Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia is 59.4km (37.1 miles) individual time trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene, and here are many of the bikes the riders will be using.
This is the only individual time trial in this year’s Giro although the race opened with a 17.6km (11 miles) team time trial from San Lorenzo al Mare to Sanremo, won by Orica GreenEdge. That gave us the chance to photograph some of the bikes. Many of the riding shots were taken just after the finish line, by the way, hence the non-aero positions.
If you have £1,000 to £1,500 to spend on a road bike, you really do get a lot for you money. A benefit of spending this sort of money is that the bikes start to get much lighter than those costing half as much, which will have a significant impact on the ride quality and performance, and your times up your local hills.
Aerodynamics is a big thing in road racing at the moment, where even the smallest gains are appreciated, especially by the sprinters. Giant has this week added the new Rivet aero road helmet to its range, a helmet that has been a long time in development - those with a keen eye will have spotted several members of the Giant-Alpecin professional team sporting the new helmet in races earlier this year.
Team Giant-Alpecin’s John Degenkolb (Germany) yesterday won the 293km (182-mile) Milan-San Remo on a Propel Advanced SL, outsprinting Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEdge). Here’s one of Degenkolb’s bikes that we shot at Taipei Cycle last week – or, at least, a bike made up to look like one of his. You’ll find out why we don’t think it’s a real race bike in a mo.
It’s a busy time of year for the professional teams as they embark on early season training camps in sunny climes preparing for the new season. While some teams are getting familiar with new bikes and kit, Marcel Kittel is riding the same Giant Propel he raced last season, despite his team changing from Giant Shimano to Team Giant-Alpecin this year.
Every year is a big year for technology in road cycling with manufacturers competing for as big a slice of the market as they can get, and 2014 has been particularly busy thanks to innovation from bike brands, advances in computer design and, most importantly, the introduction of disc brakes. In fact, five of our top 10 tech stories of the year are disc-related, some more than others.
We kick off our countdown with something entirely different, though.
First introduced in 2008, the Giant Defy needs little introduction; it's one of the most popular bikes in the endurance and sportive sector, and is the company's best-selling model, combining smart geometry with a full range of competitively priced builds. It's been completely revamped for 2015 with a whole new frame design providing enhanced comfort and, for the carbon frames, disc brakes only.
Psst! Want to see some pictures? You know... pictures. These are specialist ones we got from Germany. Hard to get hold of over here.