Specialized puts new Bike under Cavendish and HTC

Bob Stapleton and Mike Sinyard celebrate the deal with a Tarmac SL3 in prototype HTC livery

By now the word is out that HTC will be riding Specialized bicycles and wearing Specialized helmets for their 2011 campaign. Last Thursday Bob Stapleton drove up from San Luis Obispo to meet Mike Sinyard, Ben Capron (Specialized's brand chief) and an excited team of Specialized designers and engineers. It was a good vibe. I had the assignment to photograph the event.

Bob Stapleton, Mike Sinyard and Ben Capron are all smiles

This means the big S is sponsoring three major pro teams in 2011 (Astana, HTC and Saxo Bank). There's speculation in the cycling press with the recent Saxo Bank defections and Contador's predicament that Specialized wanted another formidable arrow in the quiver. One could certainly do worse than align with the winningest team in cycling over the past few years, but I got the distinct feeling that this was an idea that Mike and Bob have kicked around before. They are very relaxed and comfortable with each other and genuinely excited. With only 165 miles separating the two headquarters it's a partnership with geography on its side. Three teams are going to put Specialized on a bunch of podiums next year.

Bob has a new bike to play with before his team's

Bob was all smiles as Mike presented him with a sweet HTC prototype black/white Tarmac SL3 kitted out with Di2, Dura-Ace wheels and SRM power cranks fresh out the paint booth. It won't take long before we start to hear reactions from the riders, but even at their level it's got to be exciting to look forward to a stable of new bikes. I'm predicting the bike and all the positive Morgan Hill energy will have Cav feeling pretty good about next year. Come December both the full men's and women's teams will pay a visit for the all important BG Fit process. The women's team will be riding the Amira. Fingers crossed I'll be documenting the visit. That will be some week for the lunch ride.

big hug Bob has and Ben (foreground) share a laugh

13 Responses to Specialized puts new Bike under Cavendish and HTC

  1. Veeral says:

    You certainly couldn’t wipe the smile of Bob’s face that easily. Looking forward to your next post on the pro team BG Fit process.

    Also have you shot much video on your 1DMKIV ?

    • Hi Veeral,

      I’m hoping to be there.

      I hate to admit I’ve done next to no video with the camera. I shot a few clips during the final day of the Vegas ride but I’ve not reviewed them yet. I purposely chose not to shoot video this time around given how hard it was to do stills and video last year. I’m not giving up totally on the idea I just need the right project to give it another try.


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  3. Josh says:

    I’m guessing this means Cav will get his new deal now?

  4. Jon Moss says:

    They do look pretty happy – some serious investment from Specialized.

    Is there a new S Works helmet out? I think I saw a new model somewhere…



  5. John Davis says:

    Didn’t Cav have trouble switching to the Addict? Will he have trouble changing again?

    • John,

      There’s definitely got to be an adjustment period…psychologically until you’ve won on a new bike an athlete is going to wonder if everything is “dialed” I will say that having photographed pros getting the BG Fit treatment in the SBCU that Cav should come away from that experience with complete confidence that his bike and riding position are completely understood by Specialized. There’s a solid bio mechanical methodology to the process and it’s surprising to hear top level athletes say “aha” during a fit session.

      The Fit team notes the smallest nuance of rider preference and explains (if necessary) how or why that may be at odds with real science. It really helps that everyone at Specialized is serious about their own cycling, they are cyclists first and engineers second.

      It will interesting to see first hand.


  6. BR says:

    Michael – remind me when HTC is in town so I can take a day off and loiter on Willow Springs for the Noon rides. Tell Cav that I will make myself available if he needs any sprinting tips.

  7. Michael

    I’m sure you made the correct decision to stick with stills exclusively, nice to do both but better to nail the goodies in one or tuther, instead of the possibility of missing in both.

    We carry enough equipment to confuse the most methodical shooter, without mixing the “moment” of stills action with the “fluid” action needed for HD video.

    One day we’ll be able to combine both and take excellent stills from HD video, I hope I’m not too old to see it?

    Watch this space.