Any rider with a professional career spanning more than 15 years is going to have ridden a lot of different bikes. In the case of Mark Cavendish, cycling’s most successful sprinter ever, he’s helped make icons of certain models thanks to his victories on the biggest stages. Think the first Specialized McLaren Venge from the HTC glory days, or the Pinarello Dogma 60.5 that he rode to victory on the Champs Élysées as world champion.
Now in the autumn of his career, Cavendish made the switch to Astana Qazaqstan for the 2023 season after finding opportunities hard to come by at his former Quick-Step squad. That meant switching from Specialized, the brand that has perhaps accompanied Cavendish to most of his success, to Wilier Triestina.
The Italian brand’s flagship race bike, the Filante SLR, is the only road offering to the Astana team riders currently. Like many brands, Wilier’s top-end bike is aimed at being both aerodynamic enough for the flat races and light enough for the high mountain stages of Grand Tours. It’s a familiar shape, the dropped seatstays and aero tubing a style fairly ubiquitous amongst the WorldTour peloton’s road bikes right now.
The most striking feature of Astana’s Filante SLR is definitely the colourway, which reflects the turquoise of the team’s jerseys. The glossy marbled effect with a blue fade into silver is certainly one of most standout designs in the peloton.
Cavendish is known to have a particular attention to detail when it comes to his bike setup, but the whole setup is pretty much as standard for the team’s riders.
The whole groupset is Shimano’s 12-speed Dura-Ace R9270, and in this particular setup the Manxman is running 54/40 chainrings on a power meter crank, while the cassette looks like it’s potentially the 11-30 offering from Shimano.The only change to the groupset is the oversized jockey wheels, which are provided by American company SLF Motion, who also provide bottom brackets to the squad. The ‘Speed System’ jockey wheels and cage are in fact the only nod on the bike to Cavendish as British national road champion, with red and blue jockey wheels paired with a Union Flag design on the carbon cage.
Up front, Cavendish has opted to use the Wilier proprietary integrated carbon bars, also in turquoise. The drop is a beautiful classic curve, which is becoming rarer to see in the peloton as riders opt for integrated and aero setups. Cavendish has often opted for classic curve bars when they’ve been available to him, and this set seemed to be created when Niki Terpstra began riding with Wilier at Total Energies back in 2020.
The bars are topped with Prologo bar tape and there’s an integrated K-Edge out-front computer mount too. There’s also a set of sprint shifters on the outer, rear side of the drops. It’s quite common to see these set further on the inside of the drops to be operated by the rider’s thumbs, but clearly Cavendish is more comfortable with these positioned here.
The wheels are by French brand Corima, and look like a tubeless version of their 47mm WS Black wheels. Conversely, Cavendish has actually been using deeper Hed wheels throughout the Giro d'Italia so far; the team has been using Hed wheels with certain riders all spring, despite not yet having an official partnership with the American brand. The Corima carbon wheels are shod with Vittoria’s new Corsa Pro tyres in 28mm, set up tubeless, and a 60mm front discs rotor with a 40mm rear.
Cavendish’s seat of choice is a Prologo Nago C3, while the bottles and cages are provided by Tacx.