In his third season with the Slipstream Racing outfit to be known this year as EF Education Nippo, James Whelan was one of the Aussie WorldTour pro riders to race the Santos Festival of Cycling with the Team Garmin Australia National Team.
Alongside Ineos Grenadiers rider Richie Porte, Whelan and the Tasmanian took the opportunity to work for upcoming Aussie track riders Kelly O'Brien and Luke Plapp, who won stage two, driving the pace at the front and heading back to the team car to collect bottles.
As part of the EF Education Nippo team, Whelan is again riding a Cannondale SuperSix Evo, which is equipped with Shimano's top-end Dura-Ace Di2, albeit with a few key substitutions. For as long as the team has been riding Cannondale road bikes, they have been utilizing the brand's own cranks, with Whelan's bike shod with the Hollowgram SiSL2 cranks. However, instead of the direct mount spider rings, Whelan has 53/38t FSA chainrings and a Power2Max NGeco power meter, complete with pink and purple decals.
The EF team are again using Speedplay pedals, with Whelan opting for the one-sided Zero Aero, which sees a dimpled underside, and when mated with the brand's Walkable cleats, are claimed to be the most aero pedal setup on the market.
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Several EF riders have opted for the Vision Merton 5D integrated front end; Whelan uses a more traditional cockpit comprised of a set of FSA K-Force compact carbon bars and a 130mm FSA SL-K stem. With this setup, Whelan's cockpit is becoming more of a dying breed with wires and brake hoses exposed to the wind; however, they are shrink-wrapped to keep everything neat and tidy.
We borrowed Whelan's bike after stage three, at the top of Willunga Hill — where his teammate Porte defended his crown as the King of Willunga — and despite having a Garmin head unit capable of displaying the route and even ClimbPro, the 24-year old opted to take the analogue route and tape the course profile to his stem.
The third stage of this year's race took riders twice around and undulating circuit from McLaren Vale to Willunga and then break off to climb Willunga Hill up to the finish. For this route, it's no surprise to see Whelan opt for the moderate depth 40mm Vision Merton 40 SL tubular wheels. However, what is a surprise is the presence of the 160mm Ultegra rotor on the front wheel, especially given other teams like Team Bike Exchange are running XTR rotors to save a few grams — it seems EF has the opposite problem with its team bikes.
Brakes aside, Whelan's rolling stock is finished in 25mm Vittoria Corsa tubulars, colour-matched anodised thru-axles and a direct mount derailleur hanger.
Touchpoints come in the form of a Prologo Dimension saddle and Pro Sport Control Team LTD bar tape.
Tech Specs: James Whelan’s Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod Disc
- Frameset: Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura-Ace Di2, Size 51
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
- Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 Hydraulic Disc Dual Control Lever
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-30t
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Crankset: Cannondale SISL2 HollowGram w/ FSA Chainrings 53/38t and Power2Max NG Eco power meter
- Bottom bracket: FSA PressFit30
- Wheelset: Vision Metron 40 SL Disc
- Tyres: Vittoria Corsa tubular, 25mm
- Handlebars: FSA K-Force
- Handlebar tape: Pro Sport Control Team LTD
- Stem: FSA SL-K, 130mm
- Pedals: Speedplay Zero Aero
- Saddle: Prologo Nago Evo
- Seat post: HollowGram 27 SL KNØT
- Bottle cages: Tacx Deva
- Rider height: 1.75 m
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Based on the Gold Coast of Australia, Colin has written tech content for cycling publication for a decade. With hundreds of buyer's guides, reviews and how-tos published in Bike Radar, Cyclingnews, Bike Perfect and Cycling Weekly, as well as in numerous publications dedicated to his other passion, skiing.
Colin was a key contributor to Cyclingnews between 2019 and 2021, during which time he helped build the site's tech coverage from the ground up. Nowadays he works full-time as the news and content editor of Flow MTB magazine.