Team Quick Step have further bolstered their Benelux roots with the announcement that they will be running wheels from Dutch firm FFWD Fast Forward on their (Belgian) Eddy Merckx bikes.
Though FFWD pride themselves on the quality and performance of their carbon wheels, it's worth noting that the company only do full-carbon or carbon-and-aluminium.
In contrast, the squad's previous wheel suppliers, Fulcrum and Specialized house brand Roval, both also offered multiple alloy models for training (including some tubulars). Nevertheless, FFWD's Rik van Putten feels the more limited selection won't present much of an issue.
"The team will be riding different models for different conditions like F5R [50mm deep] and F9R [90mm deep] for standard races and F2R [20mm deep] for climbing," he said. "For time trials our disc wheels will be used in combination with three-spoke wheels. At the moment the team are training in Spain with a F6R rear wheel and F4R front wheel for clinchers."
However, Van Putten doesn't rule out the possibility of developing new wheel models and integrating changes to the existing line as a result of technical feedback from the team. Of particular interest – at least to us – is what the team will use for the upcoming Spring Classics where the riders have historically resorted to traditional hand-built wheels with box-section aluminium tubular rims.
"In terms of product development we will use the feedback of the team to enhance our products," he said. "The team have great classics riders who know what a quality wheel is and with our reputation of building strong, durable wheels we look to improve and fine-tune this even more. In addition, new developments will be tested thoroughly by the riders."