It's that time of year again when the pro teams reveal what kit they'll be running for the new season. Here's a round-up of all the latest road sponsorship news.
Zipp stack the field for 2010
Top road teams Astana, Team Saxo Bank and Cervélo TestTeam will exclusively use Zipp wheels for both training and racing during 2010.
They'll use the full gamut of available wheels as they campaign a wide variety of events – from grand tours and spring classics to smaller one-day and stage races – and with at least nine stock models to choose from plus whatever special builds the teams may request, the numbers are staggering.
Consider this: each team boasts over two dozen riders (not counting women's and development teams), each rider has multiple road bikes for training and racing, and each rider has at least one time trial bike as well. When factoring in the typically generous number of spares, Zipp's commitment to the three teams accounts for at least several hundred – if not nearly a thousand – complete wheels.
"I can’t say how many wheels – it’s a lot," said Zipp marketing manager Andy Paskins. "I can say that the total has increased over the years as the teams are running multiple programs at the same time – women’s and men’s, classics and tours, big tours and lesser tours. Also, since we have so many different wheels to choose from, we're supporting the teams with a full arsenal so that they have the best equipment for various types of racing and terrain."
Zipp will call on the riders for feedback on both existing products and other items in development. Paskins declined to elaborate on what those new items may be, however, saying only that there was "nothing specific that we can discuss now in terms of development".
Bont back Cervelo TestTeam
Australian cycling shoe manufacturers Bont will increase their presence on the world racing stage as the official footwear suppliers to the Cervélo TestTeam in 2010. Bont shoes were already a regular visitor to the pro ranks last year under riders such as Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Michael Rogers (Team HTC-Columbia) but this new agreement marks their first full-scale sponsorship of a top-tier squad.
Bont will supply the Cervelo TestTeam riders with a collection of shoes, including their top-end a-one road model as well as their more category-specific Chrono aero shoe and new ultralight Zero climbing shoe, as well as new prototype models as they are developed.
All models feature bathtub-type full-carbon soles for ultra-low stack heights and excellent stiffness, and are offered in narrow, standard and wide lasts. Uppers and lowers across the board are fully heat mouldable for a custom fit.
In addition to the shoes' light weight and high stiffness, Cervelo co-founder Gerard Vroomen likes the available dedicated four-bolt drillings, which will eliminate the need for adapter plates on the team's Speedplay pedals.
"[The Bont sole] provides the perfect interface with the Speedplay pedals used by Cervelo TestTeam, as the four-bolt system and thin sole puts the cleat and therefore the pedal spindle closer to the rider’s foot,” said Vroomen in a press release.
Ritchey to back four US domestic teams for 2010
Ritchey Design, Inc have announced a new sponsorship agreement with the Webcor Builder women's professional road team, adding a fourth US domestic squad to go along with their renewals of the Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light women's team, the Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita men's team and the United Healthcare p/b Maxxis men's team (formerly OUCH).
Ritchey will supply stems and seatposts across the board including the WCS 4-Axis and WCS Alloy 1-Bolt, as well as road handlebars such as the alloy Logic II and Classic, with the exception of Webcor Builders. Webcor will be the first pro team to be officially supplied with Ritchey wheels, however, and they will also use the company's Hammerhead time trial bars along with United Healthcare.
Team Katusha switch to Selle San Marco saddles
Filippo Pozzato, Robbie McEwen, Sergey Ivanov and the rest of the Katusha squad will switch from previous saddle sponsors Prologo to Selle San Marco for 2010. The team will use the Zoncolon, Aspide and Regale – the company's recently debuted revamp of the classic Regal model.
All team saddles will feature a white, red, and blue cover to match the rest of the Katusha livery. Naturally, the Zoncolan model of current Italian national champion Pozzato will be further personalised with gold accents.
Limar return to pro peloton
Both teams will primarily use Limar's latest Pro 104 Ultralight model, which weighs as little as 170g depending on size thanks in part to its very low-profile shape and high cut. The Footon-Servetto-Fuji riders will also use Limar's Speed Demon aero helmet for time trials, which has an unusually generous 15 vents to help prevent overheating.
Tifosi Optics and Kelly Benefit Strategies Pro Cycling team up for 2010 season
Tifosi Optics have announced that they will provide sunglasses and eye protection to the Kelly Benefit Strategies Pro Cycling team for 2010. The Watkinsville, Georgia-based company will outfit the team with a wide range of models depending on the application and personal preferences, including the Logic, Dolomite, Torrent, Ventoux, Tyrant, Vogel and Pave – all of which are available in multiple frame colour options plus a wide range of fixed-tint and photochromic lenses.
Most of the riders, however, will use a special custom team edition of Tifosi's top-end Logic complete with matching green and white colours. Key features include a shield-type single lens for ample coverage, temple vents to prevent fogging, and adjustable hydrophilic nose- and earpieces for secure and customisable fit. In spite of the high-end features, suggested retail price on the Logic is a surprisingly reasonable US$59.95 (UK price TBC), including three interchangeable lenses.