Omega Pharma-Quick Step switches to SRAM for 2012
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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Omega Pharma-Quick Step switches to SRAM for 2012

by Ben Atkins at 3:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News
 
US company strikes a blow in the component war; will also supply Zipp wheels and Quarq powermeters to Belgian team

sramWhile Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s switch back to Specialized bikes was arguably the worst kept secret in cycling, its move to SRAM components in 2012 was perhaps a little less well known. Having ridden with Campagnolo components since its inception in 2003, the Belgian team is ‘making the leap’ to the US company.

“We are excited to have been given the opportunity to equip one of the legendary programs in cycling and work closely with Team Manager Patrick Lefevere,” said Alex Wassmann, SRAM’s Global Sponsorship Manager. “The team’s DNA is about winning, and with the combination of leadership, riders, and bike technology [Specialized – ed], you have a program that will be a constant threat to win the world’s most challenging races.”

SRAM’s first steps into the World of road racing dates back just five years, with its sponsorship of the Saunier Duval-Prodir team in 2007, supplying the team with its then new Force groupset. Since those early – and very recent – beginnings SRAM’s road has gone from strength to strength, winning its first Grand Tours the next season with Alberto Contador’s Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España victories.

A first ever Tour de France followed in 2009, with Contador topping an all-SRAM podium, ahead of Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong. Contador took the Tour again the next year and, even if the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) takes that result from the Spanish rider, SRAM will still have the victory through Schleck, who was in second place again.

Other major results include consecutive Paris-Roubaix victories, through Fabian Cancellara in 2010 and Johan Van Summeren in 2011, which is something that will especially interest the Belgian team; although, with its recent acquisition of World time trial champion Tony Martin and American Levi Leipheimer, Omega Pharma-Quick Step will also be impressed by SRAM’s Grand Tour pedigree.

“In their short history in road racing, SRAM road components have won the hardest races in the harshest conditions,” said Lefevere. “My team is ready for a fresh start, and the move to SRAM RED is one of the first steps, our bikes will be the fastest in the peloton.”

Omega Pharma-Quick Step becomes SRAM’s fifth team in the WorldTour; this is a drop from eight in 2011, although it remains a strong player in what was previously a two-horse groupset race. Japanese company Shimano still dominates, with ten of the eighteen teams riding its components in 2012, while Campagnolo now languishes in third with just three.

While the road team has yet to race their new bikes and components in anger, World cyclocross champion Zdenek Stybar has. The Czech raced – conspicuously on a pink Specialized bike – to fourth place in the GP Sven Nys in Baal, Belgium, on New Year’s Day.

With SRAM comes Zipp wheels and Quarq power

In addition to SRAM’s Red groupsets, the US company will also supply Omega Pharma-Quick Step with wheels by Zipp, and powermeters from recently acquired subsidiary Quarq. The company’s CinQo Saturn2 spider will be paired with Specialized’s S-Works carbon crank arms to complete the riders’ drivetrains.

Pre-season testing by Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders has apparently been highly positive.

“The acquisition and integration of Quarq reinforced what we already knew: the power meter is world class,” Jason Phillips, SRAM European Sponsorship Manager. “We’re excited to take a product ready for the diverse conditions and athletic demands of the ProTour back to where it belongs.”

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