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12-speed SRAM eTap groupset spotted at Saitama criterium

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If Katusha-Alpecin's Nils Politt is using a 12-speed SRAM Red eTap groupset, it can surely only be a matter of time before it's available to the public

If Katusha-Alpecin's Nils Politt is using a 12-speed SRAM Red eTap groupset, it can surely only be a matter of time before it's available to the public (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Nils Politt, riding a prototype 12-speed SRAM Red eTap groupset, leads his Katusha-Alpecin teammates at the 2018 Saitama Criterium

Nils Politt, riding a prototype 12-speed SRAM Red eTap groupset, leads his Katusha-Alpecin teammates at the 2018 Saitama Criterium (Image credit: Getty Images)
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A closer look at the drivetrain of the 12-speed SRAM groupset spotted at the 2018 Saitama Criterium

A closer look at the drivetrain of the 12-speed SRAM groupset spotted at the 2018 Saitama Criterium (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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An overview of Nils Politt's bike, which appeared to have slightly different-shaped brake levers for the 12-speed groupset

An overview of Nils Politt's bike, which appeared to have slightly different-shaped brake levers for the 12-speed groupset (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Nils Politt's stopping power came thanks to SRAM's HRD disc brakes

Nils Politt's stopping power came thanks to SRAM's HRD disc brakes (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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A look at the back side of the new SRAM 12-speed cassette and eTap derailleur

A look at the back side of the new SRAM 12-speed cassette and eTap derailleur (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The back of the new SRAM Red eTap 12-speed cassette

The back of the new SRAM Red eTap 12-speed cassette (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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A closer look at the 12 cogs of SRAM's new Red eTap groupset, as used by Katusha's Nils Politt at the 2018 Saitama Criterium

A closer look at the 12 cogs of SRAM's new Red eTap groupset, as used by Katusha's Nils Politt at the 2018 Saitama Criterium (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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A look at the front derailleur and what appeared to be a new Quarq power meter crankset

A look at the front derailleur and what appeared to be a new Quarq power meter crankset (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The new SRAM Red eTap 12-speed derailleur working hard on the 28-tooth sprocket

The new SRAM Red eTap 12-speed derailleur working hard on the 28-tooth sprocket (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

A 12-speed wireless SRAM Red eTap groupset was spotted at the Saitama Tour de France Criterium in Japan at the weekend, sparking suggestions that the new top-of-the-range technology will soon be available.

The 12-speed groupset included an integrated 50-36t chainset and a 10-28 cassette. A gear of 50x10 has a similar development to that of 53x11 – the top gear ratio commonly used by professional riders.

After the Cyclowired story, black tape covered some SRAM logos on the groupset, but others were still visible on the derailleur, cassette, chain and chainset. It looked to be a polished, finished version, with only a few bar codes and labels indicating it was undergoing testing.