Team leader Romain Bardet has been testing the bike in recent months and Cyclingnews understands the French Grand Tour contender is set to spend time in the wind tunnel on Thursday helping Factor owners Baden Cooke and Rob Gitelis further develop the Factor time trial bike.
The team will use the Factor O2 for both stage races and the cobbled Classics. The time trial bike is expected to be ready in time for Paris-Nice in March. Riders could also receive a new aero bike sometime in 2017. It is the first time Factor will supply a WorldTour team after working with the British One Pro Cycling Professional Continental team in 2016.
AG2R-La Mondiale used Focus bikes for the last four years and helped develop the SRAM eTap wireless electronic shifting system. However, the French team will switch to Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 in 2017, with Mavic wheels and the lightweight SRM carbon crankset made with German carbon specialists THM. Shimano technicians were also at the AG2R-La Mondiale camp to teach the mechanics how to service and repair the components.
The team issue Factor O2 is a sky blue colour, with touches of white on the forks and seat tube, with a white Factor logo on the down tube. Other components include a Fizik saddle, Black Inc bar, stem and seat post and CeramicSpeed bearings. Factor claims the O2 model weighs just 740g.
Factor Bikes Co-owners Baden Cooke and Rob Gitelis presented the bike, with Bardet happy to show of the bike's light weight by lifting it with a finger.
"I am very proud to present this bike to Team AG2R La Mondiale. Myself, Rob Gitelis and the entire Factor engineering Team have worked tirelessly to ensure the team has the best bike in the World Tour in 2017. I wish I had this bike when I was racing," Cooke said.
Time trial and aero bike under development
Factor CEO Scott Davies told Cyclingnews that the new time trial will retain Factor's so-called twin vane split downtube.
"We're super stoked about the bike, there's a lot of work going into it. Quite a few elements that have never been done before. We're keeping a split twin vein down tube, we've made it even wider, so turbulent air can pass through the bike to give an aero advantage," Davies said.
"We're hopeful they'll see it before the Tour, but there's quite a lot of development work with that bike. A lot of work that's been done with the TT bike will trickle down into that, including the bottom bracket and some of the tech being used there."
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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