The owner of Osymetric, the French company making ovalised chainrings, claims Bradley Wiggins has lost power – and a mental edge – by switching back to standard rings.
Jean-Louis Talo said that Wiggins (Team Sky), who recently ruled himself out of a defence of his Tour de France crown with a knee injury and illness picked up at the Giro d’Italia and who has swapped back to circular Shimano Dura-Ace chainrings, could have lost up to 30 watts since the switch.
Wiggins made the move in the off-season despite using the rings in his 2012 Tour de France winning campaign and the Olympic time trial.
Speaking at the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné time trial yesterday, Talo told BikeRadar: “It not only has an effect on the legs, it has an effect on the mind. Yes, yes he has an injury, but he also has an injury in the head because he’s not confident on the climbs, he is not confident in the time trial because he has lost 30 watts."
Asked whether he was certain of the figure, Talo told BikeRadar: “You put them on you win 10 percent, you take them off you lose 10 per cent. It’s a very simple thing.”
Asked why Wiggins made the switch back – which occurred on a training camp in December 2012 – Talo suggested that financial pressure to have Wiggins using standard team sponsor material could be to blame.
Talo confirmed three riders at the Critérium du Dauphiné were using Osymetric: Chris Froome (Team Sky), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar).
Asked if he was trying to recruit more riders to use the equipment, which he claims eliminates the dead spot in the pedal stroke, he said: “For me it’s incredible that I have to spend so much time explaining so simple a thing [the concept].
"I want to open minds, but I don’t want to spend my time trying to convince people to understand,” he said.
This morning, Carsten Jeppesen, head of operations at Team Sky, denied the claim any pressure was bought to bear on Wiggins’ decision to switch back to Shimano Dura-Ace rings.
Jeppesen said: "Bradley has moved away from them because he didn’t feel they were giving him what he was after, it was nothing to do with pressure. A true winner, if he wants something, will get away with it.”
He added: “[There isn’t] any evidence that this gives you this [advantage], so it’s up to the rider’s feel.”