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Tech News Extra – March 30, 2009

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Saxo Bank makes the switch

Saxo Bank's Specialized rigs
Photo ©: Saxo Bank/Specialized/SRAM
(Click for larger image)

Those readers with a keen eye for detail may have noticed the difference in Team Saxo Bank's Specialized Tarmac SL2 bikes at last weekend's E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and Brabantse Pijl.

Bjarne Riis' squad rode SRAM Red-equipped rigs, the Danish team having signed on as the latest to join the SRAM stable. It's a slightly unorthodox move to be changing component suppliers during the season, but SRAM has stated it will be assisting in making the transition a smooth one by helping equip all of the team's bikes in order to avoid any complications as the season heats up and the demands on technical partners increase.

The deal, the details of which were not disclosed, increases the number of ProTour teams utilising the Illinois-based company's flagship gruppo to four, with the Milram, Fuji-Servetto and Astana outfits also running Red componentary.

In its previous incarnation as CSC-Saxo Bank, the team had used Shimano's Dura-Ace groupset on Cervélo frames. With the advent of the Cervélo TestTeam, Specialized took on sponsorship duties for another ProTour team, and by all reports Saxo Bank's riders were pleased with the change.

“SRAM Red is proven reliable, remains the lightest gruppo available, and delivers perfect ergonomics," said Riis about the change. "SRAM has demonstrated impressive product development, great quality and intense focus, just like our team. We are looking forward to racing with SRAM."

Kurt Asle Arvesen on SRAM
Photo ©: Tim Van Wichelen
(Click for larger image)

This latest development is additional change for the team, which also experienced alterations to its management staff during the off-season. In fact, the only equipment supplier that remains the same as 2008 for Saxo Bank is Zipp, which will continue to provide wheelsets for the likes of Cancellara, O'Grady and the Schlecks in '09.

In the US and Europe, continental teams such as Floyd Landis' OUCH presented by Maxxis squad and successful French outfit Agritubel are running SRAM Red this season, with others likely to follow in 2010.

"The mating of SRAM Red componentry to the Specialized S-Works frames, along with Zipp wheels, will make the team's bikes amongst the fastest, most comfortable, and most responsive in the peloton," said SRAM's global marketing director David Zimberoff in a statement released by the company.

SRAM's latest sponsorship coup comes as its Red gruppo continues to gain momentum in the consumer market, with most manufacturers offering it as part of top-level complete bike packages.

Discuss the news in our Saxo Bank forum thread.