Transfer season began a few months ago with pro riders announcing team changes for the 2017 season. But now comes the time for other commercial accords to filter into the news.
One of the major changes for equipment in the pro peloton in 2017 has just been made public: Factor will replace Focus as the bike supplier for the French WorldTour outfit, AG2R La Mondiale.
The deal was formalised in recent days.
Factor’s sponsorship represents a significant coup for the company co-owned by former professional rider, Baden Cooke.
“We are highly motivated to continue to develop our machines with the feedback from the riders to stay ahead of the game,” Cooke said in the formal press release from Factor.
“We hope that this partnership will help Romain Bardet become the first Frenchman to win the Tour de France since Bernard Hinault in 1985.”
It’s an ambitious sponsorship from a company that is relatively young but it reminds us of the value of exposure received from the race scene.
The deal was announced in an email on 14 October but it has been in negotiations since July this year.
“We feel that with Factor we will be surrounded by highly motivated people,” said Vincent Lavenu from the team. “We are certain that the bikes that have been proposed as well as the technology and the skill set that will be put to our service, will allow our leaders to shine at the highest global level operating on very high quality bicycles.”
The deal means that five different bike models will be made available to the riders: the O2, ONE (pictured), ONE-S, which have been in production in 2016.
By next year there will also be a new time trial bike and a road frame said to be called ‘Slick’.
AG2R La Mondiale was the first team in the WorldTour to use SRAM’s wireless electronic shifting system, eTap. That was in 2015, while this year it was both AG2R and Katusha that used SRAM in the WorldTour.
We can confirm that AG2R La Mondiale will make the switch to Shimano in 2017.
The wheel supplier next year will be Mavic.
The French team has a long history with Focus and the German brand is bound to be frustrated by losing this flagship sponsorship.
We await news regarding what Focus’ future in the WorldTour will be.
Photo: RIDE Media
Factor’s commitment includes a significant financial transaction as well as the supply of over 200 bikes for the season.
AG2R La Mondiale has twice claimed the runner-up position in the Tour de France – with Jean-Christophe Peraud in 2014 and Romain Bardet in 2016.
RIDE understands that Bardet has been riding a Factor frame and that his appraisal was an important factor (sorry) in the decision of the team to switch bike suppliers.
“I hope that together we can develop the best products to evolve at the highest global level,” said Bardet in the release. “I am very happy with this commitment with Factor, a dynamic and innovative brand of cycles.”
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