After a successful 2016 on tarmac, track and cobbles, leading racing saddle maker fi’zi:k has started 2017 in style by announcing continued sponsorship of a number of leading teams in the pro peloton – and extending its relationships into Pro Continental, Continental and Women’s Tour teams.
2016 saw a clean sweep for the Italian brand at the world’s biggest race, the TdF, with Team Sky’s Chris Froome, AG2R La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet and Movistar Team’s Nairo Quintana stepping off their fi’zi:k saddles to claim the final GC podium. The 1-2-3 was repeated in Spain with Quintana taking the top step, this time getting the better of Froome, and being joined by Orica GreenEDGE’s Esteban Chaves.
Chaves got his victory at Il Lombardia, while his team-mate Mathew Hayman upset the odds to win Paris-Roubaix.
The Rio Olympics saw medals for fi’zi:k riders Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) winning the Road Race; Elia Viviani’s (Sky) gold and Mark Cavendish’s (Data Dimension) silver in the Omnium; and Sir Bradley Wiggins signing off with gold in the Madison.
World Tour teams riding on fi’zi:k saddles for 2017 are:
- Spain’s Movistar Team, UCI ranked 1 in 2016, will continue with fi’zi:k saddles on their Canyons;
- UCI ranked 3 UK-based Team Sky will do likewise on their Pinarellos.
- Then there are two USA outfits using fi’zi:k saddles: BMC Racing Team (UCI ranked 4) and Team Cannondale (UCI ranked 8) who also use fi’zi:k bar:tape.
- From France there’s FDJ (winner of the 2016 Milan-San Remo with Arnaud Démare) running fi’zi:k saddles on their Lapierres and AG2R La Mondiale who equip their Factors with matching fi’zi:k saddles and bar:tape.
- Rounding out the 2017 top flight is the first African WorldTour team, Dimension Data, winner of five stages at the 2016 TdF with Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings, sitting pretty with fi’zi:k saddles on their Cervélos.
Each rider chooses their individual model of fi’zi:k saddle, according to fitting with fi’zi:k technicians and their own team’s mechanics. Each is selected according to fi’zi:k’s Spine Concept EVO, which takes into account the important variables of the athlete’s spine flexibility and pelvic rotation while riding, and power output-to-weight ratio, to designate the most suitable saddle shape and size form.
Team Sky’s all-rounder Geraint Thomas, BMC’s former world hour record holder Rohan Dennis and FDJ’s sprinter Arnaud Démare all ride Arione – Spine Concept EVO’s Snake; typically the most flexible spine and least pelvic rotation, requiring a flat saddle.
BMC’s Classics specialist Greg Van Avermaet and Movistar’s all-rounder Alejandro Valverde ride Antares – Spine Concept EVO’s Chameleon; typically with middle spine flexibility and some pelvic rotation, requiring a medium-profiled saddle – while Team Sky’s Mikel Kwiatkoski rides Antares VS – the same saddle shape, but featuring a central comfort channel.
Movistar’s climber Carlos Betancur and Data Dimension’s Classics specialist Bernhard Eisel ride Aliante – Spine Concept EVO’s Bull; typically the least flexible spine, and most pelvic rotation, requiring a waved saddle – while BMC’s Tejay Van Garderen rides Aliante VSX – the same saddle shape, but featuring a wider central comfort channel.
In Froome, Van Avermaet, Quintana, Valverde and Bardet, fi’z:k starts 2017 with five of the top six UCI ranked World Tour riders – and expectations are very high for the year’s performances.
Outside of the WorldTour, fi’zi:k’s sponsorship of road teams extends to the Pro Continental and Continental levels of men’s racing. Pro Continental team Aqua Blue Sport will ride with fi’zi:k saddles and bar:tape on their Ridleys. Continental Team Armee de Terre (GIST bikes) and Team JLT Condor (Condor bikes) both run fi’zi:k saddles, cockpits and bar:tape; while the Team Wiggins Pinarellos are equipped with fi’zi:k saddles and bar:tape.
A new development for 2017 is the sponsorship of the FDJ women’s team, which is being run closer than ever to the FDJ men’s team. fi’zi:k’s new women’s team, FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope will also run latest fi’zi:k women’s model LUCE saddles on their Lapierres as the riders chase down the Women’s WorldTour goals set by their leaders. “We want to be in the top 10 in 2017,” said Stephen Delcourt, Team Manager.