effort from our partners involved it is all pretty successfully on time."
Roompot-Oranje Peloton failed to secure a wild card invitation to the Giro d'Italia but is set to use disc brakes in other early-season races and the Tour of Flanders, the Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.