This Sunday sees the team time trial in the Tour de France – a 28km (17.5 miles) route from Vannes to Plumelec in Brittany – and here are some of the bikes the riders will be racing on.
This is the brand new Look 796 that we told you about a couple of weeks ago. It hasn’t been officially launched yet but we took the opportunity to have a good look at Florian Vachon’s bike when we were out in Utrecht before the start of the Tour.
The stem is integrated with the top tube, the front brake is integrated into the fork, and the rear brake is tucked away underneath the chainstays.
Bretagne-Séché Environnement use Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 components with Look’s own chainset and Polar Keo Power pedals to measure wattage.
Vachon uses a Selle Italia SLR Team Edition saddle with carbon rails and a squared off nose.
The front wheel looks very similar design to a HED but you can trust the logos on this one – it is from American Classic.
Cannondale-Garmin’s Andrew Talansky is the US national time trial champion, and wouldn’t you know it from looking at the paint job on his Cannondale Slice?
The bike uses an external fork steerer that allows the use of narrower headset bearings to reduce the frontal area.
The front brake wasn’t actually fitted when we grabbed a quick shot as the bike was being built up, but it sits behind the fork legs.
Talansky is using a Fizik Arione Tri 2 saddle with ‘Kium’ alloy rails.
Dan Martin’s bike was fitted with Garmin’s new Edge 520 computer.
The Di2 battery is fitted externally, which is very unusual these days, and the Di2 junction box sits on top of the stem.
That makes for easy fine-tuning although we’re guessing that it’s not the best solution in terms of aerodynamics.
You can just about see in this pic that the little trough between the wheel rim and the tyre sidewall has been filled with what appears to be silicone sealant – the stuff you buy in DIY shops for use in the kitchen and bathroom. It looks like a modification made with aerodynamics in mind, a lot like the aero blades that Mavic introduced a couple of years ago and were promptly ruled illegal by the UCI.
This bike (above) saw action in the opening day’s time trial but that will be its only appearance in this year’s Tour de France because it belongs to Fabian Cancellara who had to withdraw after crashing badly earlier in the week.
This is Bauke Mollema’s bike with a higher front end.
Trek uses what it calls ‘Kammtail Virtual Foil’ tube profiles to reduce drag. Essentially, they’re tubes shaped for aerodynamics with the trailing edge of the airfoil chopped off to reduce weight, improve handling in crosswinds, and stick within UCI equipment rules. The idea is that the air acts almost in almost the same way as if the tail was there.
Although that rear wheel is labelled up as Bontrager, it’s actually a rebadged Zipp.
Mollema has a 55/42-tooth chainrings fitted here. That’s fairly conservative by professional standards.
The Di2 junction box is tucked away underneath the Speed Concept Mono aero bar extension.
This is Marco Haller scooting by on his Canyon Speedmax CF, with a huge drop in height from his saddle to his bars.
The setup of this other team bike isn't as radical. Canyon first introduced the Speedmax as a concept at Eurobike in 2011, and launched it properly the following year. The striking looks result from Canyon’s development of the Trident tube profile using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and validation in a wind tunnel. Simon Smart, who was involved in the design of the Scott Foil, Giant Trinity SL time trial bike and Enve rims, also lent his expertise to the design.
We grabbed a few shots of Andre Greipel’s Ridley Dean Fast last week.
It comes with a F-Splitfork which has a gap running down the centre of each leg. The idea is that this improves the airflow around the front wheel.
The front brake is a V-type design with the arms sitting directly behind the fork legs so as not to increase the frontal area.
Lotto Soudal riders use Campagnolo Super Record EPS components.
Greipel has a San Marco Concor saddle fitted.
Call me ‘Sherlock Holmes’ but I’m saying that water bottle belongs to team-mate Thomas De Gendt.
Richie Porte’s bike is painted up in green and gold to reflect his status as Australian time trial champion.
AG2R ride time trials on Focus Izalco Chrono Max bikes. It boasts many of the features that we’ve come to associate with time trial bikes over recent years, like deep-section tubes, a cutaway section around the rear wheel, and a fork crown that’s integrated into the frame.
Focus positions the TRP brake at the front of the fork, which is quite unusual these days.
AG2R is sponsored by Schwalbe but you can see that the tyre glued to this Zipp rear wheel is a Continental with blacked out logos.
AG2R riders use SRAM’s new wireless electronic groupsets on their road bikes but it looks like SRAM doesn’t have TT shifters ready to go because everything here is mechanical.
The E-118 Next has been revamped for 2015 with a redesigned front end that’s lighter and more integrated than before, according to Argon 18.
Bora-Argon 18 use Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 components but with FSA/Vision chainsets and wheels.
Dominik Nerz has a computer mount that sits between the aero extensions, sheltered from the wind when his hands are out front.
Sadly, Martin crashed out of the Tour de France on Thursday but other team members will be riding similar bikes.
Australia’s Orica-GreenEdge ride Scott Plasmas. The proprietary front brake is integrated into the fork while the direct-mount rear brake is hidden behind the bottom bracket. Cables are all internally routed, going inside the handlebar, into the stem and then through into the frame for some very clean lines.
The upper headset bearing is sited above the stem, Scott claiming that this increases the front-end stiffness over previous generation Plasmas.
Unusually, the Shimano Di2 battery and junction box live underneath the saddle.
Lampre-Merida’s colours are blue, green and pink but Nelson Oliveira’s bike has a special finish because he is champion of Portugal in time trialling.
Lampre-Merida is yet another team that runs Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets, although the chainsets are from Rotor. Each rider chooses whether they prefer to run round chainrings or Rotor’s non-round Q-Rings. It looks like Oliveira goes with Q-Rings.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.