Zipp News

Back 12.19.2013

Pros Find New Training Partner in Zipp Carbon Clinchers

Show up for a local training ride with deep-section carbon wheels and you may still raise a few eyebrows. Yet that’s just what the riders on three of the world’s top pro cycling teams will do as they make the switch to the Zipp® 404 Firecrest® Carbon Clincher as their primary training wheel.

The Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team, Team Tinkoff-Saxo and Team MTN-Qhubeka are making the transition to use the popular Zipp Carbon Clincher wheelset for training. Pros traditionally train on aluminum wheels, switching to lighter and more aerodynamically efficient carbon wheels for races.

Zipp’s Firecrest and Carbon Clincher technologies give teams the confidence to depart conventional wisdom. The 58-mm deep 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher was a natural choice.

Think Aero
On race day, Zipp-supported pros select the best wheel for specific courses and team duties. A 202 Tubular is a proven performer in mountainous stages. The 303 Firecrest is the go-to wheelset for the Spring Classics. A domestique or lead-out specialist –whose noses are in the wind – may pick the ultra-aero 404 Firecrest or a 404-808 Firecrest combo. For time trials, the top pick is an 808 Firecrest paired with a Super-9 disc.

Training on the 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher puts riders in an aero mindset all the time, not just on race day. The teams wanted riders to be comfortable riding deep-section rims on race day, and the 404 Firecrest accomplishes that, said Rolf Aldag, sport and development manager for the winningest pro team of the past two years, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step. “It’s a lot easier to adjust to a lower rim in the race than to go on the higher rim,” he said.

The added performance, and even the fun-factor, of the 404 Firecrest also can liven up long days in the saddle. “It’s nice to have the speed,” Aldag said. “It just feels nice. The sound… nice.”

Think Stability
During the chaotic Stage 13 of the Tour de France, Saxo-Tinkoff and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s aggressive riding helped shatter the peloton on a windswept course with OPQS' Mark Cavendish winning the day. Zipp’s Firecrest technology provides unmatched stability in crosswinds, which is an advantage on race day. The Firecrest design also makes it an easier transition to ride the deep-rimmed 404 Firecrest Carbon Clincher in training. Again, Aldag wants his riders to be ready for whatever conditions – wind, rain, whatever – on race day. “The Firecrest shape really was a big step forward on the crosswind situation,” he said.

Think Durability
Riders on UCI ProTeams typically ride 35,000 to 40,000 kilometers – or, roughly 21,750 to 24,850 miles – a year. That includes Grand Tours, other stage races, one-day classics… and many long, often solitary, training rides. Aldag said Zipp wheels have proven their durability over hundreds of race days a year. Tubulars remain the go-to wheel for road races. Although Omega Pharma – Quick-Step is familiar with Zipp Carbon Clinchers. Tony Martin rode Zipp Carbon Clinchers to a commanding victory in September’s UCI Men’s Elite Time Trial World Championship. Zipp Carbon Clinchers provide low rolling resistance and ease of use for fixing flats and switching tires. The exclusive resin used in Zipp Carbon Clinchers also tolerates the incredible spikes in heat caused by braking on long descents.

What’s more, Zipp worked with the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and its superstar sprinter, Cavendish, to develop the new 188/V9 hub and new spoke-lacing pattern that provides even greater stiffness and durability for Zipp’s model year 2014 Firecrest wheels. “The durability is not an issue,” Aldag said.

As you watch Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, Tinkoff-Saxo and Team MTN-Qhubeka at upcoming races, know that the Zipp 404 Firecrest Carbon Clinchers is their new training partner.

Photo: Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at recent training camp.  ©