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We check out Tour hopeful Nairo Quintana’s brand new Ultimate CF SLX with aero influences

Tour de France hopeful Nairo Quintana used the recent Route du Sud, a small French stage race, as final preparation to put his brand new Canyon Ultimate CF SLX through its paces before the Tour kicks off next weekend.

Following the conclusion of the race, which saw one of Nairo Quintana’s main opponents for Tour de France glory, Alberto Contador, take overall victory, Canyon gave us the full lowdown on the new bike. You can read the full story here.

Nairo Quintana of course raced the previous generation Ultimate CF SLX to victory in last year’s Giro d’Italia, and his Movistar team are hopeful he’ll add the Tour trophy to his collection. German company Canyon has spent the last two years developing the new Ultimate CF SLX, which is more of an incremental improvement rather than a radical overhaul of the previous bike.

- Review: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 Movistar road bike 

This is the fourth generation Ultimate CF SLX, and while the frame has dropped a little weight - it’s now a claimed 780g (but even lighter for the XS size Nairo rides) - the main differences are the fact that Canyon has sought to introduce some aerodynamic features to the latest version.

Aerodynamic design has traditionally been reserved for time trial bikes but aero road bikes have become hugely popular over the last few years, and now we’re even starting to see some of the aero features from those bikes popping up on regular race bikes, as engineers manage to remove the previous weight penalties normally associated with aero road bikes and apply them to what was traditionally a lightweight all-round model.

2014 Giro tech: Nairo Quintana’s pink Canyon Ultimate CF SLX

The new Ultimate CF SLX has a brand new aero profiled down tube and much work has been done to reduce the frontal surface area, so the fork blades are thinner and it features a non-tapered 1 1/4in head tube, along with very thin headset bearings. The seatclamp is now integrated into the seat tube which is claimed to improve ride comfort. The new bike is also shipped with Canyon’s aero cockpit, a one-piece stem and handlebar.

Nairo Quintana won’t be using that aero cockpit however, instead preferring to use a regular handlebar and stem setup. Asked why, he responded by saying that aerodynamics isn’t a huge concern for him, as for much of the racing he is sheltered from the wind in the peloton and by his team mates, which is a fair point.

Nairo Quintana rides a size XS Ultimate CF SLX and it's specced with a Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset, which is used on all the Movistar team bikes. The team is sponsored by Power2Max and uses its crank-based power meters, to allow Nairo to monitor his power output during and after stages.

Nairo Quintana is 167cm here but uses standard 172.5mm length crank arms, when you might expect he would use shorter cranks.

The bike is rolling on a set of Campagnolo Bora Ultra 50mm carbon fibre tubular wheels with Continental Competition Pro Ltd  22mm tyres - while much of the peloton has moved to wider tyres, many of the Spanish Movistar team bikes were spotted with narrow tyres, though Nairo Quintana’s spare bike on top of the team car was sporting 25mm tyres.

His bike is finished with Canyon’s own-brand carbon fibre seatpost and aluminium handlebars and stems - that’s a common sight because a little extra weight will be needed to tip the bike over 6.8kg, and because some prefer the added durability the metal components provide. That Nairo Quintana’s XS bike has the same minimum weight penalty as someone much bigger, like Marcel Kittel, shows how ridiculous the blanket weight rule is.

Out front he uses a Garmin Edge 510 computer fitted to Garmin’s own out-front handlebar mount.

His saddle is a Fizik Antares in Movistar colours, of course. It’s pushed quite a way forward on the layback seatpost to achieve his desired position.

A negative rise stem, but it isn’t quite slammed, there’s an additional spacer in there for good measure.

Look Keo Blade pedals are his preferred pedal of choice.

This is common on pro bikes, a small strip of tape to mark the saddle height. Extra points for the special Canyon sticker though.

And finally, a pair of Elite water bottle cages.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.