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Race leader opts for cheaper components in the mountains

Giro d’Italia leader Alberto Contador sidelined SRAM Red components and opted instead for much more lowly Apex in the mountains of this year’s race for the option of a wider spread of gears. The other members of Saxo-Bank Sungard, Astana and Garmin-Cervélo did the same.

Apex comes with a SRAM WiFLi cassette – wider, faster, lighter. The ‘wider’ bit refers to the fact that you get an 11-32T, and that’s what appears to be fitted here. That’s a big old spread of gear ratios open to you with a double chainset.

When SRAM say it’s ‘faster’ and ‘lighter’, they’re comparing Apex with a triple chainset. We really can’t see El Pistolero ever considering heading into the Dolomites with a triple on board.

A SRAM Red rear derailleur can’t handle that range so the riders all swapped to a mid-cage Apex option at the back. That’s 63 quid’s worth of rear mech instead of the usual £300 one. It’s only about 40g heavier.

 

 

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.