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  • 20.08.15

    Design Stories: Cannondale CAAD12

    Discs in the peloton. And aluminium too? Enter Cannondale's latest metal machine

These are busy times for Cannondale.

The Connecticut brand has released a record number of new models this year, reached a new alliance with Slipstream Sports to maintain a presence in the UCI WorldTour, and will exhibit at the inaugural Rouleur Classic this November.

Cannondale gatecrashed the European peloton a little over 20 years ago in consort with Mario Cipollini’s Saeco squad. The  sprinter with the oversized ego and blood red bicycle, all oversized tubes and monstrous cranks, created an indelible impression.

There were other significant victories: a World Championship in 2003 for Igor Astarloa in Hamilton, a Giro the same year for Gilberto Simoni and another the following year for Damiano Cunego. The significance to Cannondale, and its latest creation, will become apparent.

Racing cyclists, small group, lead rider in red jersey and shorts, Damiano Cunego, Saeco-Cannondale, pic: Offside/L'Equipe

The brand has remained a fixture in cycling’s top tier, joining forces this season with Jonathan Vaughters’ Cannondale-Garmin squad.

The direct link between its salaried riders  and Cannondale’s engineers is best illustrated by the latest iteration of the flagship SuperSix EVO, ridden to victory at the Tour of Utah by Joe Dombrowski, just weeks after he received the new bike along with 200 journalists at a press launch in Austria. Of equal interest, however, was the second bike, unveiled that same weekend, and on which this writer toiled up some of Austria’s unrelenting climbs: the CAAD12.

There is little anyone can teach Cannondale about building aluminium bicycles, having shocked the peloton of the early 1990s with its CAAD3 model, the first to exhibit the Power Pyramid downtube and Hollowgram chainset that have become staples of subsequent developments. Here we return to Astarloa, Simoni and Cunego: the last two Grand Tours and the last World Championship won on aluminium bikes were done so on Cannondales.

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