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In the latest in his Bikes of Le Tour series, CyclingTips reporter Dave Everett takes a look at the animal-themed bike paintjobs being sported by the Cannondale riders at this year’s Tour de France.
It looks like Peter Sagan may very well be a comic book fan. Last year he want all Hulk on us, the year before that we had a Terminator theme, and this year the flamboyant Slovakian has become the comic book character Wolverine, or more precisely, his bike has.
Cannondale has yet again pulled out all the stops in the paint department and made Sagan’s bike a truly unique item. The paint scheme moves away from the two previous years’ theme of sticking with the green of the team colours and the points jersey, instead opting for red and silver livery for this year’s frame.
Sagan’s Cannondale Super Six Evo Hi-Mod frameset has had the burning eyes of Sagan himself airbrushed on to the top tube, along with what looks like three claw marks down either side. He’s either Wolverine or wanting to be Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf.
Up close the colours are highly polished and bright in colour — it almost reminded me of the garish paint jobs that you see on the side of small town carnival rides; I’m not sure this is such a good thing.
The FSA stem — which looked to be a blacked-out version of an FSA-SL model — and the frame also had the flag of his home nation Slovakia placed on almost as an afterthought. No lacquer covered these.
The bike had the same stock standard equipment that the rest of the team were using. I was surprised to see that Vision hadn’t even sent a set of their usual red and black colour-way Metron 81 wheels to compliment the bike. Instead he had the team Cannondale green wheels in, making the bike that little bit more garish.
Kenda SC tubulars (which look to be 23mm wide) are the team’s rubber of choice — as far as I could gather these are not available to the public yet. The groupset is the SRAM Red 22 in the custom Cannondale green that is seen on all team bikes. The only deviation in the groupset is the Cannondale SI alloy chainset with SRM power meter built in.
Speedplay pedals, Fizik saddle and FSA bars sort the contact points, the last of those decked out in Fizik’s comfortable-looking bar tape with its gel padding underneath.
But it’s not just Sagan that has got some attention from Cannondale — the bike of every rider on the team has a custom paint scheme. A quick glance will not reveal this but a closer inspection and a keen eye show that the guys at Cannondale HQ have put a nice amount of thought into each rider’s bike.
The whole concept was that every rider on the team is an animal. Each rider got to choose their own animal, and for some it came easier than others. I spoke with Ted King who said he put a bit of thought into his. Being from North America he went for the grizzly bear as he felt it seemed fitting. The team Cannonade mechanic said that the whole idea is that they want to channel the animal spirits — luckily no-one chose the sloth!
The black, green and white paint scheme of each rider’s bike differs — sitting along the toptube is the head of their chosen animal. The paint itself is matt which, as anyone with a matt bike will tell you, can make it a little hard to clean. Grime and grease cling to this surface and don’t wash off as easily as on a gloss frame. But it sure looks the part. All the animal bikes were sprayed in the UK; only Sagan’s had an Italian artist work on it.
As with Sagan’s bike the rest of the team don’t seem to have anything too exotic in terms of the build. The same SRAM Red group set in team green is used, with Cannondale’s own SI chain set with the SRM power meters built in. SRAM’s Red chainrings are bolted to the SI chain set. A standard 39/53 is used throughout the team. Finishing kit is from long-time sponsor FSA — a mix of integrated and standard bars and stems were seen on the bikes. All riders get to chose their preferred setup.
FSA’s sister brand, Vision are the wheel sponsors. The hand-laid carbon wheels come in several depths. The team were using a mix of the Metron 40 and Metron 55 wheels.
Only the race bikes are in the new custom animal colours; all the reserve bikes are the same paint scheme as what the team have been rolling around on for the rest of the season.
Heres a list of who chose which animal:
– Peter Sagan: The Wolverine
– Marco Marcato: The Wolf
– Ted King: The Grizzly Bear
– Maciej Bodnar: The Bison
– Alessandro De Marchi: The Chameleon
– Jean-Marc Marino: The Fox
– Elia Viviani: The Puma
– Fabio Sabatini: The Bull
– Kristijan Koren: The Lion