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Cervélo is a bike manufacturer based in California, USA. The company produces bikes for road, track, triathlon and off-road, all with a strong focus on innovation.
The company started out as the university project of Gérard Vroomen and Phil White at Canada’s McGill University. The former began his studies of bike dynamics in his home country of the Netherlands but crossed the Atlantic to continue his research. Here, he met White, another student engineer passionate about bikes, and founded Cervélo in 1995.
Cervélo’s first design is arguably one of its most iconic, the Baracchi. The ultra-modern frame design and garish green paint job make it hard to forget. Despite its novelty and traditionalist disapproval, the bike was a sign of what the company had to offer.
Within a matter of years, the company launched several bikes, including the P2 TT, the Soloist Team and the T3 track frame. These groundbreaking bikes helped Cervélo to sponsor the CSC pro team from 2003. In the years to come, Fabian Cancellara used the company’s bikes to devastating effect in the Classics whilst Carlos Sastre won the 2008 Tour de France aboard a Cervélo.
This success saw the company set up its own team a year later, the Cervélo TestTeam. Having a top-tier pro team only sped up innovation at the business’s headquarters. However, over the next few years, there would be wholesale changes within both the team and Cervélo as a whole. Cervélo TestTeam became Team Garmin-Cervélo, whilst Pon Holdings bought the company and Vrooman left shortly after. By 2017, White would also depart his role as chief innovation officer.
Nonetheless, Cervélo’s pioneering attitude remained, largely thanks to its continued collaboration with some of road cycling’s top riders such as Dave Zabriskie, Mark Cavendish and Primož Roglič. They helped the company to shape its current range of bikes, from the aero S5 and the P5 TT bike, to the lightweight R5.
Between 2019 and 2020, Cervélo moved into the off-road market, first with its gravel Áspero, built for racing on the rough stuff, and then the ZHT-5 hardtail mountain bike for XC racing
The company name is a portmanteau of cervello, Italian for brain, and vélo, French for bike or cycling.
Current sponsorships: Jumbo-Visma
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What bike is the reigning champion riding at the Tour de France 2023? Si takes a close-up look at Jumbo-Visma superstar and 2022 yellow jersey winner Jonas Vingegaard’s Cervélo S5. With a 1x SRAM 50T chainring and a 10-36T cassette, this set-up has certainly turned heads. All in all, the bike (size 51) comes in at just 7.12kg!
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