By Luke Friend published
EF Pro Cycling's Neilson Powless has already made quite the impression in his debut Tour de France.
The 24-year-old American made it into the breakaway on stage six, eventually finishing fourth. Two days later, as the race hit the Pyrenees, he was involved in the day's break again, this time recording fifth. The exposure Powless is receiving has put his team and their Cannondale machines firmly in the spotlight.
The bicycle in question is the revamped EF Pro Cycling Cannondale SuperSix EVO, ridden impressively by both Powless and veteran of nine and counting Tours de France, Tejay Van Garderen.
Unlike the previous edition's muted colours, this year's model is hard to miss. The blue and pink color scheme matches the team's distinctive Rapha kit; the shocking pink striped accents run along the top, seat and head tube, accentuating the frame's tubing. If you believe the devil is in the details, the custom pink rear derailleur hangar is a nice addition, too.
The frame itself received some major updates in 2019. It's now stiffer, more aerodynamic and lighter - 866g listed weight for a 55cm frame.
It also looks cleaner, aided immeasurably by the Vision Metron 5D handlebar and the lack of cables, which handily also improve its aero properties. This integrated cockpit again keeps cables hidden and the team favour it for its impressive rigidity. In previous races Van Garderen has been known to use a more traditional FSA K-force bar and stem.
Watching Powless and Van Garderen you'll also notice they're riding disc versions of both the SuperSix EVO and the SystemSix; EF use Cannondale's super-aero model on the flatter stages.
Interestingly the latest incarnation of the SuperSix EVO with its Hi-Mod carbon layup isn't available as a rim-brake option. When team leader Rigoberto Uran opted for rim brakes during the 2019 season he had to use the standard carbon frame instead. But with the disc brake version able to get close to the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit, it's becoming a moot point.
Both Powless and Van Garderen are strong climbers. To help them up the steep stuff in this year's Tour, they're using Cannondale's featherweight SiSL2 crankset paired with FSA chainrings. Together it makes for an incredibly light sub-500g chainset. The groupset is rounded out using Shimano's tried-and-tested Dura Ace Di2.
Other notably svelte components include Vision's Metron wheels. The team use the SL Disc TL hoops, which feature an aero-focused rim available in 30mm, 40mm, 51mm and 81mm depth. Vision claim that these updated wheels with their wider rim profile are better suited to today's modern race tire sizes. In the case of Powless and Van Garderen those tyres are Vittoria Corsa G2.0.
Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for the past twenty years. Working across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He fell in love with cycling at an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a passionate follower of bike racing to this day as well an avid road and gravel rider.
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