Mark Cavendish's long-anticipated move to Team Sky brings with it some new teammates, many of them fellow Britons whom he's raced alongside for years, and also some new equipment – and the sprinter is notoriously particular about his kit.
After a couple of years on Scott bikes – the 2009 Addict with Team Columbia and the 2010 Addict and Project F01 (later renamed the Foil) with HTC-Columbia – Cavendish spent the 2011 season with HTC-Highroad on Specialized's new Venge aero road bike.
Team Sky have their own take on the road bike with aerodynamic features – the Pinarello Dogma 2, which you can read all about in our pro bike feature from this year's Tour de France. The down tube on this striking-looking machine is shaped to improve airflow, the tapered head tube has a leading edge, the Onda fork has a 'tail' that integrates it with the down tube, and cables are routed internally, with flush entry and exit points.
The frame's most unique feature, however, is its asymmetry – the chassis and fork are beefed up on the right-hand side, because that's where the transmission (chainrings, chain, cassette and derailleurs) is. Pinarello say "chain pull" puts this side of the bike under greater stress so it needs to be stronger and stiffer.
Cavendish's Venge weighed in at 16.86lb (7.65kg) when we caught up with him in May and his new race bike is likely to be in the same ballpark – teammate Alex Dowsett's Dogma 2 is 17lb (7.71kg). While we've put in some miles on the Venge, we haven't had any saddle time on the Dogma 2 yet, so we can't compare the frames in terms of stiffness or ride feel.
Both teams use Shimano's top-end electronic Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, so that's one less thing for Cavendish to get used to. The 'Manx Missile' had been using his own signature PRO Vibe bits with HTC so it'll be interesting to see whether he's allowed to carry those over or will be obliged to use Deda cockpit kit like the rest of the squad.
Elsewhere, Sky use Veloflex tyres instead of Continental, Prologo saddles instead of Fizik. and Shimano rims rather than Zipp. For contractual reasons, Cavendish is unlikely to be able to test his new ride until the team training camp in January, so he'll only have a couple of weeks to get up to speed with the new kit in time for the Tour Down Under..
Cavendish told Sky News he was "super-excited" to be joining Team Sky. "I know it's a great, great setup there and it's probably the biggest team in cycling right now so to be riding with the sponsors, with the team, with the management is going to be pretty special for me," he said.
For a closer look at Team Sky's Pinarello Dogma 2, check out the video below from earlier this year: