Tech news: Team sponsorship round-up

A look at who's riding what in 2011

Garmin-Transitions switches to Cervélo bikes, Rotor components, Castelli clothing

Garmin-Transitions is undergoing one of the most comprehensive supplier changes among the top road teams, swapping bikes, components and clothing for the 2011 season.

Cervélo will replace Felt as the team's bike supplier and also step in a co-title sponsor after the company decided to move away from its innovative manufacturer-backed TestTeam model of the past few years. The team - heretofore known as Garmin-Cervélo - will mostly be aboard the aero-profiled S3 carbon frames though some of the squad's smaller riders and climbing specialists may opt for the lighter R5/R3 models. Transitions is expected to sponsor the team but as the official lens supplier rather than a title sponsor.

"As we have often mentioned, our primary goal has always been to have some control over the direction that cycling will take," said Cervélo co-founder Phil White. "In our eight years in pro cycling, we have seen the many possibilities cycling offers. The very positive response to a focus on more than just racing has been great. The emphasis we have had on product R&D since 2003 will be integrated into the new team's routine as well."

In addition, SRAM replaces long-time component supplier Shimano and will supply its top-end Red transmission, DoubleTap levers and brakes. Rotor will step in as the crank supplier, though, providing its clever 3D hollow-milled aluminum cranks and an assortment of round and elliptical chainrings. The removable spider also allows for an apparent move to SRM power meters away from Powertap, too.

Garmin-Cervélo will even change clothing sponsors for the next three years, trading out Colorado-based Pearl Izumi for Castelli. The Italian company is slated to provide apparel for the pro men's and women's teams along with the U23 and even the junior development squads.

As was the case with Pearl Izumi, it's expected that Castelli will use the team to test new concepts and ideas for inline items before they're released to consumers.

"This multi-year agreement to provide clothing to all levels gives us continued access to valued input from the world's top pros, both men and women," said Castelli racing performance director Andrea Peron in a press release.

"We have created a joint research and development program working with Robby Ketchell, the team's sport science director, and we have outlined an innovation agenda focused on making the athletes as fast as possible in every racing condition."

Movistar to run electronic Campagnolo groups, Catlike helmets

The new Movistar team - formerly known as Caisse d'Epargne - will reportedly retain most of its previous equipment sponsors, including Pinarello, Campagnolo, Selle Italia and Elite. However, Campagnolo will equip the riders with a brand-new electronic group that was just briefly shown at the official team presentation back in October.

Campagnolo is still elusive with details, though it has confirmed that Movistar will be the only team so equipped for next season. Certain aspects look to mirror those of Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 version however, including shift actuator placement analogous to Campagnolo's mechanical levers, a giant front derailleur body (required to house the high-powered motor), and a down tube-mounted battery positioned just below the bottle cage. And of course, the system moves the chain across eleven rear cogs instead of the ten employed by Shimano and SRAM.

Spanish company Catlike will also replace Giro as the official helmet supplier. Team riders will use the company's Whisper Plus model for road events along with the Chrono Aero Plus for time trials. Both models are mostly carryover for 2011, save for subtle improvements such as the new 'floating' rear retention system that's said to improve the fit and overall comfort.

"It makes us very happy to join a team like Movistar," said Catlike CEO Pepe del Ramo. "A structure ruled by Eusebio Unzúe, who has been managing top teams for more than 30 years, gives us a lot of confidence and excitement. Catlike is used to dealing with top teams from all over the world, but it is always nice to collaborate with a Spanish team."

Pegasus to fly on Scott bikes and Bont shoes for 2011

Australian road team Pegasus Sports - formerly known as Fly V Australia - moves from De Rosa to Scott for the 2011 season. Though neither group has yet to make an official announcement, keen-eyed observers have already spotted the team's riders aboard brand new Scott F01 aero road bikes on training rides around Queensland.

Scott has yet to officially unveil the F01 as a production model but its continued appearance in the pro ranks suggests that we're likely to see it added to consumer catalogues as a 2012 model. Claimed frame weight is tantalisingly close to that of the current Addict at just 840g plus the giant D-shaped tubes and tapered front end are said to also offer notable improvements in rigidity. Scott also goes on to say that the truncated airfoil cross-sections will even save a substantial 20W of power output at typical racing speeds (based on a 300W rider output).

Those frames will be wrapped in SRAM Red groups, Selle Italia saddles, Vittoria tyres and Zipp wheels, bars, and stems.

Bont will provide the Pegasus Sports team with footwear across the board with models to include the company's latest Vaypor, the ultralight Zero, and the aero Crono. All feature fully heat moldable uppers and lowers for a customizable fit and ultralight and rigid bathtub-style carbon fiber soles.

"As an Australian company, we are immensely proud of the depth of Australian cycling talent and this Australian project by Pegasus," said Bont Cycling CEO Steven Nemeth. "Our objective is to develop the best possible cycling shoe through continual testing and technical innovation. We want to provide both the competitive and enthusiast cyclist with a cycling shoe that offers true anatomical fit and comfort combined with unparalleled performance."

Felt to support Team Exergy through 2012

After mutually agreeing with Garmin-Transitions to part ways after the 2010 season, Felt Bicycles is once again turning its attention towards emerging teams and talents. For 2011-2012, Felt will now sponsor the Idaho-based Team Exergy UCI Continental road squad whose roster will include 2001 and 2006 US amateur road champions Remi McManus and Matt Cooke.

"Felt has a storied history of supporting emerging teams and new talent, and in Team Exergy we feel as though they have the blueprint to be very successful," said Felt marketing director Doug Martin. "After a competitive run at the NRC and select international events this year, Team Exergy has put together the pieces to take their program to the next level and we are excited to be a part of it."

Felt will provide Team Exergy with both road and time trial bikes, including the all-new F-series road bike and B2 time trial framesets.

Rotor Bike Components to outfit Saur-Sojasun team

After years of struggling to get a foot in the door of pro team sponsorship, Rotor Bike Components now seems to be adding new teams and riders with an impressive pace, most recently adding the Saur Sojasun team to its list of sponsored outfits for 2011.

According to Rotor, Saur Sojasun will use Rotor's 3D+ cranks, both round and elliptical chainrings, BB30 bottom bracket, chain catchers, and race number holders.

"France is one of our leading markets, in which we have quite a number of fans and high customer fidelity, so we want to thank them for this support by sponsoring one of the country's leading teams," said Rotor CEO Ignacio Estellés. "A strong professional team, well placed in the 2010 UCI rankings - above some ProTour teams - is a new proving ground for our technologies, increasing the brand´s fame and customer's confidence in our products."

Europcar team continues on Colnago bikes, switches to Louis Garneau helmets and clothing

The recently announced UCI Pro Continental Europcar team - formerly known as BBox Bouygues Telecom - will carry on with Colnago bikes for both road and time trial applications but will make a move from Nalini clothing to Louis Garneau through the 2012 season.

Louis Garneau will also supply the team with Diamond and X-Lite road helmets and the new Vorttice time trial helmet.

"For years, Louis Garneau has been producing some of the most technical gear on the market," said Louis Garneau international marketing director Pierre Perron in a press release. "This sponsorship will strengthen our credibility as we test and prove our apparel and helmets through the collaboration of the world's best athletes."

Key product models will include the Diamond, X-Lite, and Vorttice helmets plus the top-end Corsa range of clothing.

"Our relationship with Louis Garneau and the past helmet sponsorship of the Bouygues Telecom Professional Cycling Team from 2005-2008 has always been a positive factor in the history of our team," said team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau.

"This year, we strengthen our relationship and bring Louis Garneau helmets and apparel to the team. Louis Garneau is one of the few manufacturers outfitting teams with helmets and apparel, and also one of the few manufacturers producing helmets and apparel at that calibre of technology."

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