Canyon looks set to introduce a new Inflite after Mathieu van der Poel was spotted riding an updated version of the cyclocross bike to victory at the X2O Trofee Herentals race in Belgium.
Van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock have been going toe-to-toe through the 2022/23 cyclocross season, having switched focus from the road for the winter campaign.
And, with Pidcock out injured having crashed at the weekend, van der Poel triumphed ahead of van Aert, who punctured on the last lap, in Herentals on an Inflite CF SLX with an integrated cockpit and fully internal cables.
The Inflite was reimagined as a fully fledged cyclocross race bike in 2017, with a redesign that saw the introduction of the frame’s instantly recognisable kinked top tube, claimed to improve the ease with which a rider can shoulder the bike.
While the previous Inflite used a one-piece cockpit, the cables and brake hoses were left exposed. On van der Poel’s new bike, everything runs internally.
The bike is likely to be using Canyon’s CP0018 integrated cockpit, with a one-piece handlebar and stem which hides the cables and hoses, and then routes them into the headset. We can’t see any blanking plates on the frame or fork.
Integrated cockpits and fully internal cables have become standard on the latest top-end road bikes – and, to the despair of home mechanics, more affordable models, too.
That trend has now extended to gravel race bikes, including the Wilier Rave SLR, while an increasing number of mountain bikes are now also running cables internally.
While a fully integrated setup undoubtedly creates a mechanical headache, for a top-tier racer such as van der Poel, with the support of a team of mechanics behind him, potential benefits include the protection of cables/wires from the rough and tumble of CX racing.
Cockpit aside, there appear to be few changes to van der Poel’s Inflite, but will need to see more of the bike to make a definitive call. We’ll keep our eyes peeled and wait to hear more from Canyon.
Van Aert switches from Shimano to SRAM
Meanwhile, the Herentals race saw van Aert switch from Shimano to SRAM, following Jumbo-Visma’s change of groupset supplier.
While the cyclocross season runs through the northern European winter, either side of the new year, January 1 marks the start of new contracts for WorldTour road teams.
Jumbo-Visma’s switch to SRAM is the biggest sponsor swap for the 2023 season, with the sport’s dominant team having both van Aert and Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard on its roster.
The Dutch-based squad has long been associated with Shimano, but will use SRAM’s electronic components through 2023, with van Aert’s Cervélo R5-CX switching from a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain to SRAM Red eTap AXS with a 1x drivetrain for the new year.
The pressures of a mid-cyclocross-season equipment change were, however, very evident, with Van Aert repeatedly adjusting the position of his shifters as he exited the pit area on a new bike.
His delicate method of smashing the side of the SRAM Red eTap AXS shifter suggests the mechanics didn’t have much time to swap out the Shimano Dura-Ace components prior to the new year sponsor changes.