It’s amazing how short the past racing season seems once the Tour Down Under rolls around again. Here in Adelaide, all (now) 19 WorldTour teams of 2020 are present and jittery to race on minty fresh bikes.
There’s been plenty of turbulence in who’s riding what, and with the addition of two new teams – Isreal Start-Up Nation and Cofidis – there are lots of bikes to cover. De Rosa is back in the WorldTour via Cofidis, Factor returns through Israel Start-Up Nation, and Wilier appears via Astana.
From a tech point of view, the biggest news is the continuing trend towards disc brakes. In 2019 there were five teams who had committed to discs, and that number has almost doubled for 2020.
In the past we’ve rounded up all WorldTour bikes in a single article, however, this year we’re taking a different tack and splitting it into four (and we’ll have additional coverage of bikes from the Women’s WorldTour). Quite simply, the previous format was getting unwieldy, and it’s possible to show more photos of each bike this way. And plus, it’s better for my sanity.
On with the bikes.
EF Pro Cycling
EF has seen a few minor, but important changes for the new season. The biggest news is the team has committed to racing discs in 2020 – with both the SuperSix Evo and SystemSix bikes featuring Shimano Dura-Ace hydraulic disc brakes.
Most of the bikes to be raced at the Tour Down Under are the new SuperSix Evo, the lighter choice compared to the SystemSix. This bike was given a complete overhaul last year and offers a number of the aero cues first offered by the SystemSix.
These frames receive a graphic overhaul with a number of aesthetic touches to link the components in with the new pink and purple pattern. For example, the team is using Power2Max powermeters with matched graphics, attached to the impressively light Cannondale Hollowgram SISL cranks.
Wahoo’s recent acquisition of Speedplay pedals sees the American pedal company return to the WorldTour as an official supplier. The majority of EF team bikes at the Tour Down Under are fitted with the single-sided Zero Aero pedal, with a golf-ball-like dimpled surface on the underside of the pedal.
FSA and its aero division, Vision, are absolutely everywhere in this year’s WorldTour. EF has a long-standing partnership with the company, and Vision/FSA handlebar setups remain in use despite Cannondale having designed its bikes with a proprietary handlebar setup.
The team continues with Prologo as the saddle and bartape supplier, however, many riders are seemingly moving to the newer stub-nose models (as are riders of other teams). The photographed bike of Norweigen cyclist Kristoffer Halvorsen has the new Scratch M5 saddle fitted.
Our global tech editor James Huang spotted direct-mount derailleur hangers trending at last year’s Tour de France, and it’s still tough to overlook EF’s anodised pink hangers that initially piqued James’ interest.
Bike pictured: Kristoffer Halvorsen’s Cannondale SuperSix Evo
Team Ineos is the true rebel at the disc brake party. The British team currently doesn’t have a single disc brake bike in race use and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon, either.
The wealthiest team in the WorldTour is kicking off the season on what are effectively last year’s bikes, which was to be expected given the team went through a title sponsorship overhaul in the middle of last season.
It’s likely the team will predominately race 2020 on the Pinarello F12 XLight – a lighter version of the do-it-all F12. The Xlight’s modified carbon layup is said to drop some 60g from the regular (and still eye-wateringly-expensive) F12. Further grams are saved by using a simple plain black clear coat over the carbon frame, whereas the team’s more commonly photographed F12 team bikes feature a glossy black-and-red-fade paint scheme.
Shimano continues to supply the team with Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 groupsets, matched with a variety of Shimano tubular wheels. Pinarello’s component brand, MOST, supplies the team with cockpit components, while Fizik continues its long-standing partnership by supplying saddles and bartape. The team bikes I saw were fitted with Shimano Dura-Ace powermeters.
Ineos is another team to be making use of Shimano’s optional direct-mount derailleur setup. And why wouldn’t they? It’s lighter, offers snappier shifting, and has fewer pieces to go wrong.
Bike pictured: Van Baarle’s Pinarello F12 XLight
No, Sunweb isn’t riding last year’s bike. Though it’s hard to tell.
Ok, so the bottle cages are a different colour, and ditto for the mobile-phone-sized Sigma ROX computers. However, that’s really all that’s new for Team Sunweb in 2020.
The team will continue to race rim brake-equipped Cervelo R5s and disc-equipped S5s, the former being the lightweight all-rounder and the latter being the aero superbike. Pictured is the S5, a bike which more than a year after its release continues to have the most interesting of integrated handlebar setups.
The pictured S5 uses the Focus R.A.T thru-axle system, one of the original systems designed with racing and quick wheel changes in mind. This system uses a keyed axle which locks into the dropout with a 90-degree twist before the lever of the axle is closed like a traditional quick release. To undo, flip the lever, turn the axle 90-degrees, and then pull it out.
As an official partner of Shimano, Team Sunweb’s Cervelos are all fitted with Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets, Dura-Ace powermeters, and Shimano tubular wheels. Cervelo provides its own cockpits to the S5 bikes, while PRO takes care of the R5 builds in addition to supplying saddles. Interestingly the team bucks the trend of direct mount derailleur hangers.
Continental is a common sight in the WorldTour, with the 25 mm (sometimes 23 mm) Competition Pro Ltd tubulars being the go-to pick of Sunweb and many more.
Bike pictured: Alberto Dainese’s Cervelo S5
With rumours of Movistar moving to SRAM components for 2020 proving true, the Spanish outfit has seen its biggest equipment change in years.
Gone are the rim brakes and Campagnolo EPS groupsets, replaced by SRAM Red eTap AXS disc brake groupsets, Zipp wheels and Quarq powermeters. The choice in wheels will no doubt vary based on the race, but many of the bikes at the Tour Down Under are setup with the Zipp 454 NSW Disc Tubular wheels. The team bikes I saw are setup with 50/37T chainrings and 10-28T cassettes.
What hasn’t changed is the frames. Canyon still supplies the team with its Ultimate CF SLX and Aeroad CF SLX bikes, now just in disc versions. Interestingly these frames don’t appear to be specifically made for the team as they show ports for electronic wires, despite SRAM’s electronic shifting not requiring them.
Fizik continues its sponsorship by supplying the team with saddles, bartape and footwear. Somewhat unexpectedly, many on the team are riding Fizik’s new Adaptive 3D printed saddle, a product that has a fair amount in common with Specialized’s Mirror 3D saddle. Saddles aren’t a product that many athletes mess around with, and so it’s a positive sign for Fizik given the number of these saddles in use.
Bike pictured: Juri Hollmann’s Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
Much like the bikes of Team Sunweb, you’ll be hard-pressed to spot the differences in the new machines of the WolfPack.
Much noise was made over the team racing and testing tubeless tyres thoughout the 2019 season, and that is set to continue for the beginning of 2020, too. Most of the team bikes at the Tour Down Under are currently set up with Specialized’s RapidAir tubeless tyres and matching rims, however, they do have tubular available to use, too.
I’m told the rough plan is to move the team entirely to tubeless by the Classics, but that’s likely to depend on how well the new technology performs during the early season racing. Specialized is apparently continually improving its rims and tyres – and at this point it’s fairly safe to say the team will be committed to tubeless by the 2021 season, if not sooner. Such a progressive move isn’t too surprising given this is the team that was first in the WorldTour to move to discs.
Bryton computers made the surprising appearance on team bikes in 2019, but 2020 sees Wahoo capturing the data from the team’s Shimano Dura-Ace powermeters.
Otherwise, it’s business as usual with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets, Roval wheels and Specialized touchpoints. Specialized provides its integrated cockpit components for the Venge, while PRO components are typically found on the lighter Tarmacs. The infamous direct mount rear derailleur makes another appearance on this team’s bikes.
Bike pictured: Sam Bennett’s Specialized Venge
Stay tuned, part two is on the way.