Fran Ventoso charged up over Campy electronic shifting

Spanish sprinter Fran Ventoso, the first rider to win a race on the new Campagnolo electronic shifters, calls them "a marvel."

2011 Movistar presentation, Fran Ventoso
Fran Ventoso, the first rider to post a win on Campagnolo's electronic shifting, calls the new system "a marvel." Photo: Andrew Hood

Spanish sprinter Fran Ventoso made history last month when he became the first rider to win a race on the new Campagnolo electronic shifters.

The Movistar rider won stage 5 at the Tour Down Under in what was an important milestone for the new system. VeloNews caught up with Ventoso earlier this week at the Movistar team presentation in Madrid to get his impressions. Here are his words:

First impressions: “It’s very tight, the group, I really love it. Honestly, it rides just great. We’ve only had to charge the battery once in the entire month. We got the bikes December 16. We were one month training on them, and there wasn’t really any adjustment period to get used to it. The levers are exactly the same as the Record, so you adapt very fast.”

Difference between cable and electronic shifting: “Above all, you notice the difference in the style of shifting. All you have to do is touch the button and the chain slips right into place, it’s a different feeling than having to slide with the cable. Sometimes you would have to make small adjustments with the cable system. With the electric, so far, it’s always very precise. It’s been a marvel.”

On first experience in competition: “Until now, we’ve had no problems at all. We had a small problem in Australia where the battery was attached to the frame, but they’ve already resolved that problem and have changed it on the bikes. There was a problem with some vibrations of the battery on the support brace of the battery, just one broke, they fixed all the others, and there wasn’t any problem.”

Uncertainty of trying new technology: “I had never ridden with electronic shifters before. I had only messed around with one once before a stage from a colleague, but that was just riding around the parking lot, nothing more than that. At first, we had a little bit of uncertainty about how it would hold up, how it would react in training or in the races. After testing it, we quickly lost any concern. It’s very precise. I was really pushing it during my training to see how it would react at full sprint. I was really going through the motions, to replicate race conditions, and it worked just fine. To tell the truth, everyone on the team is very content.”

Battery life: “I just charged it for the first time day before yesterday and I’ve had the bike for more than a month. The charging device works very fast, about in one hour, the battery is fully recharged again. The battery has a LED light that shows how much time you have left. There are a series of lights that indicate what percentage of the power of the battery remains. Green is 80 to 100 percent, yellow is less, but when you hit red and there’s a small alarm, you still have five or six hours of battery life left. You always know how much battery life you have. It would be very difficult that you would get stuck without any battery power.”