The Giro has now moved round to Italy for the remaining stages and whether the Italian road furniture will feature as much is yet to be seen…we really do hope not.
With a team time trial yesterday in ‘changeable’ conditions the running order has been upset once again, with Liquigas-Doimo beating Team Sky by 13 seconds while the Astana team blew up in the final km’s and lost 38 seconds to Liquigas.
We thought we’d have a look at the bikes and kit which the Pro teams are using in the Giro and just how much of it is available to you hard-working people to give you that edge in your next race/TT.
We covered last week how Di2 has made an impact on the cycling world, especially in the Pro Tour arena where the budgets are much larger than most of ours.
Given that these guys ride 1000’s of KM each year in training and racing, they wouldn’t be riding on Di2 if it had constant issues or regular problems. Since its releases Shimano have since added some more products – a thumb shifter for the classics riders which allows shifting while on the tops and finally the wiring kit for using TT bars is widely available. A lot of bike frame makers are now introducing ‘Di2 ready frames’ which have routes for internally routed cables – giving you a very neat and very smart bike. Well worth upgrading if you can afford it.
Something which only we seem to have any stock of is the official Team Sky kit. With its understated blue and black design, quality manufacture and with a world-class Pro Team wearing it, there isn’t much not to like about it.
In the tough conditions everything but Wiggins’ white skinsuit looked as stylish as ever, the distinctive mitts making them obviously Team Sky through the torrential down-pours which many of the teams got hit with during the Team Time Trial.
Sometimes the most interesting shots are the ones taken in the service area. Candid and often up-close views of the equipment and riders themselves when warming up are commonplace. One team member who earns his money is the mechanic. These guys build the bikes prior to a stage, often have to tweak and adjust bikes on the move and then once finished its all go again – cleaning, maintaining and packing away if needed.
Because of this, their kit is always packed full of stuff which they know works and they know will work again and again, in the background of this picture:
…is the Park Team Race Stand and as anyone who’s tried adjusting derailleurs or fitting cablesets will know, doing so without a stand (although not impossible) is made so much easier with one. Being able to spin the drivetrain and check the gears and brakes really makes a big difference, if they weren’t necessary, then the Pro Teams wouldn’t bother. Available here.
For your heroic cornering efforts you need grippy and dependable rubber. This picture of Cadel trying to make up time shows just how far you can push the bike if you trust your tyres:
Although a lot of re-badging goes on in the Pro peloton, you can just make out the Conti markings on the side of the tub. Since 1871 the German company has been hand-making its tubulars and have gained the recognition they deserve. After a brief office discussion we’re going to say (please correct us if we’re wrong) that he’s riding a Competition tubular here, which are light and have some puncture resistance built in.
The warranty department has asked me to include that no tyre is puncture proof and that the lighter the tyre, the lighter/less substantial the puncture resistance.
We don’t want to turn this into a selling exercise, just a brief look at which products you can buy which the Pro’s actually use. It’s a bit tough with time trial bikes because so many of them are development models with custom parts. With road bikes though you can buy the same Di2 system as the Sky team use, the same tyres as Cadel, the rims for your wheels come off exactly the same production line and even their bar-tape is the over the counter (often Fizik or Deda!)
We have lots of new products arriving all the time. In the next week or two, we’ve got some Cavendish stems and bars and available now are the whole new range of Pro and Profile TT bars.
One thing we can be certain about however, is that it is clear that no-one in the peloton wears any underpants!
We’ll keep a keen look at the kit the Pro teams use this year and if we see anything sneaky, freaky or downright jaw dropping you’ll be the first to know. Please let us know if you see anything worth reporting on your travels and we’ll post it up for all to see.