Factor steps up to WorldTour level by adding the French team to its sponsored roster
UK based Factor Bikes has added the French team Ag2r La Mondiale, whose star rider is 2016 Tour de France runner-up Romain Bardet, to its list of sponsored teams for next year. It already provides bikes to UK-based pro continental team One Pro Cycling, but a WorldTour-level team is a major coup for the company, founded in 2007 in Norfolk.
Factor has only been making bikes since 2009, with its first production machine the Vis Vires which was unveiled in 2013. Ag2r will race on its current bike range: the lightweight Factor O2 and the aerodynamic Factor ONE and Factor ONE-S. The brand hasn’t had a time trial bike up to now, but says that it will soon be releasing the Factor Slick to address this.
Factor has high ambitions for the relationship with Ag2r, with Baden Cooke its co-owner and a former pro himself stating: “We hope this partnership will help Romain Bardet become the first Frenchman to win the Tour de France since Bernard Hinault in 1985.”
Bardet himself seems pleased with the new bike sponsor, saying: “I am very happy with this commitment with Factor Bikes, a dynamic and innovative brand of cycles. I hope that together we can develop the best products to evolve at the highest global level.”
Retired pro David Millar works with Factor, with the official title of ‘test pilot’. According to Millar, “Factor Bikes have allowed me more say in development than any manufacturer during my racing career, the collaborative effort has produced not only the road bikes but the time trial bike which I named the “Slick” (for no other reason than the first time I saw it for real I said, ‘wow, looks slick’).”
Factor displaces German brand Focus as the team’s supplier. With Factor’s bikes currently sporting Shimano components, it seems like that the Japanese manufacturer will oust SRAM too, Ag2r having been a pre-launch testbed for its eTap groupset.