The WorldTour’s yearly sponsor shuffle has wrapped up ahead of the 2016 season. With not just one, not two, but three new drivetrains hitting the market this year, several teams are jumping ship to the newest equipment while others remain loyal to long-time sponsors. SRAM’s eTap wireless drivetrain in particular is making waves with Katusha’s recent announcement that the team will trade in Shimano components for SRAM in 2016. However, besides the influx of new drivetrain options and innovation, the overall shakeup of sponsors remained relatively calm for now.
Shimano takes the largest slice of the component cake with two-thirds of teams starting the season with Dura-Ace drivetrains. Campagnolo holds steady with three teams, continuing its relationships with Astana, Lotto-Soudal, and Movistar.
But all eyes are on Ag2r La Mondiale and Katusha this season as they ride SRAM’s new eTap wireless drivetrain. While eTap prototypes have been ridden in WorldTour races before — hidden in the peloton for rider testing — this is the first official year that full teams will race day in and day out on the new wireless system.
Overshadowed by SRAM eTap, Rotor and FSA are also releasing new drivetrains, scheduled for later this year. Dimension Data will ride Rotor’s Uno hydraulic shifting groupset while Etixx-Quick-Step and Tinkoff will swap Shimano drivetrains for FSA’s new wireless electronic group, if it actually comes out this year.
You won’t see any changes this year — all WorldTour teams have kept their 2015 frame sponsors for another season. Specialized maintains its supremacy in the WorldTour peloton with three teams (Astana, Etixx-Quick-Step, and Tinkoff) aboard the Tarmac, Venge, and Shiv in 2016. Scott and Canyon claim two teams each with IAM Cycling and Orica-GreenEdge (Scott) and Movistar and Katusha (Canyon), while BMC, Merida, Cannondale, Trek, and Giant remain title sponsors for each of their teams.
Both SRAM teams will race on Zipp wheels while two of the three teams on Camagnolo drivetrains will be on the Italian company’s wheels. The third, Astana, will remain with longtime sponsor Corima for wheels.
Only half of the teams on Shimano drivetrains will roll out on Shimano wheels in 2016. The other six have either opted for different wheel manufacturers like Mavic and DT Swiss, or they will ride wheels manufactured by the team’s bike sponsor: Specialized teams will be on Roval wheels while Trek Segafredo will ride Bontrager wheels.
Pro, FSA, and Zipp handlebars and stems will rule the peloton in 2016. But aero road bikes, like Canyon’s Aeroad and Specialized’s Venge, require specially designed handlebar and stem combos, which are bike-specific and integrated with the frames.