TG mentioned in a post last month that the Shimano Ultegra triple was to bite the dust, and be thus relegated to the pedestrian 105 level.
as discussed at Weight Weenies.
Ultegra is going to 11-speed, and has redesigned crank and shifters. It looks very nice. No mention of a triple, and it is easy to see that in going to 11-speed, they wouldn't be bothered by also having to design/offer the unfashionable triple.
From Google cache, a retracted announcement:
A pic of the 2014 Ultegra 11-speed, which will apparently not have a triple version:Originally Posted by Retracted Shimano press release
For tandems, this means that even new high end tandems will at best be equipped with 105 triples.
Whither the Ultregra tandem crankset? Perhaps it will be continued, but labelled 105, and otherwise equipped with 105 components (RD, FD, shifters). Just a guess.
Will there be any alternatives? There is no SRAM road triple. There is the new Campagnolo Athena 11-speed triple. In Campagnolo, Centaur is about the level of 105, and Athena is positioned above Centaur, as evidenced by having an 11-speed and EPS version. So, it has potential. There is no Campagnolo tandem crankset, however. I recently installed Athena 11-speed on my tandem, and the RD works fine, but the Athena triple FD will not shift non-Campy chainrings. I tried TA inner and middle, with FSA, TA, Praxis and DA outer chainring. None worked. I had to put the Shimano FD back on. So, Athena at present is not a tandem alternative. The best triple any new tandem will get apparently will be 105.