German power specialist SRM said the loss of contracts to supply Team Sky and Movistar with its meters was part of a strategy to reduce its profile in the professional peloton and work on product expansion plans.
However Mike Hall, SRM’s USA product manager, told BikeRadar: “SRM chose to reduce our support to many of the pro teams for this year. It was a conscious decision because we felt we were spreading ourselves a little bit too thin – we decided on this at the Tour de France last year.”
Asked if the departure of Sky – which has dominated stage racing and, particularly, the Tour de France for the past two seasons – was a conscious decision, he replied: “It’s my understanding that the teams we decided to remove from our sponsorship allotment are the same teams that have picked up other power meters.”
Hall was also bullish about the SRM’s favour in the pro peloton. “If we have this conversation a year from now and look at what teams will continue to use brand new products that haven’t been ProTour tested, I think it will be an interesting conversation in January 2015.”
There have been rumours that SRM has lost favour with teams because of the high level of technical support needed to keep a squad of up to 30 riders’ bikes capturing and managing power data – especially when other rivals offer plug and play systems and user-changeable batteries.
However while SRM plan to offer a user-changeable battery option in the BB386 FSA K-Force Light later this year, Hall said the company would stick to the ethos of producing a highly accurate instrumentation.
Matt Pacocha, marketing and PR manager at Stages Cycling, told BikeRadar that while SRM still had the lion’s share of the pro peloton, he felt the environment was changing.
“There’s a switchover and if SRM’s guilty of anything it’s a very similar product to what they launched with 27 years ago,” Pacocha said. “I think every team is looking for a competitive advantage and the ability to have some say in a product’s development.”
He confirmed Team Sky will be using Stages on a one-year contract.
SRM will be supplying power meters to BMC, Trek Factory Racing, Orica-GreenEdge and Giant-Shimano in 2014.