Pirelli and Mitchelton-SCOTT have just announced their technological partnership. The Australian team, number 2 in the World Tour ranking, will race with the new tubular Pirelli bike tyre on the next Tour de France. It is a partnership that involves the team and Pirelli’s R&D in a joint and continuous development of the product.
The agreement providing for a long-term technological partnership was announced at the Paul Ricard circuit. For the occasion of the launch, Simon Yates raced his Scott bike fitted with the tubular Pirelli bike tyre on a timed lap of the 5.8km Formula 1 Paul Ricard circuit at Le Castellet, and then handed the prize to Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), the official pole position man of the day.
This signifies an acceleration of the famous tyre company to step up its presence in professional cycling and promote their Pirelli bike tyre products, coming hot on the heels of signing an agreement with Pro Continental team Aqua Blue Sport.
The debut will take place in just over two weeks, at the Tour de France, where most of the athletes in the Australian team will be using the new Pirelli bike tyres. This participation in the Grande Boucle will mark Pirelli’s return to major races in the UCI cycling calendar.
Using Le Castellet as the designated stage for the announcement of the agreement between Pirelli and Mitchelton-SCOTT was no random choice, not only because the French GP takes place a few weeks before the start of the Tour de France but also because it underscores the existing links, in Pirelli’s strategy, between motorsport and cycling races.
Pirelli’s approach to professional cycling is the same that has made it into the world’s leading supplier to top level motor races: signing partnership agreements that provide for joint, continuous development work on the tyres with a view to attaining unprecedented performance levels.
During the months leading up to the Tour de France, the Mitchelton-SCOTT team and Pirelli R&D personnel have been working together, in a constant exchange of technical feedback, with a total of 300,000 km covered with the new tubular Pirelli bike tyres, in races and testing sessions conducted jointly by Pirelli professional testers and the team riders, and several World Tour races already ridden without showing the brand name.
The result of this intensive testing and performance validation process, which will continue race after race throughout the cycling season, is the PZero Velo tyre in the tubular version. This Pirelli bike tyre is born of the most demanding conditions, which, besides featuring the high-efficiency level and grip typically associated with Pirelli products and ideally suited for World Tour competitions, enables the riders to reach new levels of confidence and control, under extreme conditions. Among the characteristics it shares with clinchers in the same family, we find SmartNET™ Silica compound, ICS (Ideal Contour Shaping) tyre tread profile, and FGD (Functional Groove Design) – all of them viewed by Pirelli as essential constituents of Velo products, at the design and development stages.
“Pirelli is the choice of top-notch athletes and the very best teams in many high-level sports” – points out Antonella Lauriola, COO of Pirelli Business Unit Velo – “so it was only natural that in cycling too we would be the choice of a leading team such as Mitchelton-SCOTT. To Pirelli, each bike, each cyclist and each and every racing condition calls for a different product. This is the way we work in motorsport championships too. We are certain that this partnership will yield significant results, not only in terms of race wins, but also and primarily in terms of product development”.
“The tyre is arguably the most important piece of equipment available to a professional road cyclist. There’s an incredible amount of trust that goes into a very small contact patch to the road” commented Kevin Tabotta, Mitchelton-SCOTT team Performance Director “We have been really happy with the development of the tyres. Pirelli have been excellent in the way they’ve communicated with our athletes and taken on board their feedback. We have ended up with a fantastic fast, grippy, comfortable tyre that handles incredibly well”.