Kylian Mbappé and his compatriots might currently be recoiling at the sight of Buenos Aires's biggest ever parties, but here's something for French sports fans to cheer about.
French bike brand Look (opens in new tab)and French WorldTour team Cofidis (opens in new tab)have announced a multi-year sponsorship deal starting in 2023. And the wheels will be from Corima (opens in new tab)- also French.
It's not the first time Cofidis and Look have joined forces: the team rode Look bikes from 2009 to 2014 - check out the classic Mondrian-liveried 695 Aerolight pictured below - before switching to Orbea and most recently De Rosa in 2020.
In the interim, Look was the bike sponsor of French Pro Continental wildcard team Fortuneo from 2014 until 2018.
During that time it launched the original rim-brake version of the 785 Huez RS in 2017 (opens in new tab), which weighed a ridiculous 5.9kg with a SRAM Red build, and had to be ballasted by Fortuneo's mechanics to hit the 6.8kg UCI legal minimum weight.
In March 2022 both Look and Corima withdrew their partnership and technical support from the Gazprom-RusVelo team after the Ukraine invasion and have wisely decided to invest closer to home.
Now, with both brands equipping Cofidis, we are about to see a very French setup in action - and we predict these will be some of the most desirable bikes in the pro peloton.
At the moment the groupset supplier has not been confirmed: Cofidis used Campagnolo (opens in new tab)components with their De Rosa bikes and it’s anticipated that this deal will continue into 2023.
The bikes Cofidis will have at their disposal will be the lightweight 785 Huez RS (now with discs), the 795 Blade RS aero bike (the one in the main picture), and for TTs the awesome-looking 796 Monoblade RS (above).
Look most recently launched a new 765 Optimum (opens in new tab), updating its endurance platform, and we’re anticipating that a new race bike or two will be developed with the Cofidis team in the next couple of years. Who knows, one could well be in development already (we have asked Look but we're not expecting to given an exclusive).
The new partnership is to cover the Cofidis men’s WorldTeam as well as the women’s Continental Pro team and the UCI Paracycling team.
Look will also supply its Keo Blade Ti pedals, as used continuously by Cofidis since 2010.
As for the Corima wheels, these will be the carbon MCC DX (below), WS Black DX and WS TT DX - all of which were deployed throughout 2022 with the De Rosa bikes.
Look acquired a majority stake in fellow French brand Corima in 2016, but both brands retain their separate identities, and both have long histories in cycling.
Look’s clipless pedal revolutionised road cycling, first ridden to a pro victory by Bernard Hinault in 1984. Then in 1986 Greg LeMond was the first to win the Tour de France on a carbon-fibre frame - the Look KG86.
Luc Leblanc won the world road title for Look in 1994 on the KG171.
Later in the 1990s, the golden era for aerodynamic bikes, Look’s innovative TT machines became the envy of the cycling world. There was most memorably the 1997 KG296 CLM (above) with its sail-like fairings that was ridden by Alex Zulle in the ONCE period, complete with the iconic hinged head tube and the gamechanging Look Ergostem.
Look became associated with Chris Boardman as bike sponsor of Credit Agricole in the final years of the decade.
British bike fans also associate Boardman with Corima from the days before the British rider turned pro on the road: he broke the world Hour record in Bordeaux in 1993 on a swoopy Corima Cougar frame with the brand’s four-spoke wheels.
CW’s Stefan Abram visited Corima’s factory (opens in new tab) just outside Loriol in the Rhone valley, where its carbon wheels are still made by hand and where the bike Boardman rode is proudly displayed.
So with two of the best loved and most venerated brands in cycling back in the WorldTour - together - we can look forward to some truly beautiful bikes this season.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor following an MA in online journalism. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
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