The 2009 season is looking far brighter, though, as they have now realigned themselves with not only one of the most successful teams in the sport but also one with a squeaky-clean image: Team Columbia.
In total, Columbia riders scored over 80 wins in 2008, stood on the podium a staggering 153 times in total, took home five stage wins in the Tour de France – four by British superstar sprinter Mark Cavendish alone – and even enjoyed an extended stint in yellow courtesy of Kim Kirchen.
Not bad for a team that many wrote off barely a year ago before being resurrected by new owner Bob Stapleton.
A carbon-wrapped stem replaces last year's all-aluminum version
This year’s team road bike of choice – the Scott Addict – may be new to Cavendish but it’s been a familiar sight in the pro ranks since debuting in late 2006. Thanks to a 100 percent carbon construction – even the housing stops, front derailleur mounting tab and dropouts are made of the stuff – the Addict is one of the lightest frames in the industry. In fact, a medium-sized frame we tested last season tipped the scales at just 880g with an uncut integrated mast. Cavendish’s version is likely even lighter being one size smaller.
Cavendish’s new Addict frameset is thus estimated to be about 100g more svelte than his outgoing Giant TCR Advanced SL and well over 300g lighter than the specially reinforced previous-generation TCR Advanced that Giant had built for him before that. Adding another 40g to the weight savings is the team edition’s press-fit integrated bottom bracket, which foregoes a conventional threaded metallic insert in favour of a bare carbon sleeve.
Though ultralight, Scott still claims nonetheless that the stock Addict is stout enough to withstand the efforts of the powerhouse sprinter.
Oversized dimensions are used throughout along with incredibly thin tube walls
Tube sections are dramatically oversized throughout and Scott also says the press-fit bottom bracket design yields an 8 percent improvement in drivetrain stiffness as compared to a standard Addict’s 68mm threaded shell since the bearings are now wholly captured within the frame.
“Team Columbia is using our standard Addict LTD frame and fork,” said Scott team equipment manager Hermann Pacal. “We have no plans to make another frame for the team.”
Most of the team’s key equipment suppliers have continued on for 2009, including Shimano, PRO and SRM, so Cavendish will at least have a familiar handlebar bend, pedal system and wheels beneath him. However, while some of his teammates upgraded to the latest generation Dura-Ace 7900 in mid-season, the ‘Manx Missile’ stuck with the 7800 version all the way through September’s Tour of Missouri and clearly will have some mental adjusting to do if for no other reason than the significantly revised lever shape.
SRAM hasn't yet integrated the new Dura-Ace 7900 crankarms into its design so Cavendish continues on with last year's version
The Dura-Ace 7900 crank’s dramatically redesigned hollow arm and relieved spider design has also apparently proved difficult to adapt to the power measuring spider of team sponsor SRM, though, so Cavendish’s power meter retains the familiar polished 7800 arms of last year’s edition.
As long as Cavendish can get accustomed to his new machine in time, we’re expecting it to be business as usual for the young speedster as the 2009 season gets underway. First stop is the Tour of Qatar later this month followed by the newly lengthened Tour of California in mid-February.
- Frame: Scott Addict LTD, size Small
- Fork: Scott Addict
- Headset: Ritchey WCS Integrated
- Stem: PRO Vibe Carbon OS, 120mm x -10˚
- Handlebars: PRO Vibe 7S Anatomic OS, 42cm
- Tape/grips: PRO cork
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900-F
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900-SS
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
- Crankset: SRM Wireless Training System with Dura-Ace compatible crankarms, 170mm, 39/53T
- Bottom bracket: Shimano integrated
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace PD-7810
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7850-SL
- Front tyre: Continental Force, 700x22c
- Rear tyre: Continental Attack, 700x24c
- Saddle: fi'zi:k Arione CX
- Seat post: Ritchey One-Bolt Stubby integrated
- Bottle cages: Elite Custom Macia
- Computer: SRM PowerControl VI
- Rider's height: 1.75m (5' 9")
- Rider's weight: 68kg (150lb)
- Seat tube length, c-c: 460mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 475mm
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 701mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 535mm
- C of front wheel to top of bars (next to stem): 556mm
- Top tube length: 535mm (horizontal)
- Total bicycle weight: 6.8kg (15.0lb) (claimed)