We once counted on CSC-Saxo Bank veteran Bobby Julich being the sole rider in the peloton using non-round rings but even though he wasn’t included on the team’s Tour squad this year, the total number of riders so-equipped has still doubled from one to two.
Julich’s preferred O.symetric brand is now represented by Agritubel’s Geoffrey Lequatre while his CSC-Saxo Bank teammate, Carlos Sastre, has also jumped on the non-round bandwagon with Rotor’s Q-Rings from his native Spain. Sastre had them mounted on both his primary and spare bikes this year after successfully testing them himself and apparently receiving the ‘ok’ from his team to use them in competition. Rotor actually claims a number of Pro Tour riders use its rings in training but aren’t allowed to use them when it counts (we can personally vouch to include Garmin-Slipstream’s Magnus Backstedt in that category). Even so, Sastre’s Q-Rings are stealthily finished in anodized black instead of the usual champagne hue of production bits and all of the Rotor logos have been covered over.
Both Rotor and O.symetric claim their rings provide rather heady physiological advantages, namely increased power coupled with reduced exertion (otherwise known as free speed), although the Rotor design is notably less radically shaped than O.symetric’s ‘harmonic’ form.
Either way, both Sastre and Lequatre have likely gone up against a fair bit of sponsor resistance to run their preferred equipment so whether the performance gain is real or imagined, each of them feels it’s well worth the effort.