Astana Pro Team is a Kazakhstan registered professional cycling team, sponsored by the Samruk-Kazyna (National Welfare Fund), a coalition of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan and named after the country’s capital city, Astana. The team has had a colorful history to stay the least. From changing team leaders to changing team management, Astana Pro Team has mostly weathered the storm to retain its place in the WorldTour roster.
Specialized has been Astana’s bike supplier since 2010, when team leader at the time, Alberto Contador, specifically demanded that Specialized supply the team’s bikes. The Specialized S-Works Tarmac for 2016 features the company’s “Competitive Road Geometry”; classic road bike geometry combined with optimized head tube and seat tube angles, and appropriate fork rake to produce predictable and solid handling. Specialized’s FACT (Functional Advanced Composite Technology) features in the construction of the Tarmac, designed for an ideal balance of weight, stiffness and vibration damping. The Specialized S-Works Tarmac in these photos is the training bike of Lars Boom, a former world cyclo-cross champion and stage winner at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. Click to read more about the Specialized S-Works Tarmac of Lars Boom…
Campagnolo outfits three teams in the WorldTour peloton, Astana, Lotto Soudal and Movistar. The company’s Super Record EPS (Electronic Power Shift) was fitted to all of Astana’s team bikes at the Tour Down Under, but Campagnolo’s top end electronic groupset is not a universal choice with every Astana team rider.
Riders like Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali are among a number of high profile riders who eschew electronic shifting in favor of mechanical shifting.
German manufacturer SRM provide the crank-based power measuring equipment to the team. Judging from the wear on the Super Record crankset pictured above, this one has seen a good number of training kilometers.
This may be the training bike of Lars Boom, but it doesn’t lack for high end components. CeramicSpeed sponsors the Astana team with bottom brackets, as well as fellow WorldTour teams Dimension Data, Tinkoff and Ettix Quick-Step (featuring one of their team bikes soon).
Corima wheels are seldom seen in the professional peloton these days, and Astana is the only team at the WorldTour level equipped with the French company’s wheelsets.
The Corima 47mm deep S+ tubular wheelset was the universal choice of Astana’s riders attending the 2016 Tour Down Under. Built with Sapim’s CX-Ray straight-pull spokes in black, the front wheel has 18 spokes and the rear 20 spokes. Spoke nipples are hidden inside the rim. If you didn’t catch the news, Look Cycles bought a majority stake in Corima wheels in late January of 2016.
The team’s Corima wheelsets are fitted with Specialized’s S-Works Turbo Allround 2 Tubular tires, in the 700c x 24mm size. Also available in 700c x 26mm, the Allround 2’s 290TPI casing features a latex inner tube, Specialized’s Gripton compound for cornering traction, BlackBelt protection and low rolling resistance.
Unlike the Specialized Venge Vias, the S-Works Tarmac eschews the complexity of an integrated handlebar, keeping brake cables externally routed. Lars is one of the few professional riders who doesn’t slam his stem. Stem sponsor FSA provide the Astana team with the OS99 model.
The Astana team mechanics were a little hesitant allowing me to photograph Lars’ training bike, namely because the bike was dirty from the day’s ride, and there was a bell fitted to the handlebars. While the bell isn’t a team issued item nor is it used for racing, Lars clearly places an emphasis on safety during training rides!
The style and elegance of Campagnolo’s Super Record mechanical shifters continues across to the company’s electronic EPS shifters.
Campagnolo’s Super Record front / rear differential brakes (dual pivot front, single pivot rear) are fitted with Corima’s carbon specific brake pads.
While the S-Works Tarmac mounts the brakes externally in the traditional places on the frame, the rear brake cable is routed internally through the top tube. Also of note is the well-hidden seatpost fixing bolt.
Lars’ saddle of choice is the Specialized Power Pro in an unmarked black covering, unavailable to the public. The saddle is attached to FSA’s K-Force SB25 (25mm of setback) carbon fiber seatpost.
The Specialized Power Pro features titanium rails for an overall reduction in weight.
Standing at 6’3″ tall, Lars Boom is another rider with an impressive saddle to bar drop.
Lars Boom finished the 2016 Tour Down Under in 82nd place overall, 21:24 down on race winner Simon Gerrans. As the first WorldTour race of the year, the Tour Down Under can be a tough affair for European based pro riders still finding their early season legs. I am certain we’ll see Lars Boom peaking for events such as Paris-Roubaix or the Tour of Flanders later in the 2016 season.
Photos and article by Gravel Cyclist.
Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.