Katusha has become the first team to officially confirm that it will be using SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset on the World Tour in 2016. This means a move away from the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset that the Russian team has been using in the past, with SRAM having a greater presence in the professional peloton than compared to last year, when it only sponsored a single World Tour team.
In photos posted on the team’s Facebook page, Katusha riders, including Joaquim Rodriguez and new signing Jurgen Van Den Broeck, are seen preparing for a ride on Canyon Aeroad bikes, all of which are kitted out with the new wireless system. However, the team are clearly yet to receive their shipment of 2016 Canyon frames, with the bikes still bearing the logos of Shimano and Mavic.
SRAM’s Brad Menna talks us through the Red eTap groupset
The use of the new wireless groupset appears to be part of a wider deal between Katusha team. Not only are the team using SRAM Red eTap, but also Zipp 404 Firecrest wheels and Quarq power meters, both of which are subsidiaries of the American company. This deal also sees the riders’ Garmin Edge computers covered with Quarq stickers.
Despite only being officially launched in August, we had been seeing sneak peaks of the groupset as far back as the Tour Down Under in January, with Ag2r-La Mondiale riding a prototype system to a number of stage victories in 2015, most notably Romain Bardet’s win on stage five of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
SRAM has set a release date of early 2016 for the new groupset, and we will be getting a test version of the system in for review as soon as it is available.