A Grand Tour winning machine: All the details of Visma-Lease a Bike's watt-saving 2024 Cervélo S5

Will the ultra aero bike help the team to the same success they achieved last year?

If there is one bike brand which would have been especially pleased with the use of its sponsorship budget in 2023, it’s California-based company, Cervélo. Team Visma-Lease a Bike (formerly Jumbo-Visma) rode Cervélo bikes to unprecedented success last year, winning all three Grand Tours atop Cervélo models, as well as contesting the biggest one-day races of the year. The Cervélo S5 – the brand’s most aerodynamic option – was crucial to the success of the world-beating Dutch team last season and Cervélo will be hoping for more of the same in 2024.

Perhaps it’s last year’s victories that have meant both Visma-Lease a Bike and Cervélo have opted to keep much the same when it comes to their equipment this season – if it ain’t broke, why fix it? We can expect to see the team alternating between the same two models as in 2023, the ultra-light Cervélo R5 for the mountain stages and the S5 for flatter and intermediate days. At the opening race of the 2024 WorldTour, the Tour Down Under, we were able to take a close-up look at Koen Bouwman’s Cervélo S5 for the undulating course in South Australia.

The main change when comparing Visma-Lease a Bike’s 2024 build to last year’s model is the paint work on the frame. While the 2023 bike featured a plain black base colour with yellow forks, this year’s design sees a yellow pattern running all the way up the forks and along the bike’s top tube in some unique geometric shapes. The Cervélo logo sits proudly on the frame in bold white lettering, while a small logo also adorns the forks to ensure that the brand has prime visibility when the bike is inevitably at the front of the world’s biggest races. 

Perhaps the most striking feature of the Cervélo S5 is the V-shaped stem at the front of the bike. First introduced to the S5 in 2018, the V-shaped stem reduces drag by, according to Cervélo, allowing unimpeded airflow along the top tube and routing all the cables and houses inside. The handlebar on the S5 has an airfoil shape that has been twisted from centre to edge which Cervélo says also improves airflow. With grommets over the bolts to keep everything looking clean and tidy, alongside neatly wrapped bar tape, the entire cockpit on the S5 looks impressively sleek. Bouwman was using a Garmin 840 Edge as his computer of choice – Garmin is one of the team’s sponsors for 2024.

Visma-Lease a Bike will once again use SRAM componentry this season. While there are murmurs of a new premium SRAM Red groupset coming to market this year, the team were using the current SRAM Red at the Tour Down Under and this is what can be seen on Bouwman’s bike. The Dutch rider had a 2x system with 54/41T chainrings which is a relatively standard choice for WorldTour professionals. He also had a Quarq AXS crank-based power meter on the bike (Quarq is part of the SRAM ecosystem) with a SRAM Dub spindle, the new standard from their old GXP (the Dub spindle is said to be stiffer and lighter.)

It looks like Bouwman was using a 10-33t cassette at the rear – ample gearing for the rolling sprint stages that the Dutch rider was about to tackle. The bike featured a Fizik Argo R1 Adaptive saddle, a 3D-printed saddle with a short nose. Fizik uses tailored zonal cushioning which is said to lead to a reduction in peak pressure through improved weight distribution for increased comfort across the entire saddle surface. The carbon rail system also should help with comfort, responsiveness and stability on uneven terrain. 

Adding to the aerodynamic advancements on the S5, Bouwman’s bike had Wahoo Speedplay Aero pedals which are said to be the most aerodynamic pedals currently on the market due to the lower stack height. While Wahoo is not an official sponsor of Visma-Lease a Bike, unlike Garmin, the team makes the choice to use Wahoo pedals purely for the aero gains they offer.

Visma-Lease a Bike is the only team in the WorldTour peloton to use Reserve wheels. This is Cervélo’s in-house wheel brand and Bouwman was using the 40/44 option despite a relatively flat stage ahead in the Tour Down Under. We can expect to see the Visma-Lease a Bike riders using wheels with deeper rims in some pure sprint races. The wheels had Vittoria Corsa Pro 28mm tyres which were set up as tubeless – something that seems have become the norm in the WorldTour peloton.

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