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by Dave Rome
January 28, 2020
Photography by Dave Rome
While the Santos Tour Down Under serves as the perfect event to see all the new bikes of the men’s WorldTour season, it’s a slightly different story for the women. For 2020 the Women’s Tour Down Under is a 2.Pro race, a tier down from WorldTour events. As a result, not all Women’s WorldTour teams were in attendance, with both Movistar and CCC-Liv missing the action.
Mitchelton-Scott and Canyon-SRAM brought their old bikes to race in Australia, with new disc-equipped rides awaiting both squads in Europe.
Here we look at a mixture of 2020 bikes from a small handful of UCI Women’s WorldTeams and UCI Women’s Continental teams.
The team of race winner Ruth Winder was easily the most prepared of all those attending the Tour Down Under. Trek-Segafredo brought with it two bikes for each rider, plus a full complement of spares. Those bikes were a mix of the Trek Emonda (lightweight) and Trek Madone (aero), both with disc brakes.
The Trek-Segafredo team will race the first few months of 2020 on what are technically carry-over bikes from last year. Perhaps the only change is that of new disc brake calipers with SRAM doing a rolling change from a Monoblock caliper to a two-piece design that should offer more power, better durability and less chance for pad rub.
We published a full feature of Ruth Winder’s race bikes just a few days ago, so be sure to check that out if you’re seeking more details about the bikes.
Bikes pictured: Race winner, Ruth Winder’s Trek Madone SLR Disc and Trek Emonda SLR Disc.
The Lapierre Xelius SL Disc belonging to Australian Lauren Kitchen.
The recently overhauled and expanded FDJ women’s squad are on some rather stylish bikes for the new year. These disc-equipped Lapierre Xelius SLs are treated to Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 groupsets, Dura-Ace wheels and PRO touchpoints.
A close look reveals a few small-cost savers, for example, the Shimano Ultegra brake rotors which add a few grams to Dura-Ace versions. Similarly, while many of the FDJ men ride PRO’s aero carbon handlebars, the women’s bikes are fitted with more traditional models.
Still, the team paint is lovely, and the custom-painted version (the white bike in the gallery) for the French National Champion Jade Wiel is nicely done.
Bikes pictured: The Lapierre Xelius SL Disc bikes of Australian Lauren Kitchen and French National Champion Jade Wiel. New signing (and former CT staffer) Brodie Chapman is riding much the same bike as Lauren Kitchen.
The Ale BTC Ljubljana team continues with MCipollini bikes for 2020. As one of eight women’s WorldTeams, the squad rides on some of the more luxurious (read: expensive) bikes seen at the sport’s top end.
The team use the Italian company’s NK1K aero model, a frameset that shrouds both the front and rear wheels through its curvy monocoque construction. While so many teams have made the move to discs (or will soon), the NK1K employs direct-mount rim brakes.
The frames alone aren’t super light at over 1,100 g claimed, and so the team make up for it with Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12-speed groupsets and shallow Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 tubular wheels. Deda provides the cockpit components, while Prologo supplies the saddles and bartape.
Bike pictured: Slovenian rider Urska Pintar.
Like Trek-Segafredo, the bikes of the Sunweb team are an almost replica of the men’s squads. In this case, much of the Women’s WorldTeam are in Australia on the undeniably fast-looking Cervelo S5, however, the team also has access to the lightweight R5.
These bikes are largely the same as last year, with the only change seen with an updated fork that’s said to add some additional stiffness to the front end.
The bikes are built with full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 groupsets, powermeters, pedals and wheels. Sigma ROX computers sit from the front of the handlebars, with Continental Pro LTD tubulars wrapping the wheels. One interesting comparison is that the women’s team will typically ride shallower wheels compared to the men, simply a result of riders being lighter and more likely impacted by crosswinds.
Bike pictured: Canadian rider Leah Kirchmann.
Hailing from the USA, TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank has moved from Fuji to Cannondale for 2020. The UCI Continental team is now all disc brake and onboard the light but aero SuperSix Evo.
The bike pictured is that of young Australian talent, Sarah Gigante. The 2019 Australian National Road Champion and 2020 National time trial champion is a new signing to the team. This is actually Gigante’s new training bike, where the race bike will be in a yellow and black colour scheme.
Additionally, the team are given training bikes with Shimano Ultegra mechanical shifting, whereas the race bikes feature Dura-Ace mechanical. Mechanical shifting is a rare sight in pro racing, but it’s perfectly up to the task and is certainly lighter than the Ultegra Di2 that some teams run.
Like the bikes of EF Pro Cycling, Tibco’s Cannondales are fitted with FSA and Vision cockpits which means the intended hidden cables at the front of the bikes are exposed; Cannondale’s consumer version typically hides those cables with its own handlebar setup.
Bike pictured: Sarah Gigante’s Cannondale Supersix Evo training bike.
Another US-based Women’s Continental outfit, Rally Cycling Women has kicked off its season with a stage win on an all-new and unannounced Felt aero bike. Believed to be the new AR, this new disc-equipped bike will be available to the team in addition to the lighter Felt FR race bikes. Expect the AR bikes to be used on flatter and faster stages, while the FR will be the pick in the mountains.
The team’s bikes are equipped with SRAM Force eTap AXS groupsets and Vision Metron tubular hoops. Easton provides the cockpit components, although the new AR appears to be using Felt’s own stem. Both Rally and Tibco use Arundel bidon cages, a brand that’s simply not seen within the top ranks of the sport.
Each rider’s bike features a sticker on the toptube that shows a B-17 bomber and the letters “KC”, in memory of former teammate Kelly Catlin who passed last year.
Bikes pictured: The assumed new Felt AR Disc of Australian sprinter Chloe Hosking.
This is the second time the Mexico-based Women’s Continental team has raced the Tour Down Under. It’s a team made up of riders from Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile.
For 2020 the team has earned BMC as a title team sponsor and has resultingly swapped the Italian Zeround bikes of the past season for rim-brake BMC Teammachine SLR01s.
These bikes spare few expenses and feature full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains. The DT Swiss wheels are the carbon-hub Mon Chasseral version of the PRC 1100 DICUT 35, and are shod with Vittoria Corsa Control tubeless tyres.
Bike pictured: Mexican rider Marcela Elizabeth Prieto Castaneda.
While the women’s squads of Trek-Segafredo and Movistar get to ride the same bikes as the men’s teams, it’s not the case for the UCI Continental-level Astana Women’s teams.
This team was in Adelaide riding the Wilier Cento 1 Air, a rim-brake aero frame that’s arguably both superseded and tier-down from the company’s new 0 SLR that the men’s squad is on. These bikes feature stock paint, basic Wilier touchpoints and Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting. That said, the Corima rolling stock is a pro-level upgrade over what the stock bikes would be supplied with.
Certainly sponsoring a WorldTour team and a women’s Continental team is an expensive exercise for a company the size of Wilier, but I’m hopeful that next year we’ll see the Kazakstan-based team on some bikes more similar to the men’s counterparts.
Bike pictured: Mexico’s Lizbeth Yarely Salazar Vazquez.