In 2015, the USA Cycling US Cup events presented by Sho-Air has UCI status, including two “HC” level events (the highest there is). That’s drawn racers from around the world. One of those is Italian national champion and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Marco Fontana, riding for the Cannondale Factory Team.
We had the chance to ride and chat with Fontana at the round No. 1 race at Bonelli Park, discussing his race bike, the Cannondale’s F-SI Carbon Team. It was the same bike he chose for the September 2014 world championships in Norway, where he raced to a bronze medal.
Cannondale is not beholden to fork manufacturers, thanks to its Lefty technology. Using that to its advantage, they tweaked the rake, and slackened the head angle of Fontana’s bike to 69.5 degrees. “With the new rake of the front hub and fork, the handling is just really, really good,” said Fontana.
Fontana’s Lefty has 100mm of travel and a hydraulic cartridge. When we spoke with him, he was in the middle of testing a new strut. “It’s a little more soft in high speed stuff, so you just have a feeling of being more attached to the ground,” said Fontana.
“I really like the new head angle,” he added. “It’s a little more slack than your average XC rig.”
Fontana has also cut down the stock 685mm handlebar to 650mm, and combined that with a 90mm stem. To capture training and race data, he chooses the Mio Cyclo105. “I like simple stuff, you know? I don’t need a lot of info navigation wise,” he explained. “It has speed, cadence, power—when I go out on the road, I use a PowerTap.”
As is the case for nearly all of the pro field, thanks to its low weight and efficient functioning, Fontana is using a 1x system. In this case it’s SRAM’s top of the line components including the XX hydraulic brakes and XX1 shifters and drivetrain.
“I think racing wise, XX1 is a really, really good choice,” said Fontana. “You change the front chain ring depending on the course, but I have a feeling most of the riders pick one, and they change it just if the course is really different from standard… Most of the time I’m running a 34t chainring, which is the choice of most of the riders. But [teammate] Manny [Fumic] for example goes for a 36.”
Turning his pedals are 175mm cranks, and on the receiving end are a set of M50 ENVE carbon wheels that the Cannondale Factory Team actually had a hand in developing. “They are really wide and light,” said Fontana.
For the opening US Cup race, the wheels were shod with a Schwalbe Racing Ralph in the front, and Schwalbe Thunder Burt in the back, both at 2.25 to give a touch of added suspension. Fontana also opted for the slightly heavier Snakeskin version for added puncture protection. “In Europe, we use the Racing Ralph most of the time—it’s a really good profile,” revealed Fontana.
As for pressure, it of course depends on the course, but Fontana says the lowest he goes is just under 22psi front, and just over 23psi rear.