The 2016 WorldTour season is now upon us and it’s the first time we’ve seen all of the new ProTeam bikes lining up against one another. Here’s what’s new and interesting in 2016.
There aren’t any huge shake-ups this season with teams changing bike sponsors. Specialized still has the most teams riding its bikes: three with Astana, Etixx-QuickStep, and Tinkoff. With two Grand tour teams and one Classics team we’ll surely see Specialized on the podium again this season. Two teams — Movistar and Katusha — ride Canyon while Scott also supplies two teams (IAM and Orica-GreenEdge).
Cervelo is now back in the WorldTour with Dimension Data (not that it hurt them last season). There’s no change for Merida, Trek and Cannondale who all have joint title sponsorship of teams, and for BMC who has a title sponsorship. Rounding out the WorldTour teams, like last year, are Giant, Bianchi, Lapierre, Ridley and Pinarello, all with one team.
Back in 2011 SRAM sponsored eight teams; last year they sponsored one (Ag2r La Mondiale). In 2016 they’re back up to two teams with Katusha switching to SRAM eTAP from Campagnolo.
Shimano still supplies the most teams with seven sponsorships in 2016 while Campagnolo supplies three.
We’ve seen prototypes of Rotor’s hydraulic groupset and FSA’s electronic groupset, but there’s no sign on any of the team bikes at the Tour Down Under. When these groupsets do show up at the races, we’ll likely see FSA on Etixx-Quickstep (as we did last year) and Rotor on Lampre-Merida or Dimension Data.
There’s very little or no mechanical shifting to speak of in WorldTour peloton now. A few of the top climbers such as Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali were seen using the mechanical versions of their sponsored groupsets — Dura Ace for Contador and Super Record for Nibali — but we will have to wait to see if they’ll stick to that for this season.
Katusha has switched from Mavic to Zipp wheels this season and Tinkoff has switched from Roval (Specialized) to HED, but only for the time trials. HED seems to be the go-to wheel brand for teams that are able to pick and choose their own components.
Other than that there are no differences in 2016. Shimano still tops the charts with six teams using its range of carbon wheels, everything from the C35s through to C50s and the C80s for fast, flat days. Shimano’s sub-brand Pro also supplies these teams with its range of Disk and tri-spoke wheels.