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Giro tech: more bling bikes from the Tour of Italy

Spy shots of what the teams are riding

There's nowhere like the big races to see the latest cutting-edge bikes so our man Simon went snooping with's best camera at the Giro last week...

The Dutch Vacansoleil-DCM squad ride both Noah and Helium road bikes from Belgian brand Ridley. The Noah is designed with aerodynamics in mind while the Helium, pictured here, is lighter; Ridley quote a frame weight of just 950g.

Sticking with the Benelux theme, the wheels come from Fast Forward of The Netherlands. These look like the 38mm-deep F4Rs.

Vacansoleil are one of several top teams to run Rotor 3D+ cranks – CNC machined aluminium with three holes bored down the middle to reduce weight.

And those are Look Kéo Blade pedals, the same as you can get from just about every bike shop out there. The pros almost invariably use the stiffer of the two carbon blades available (the red one) with the higher level of cleat retention.

Team Katusha ride Focus bikes. This is Joaquin Rodriguez’s spare mount and that says Cayo on the top tube (you might not be able to make it out but, believe us, it does). The Cayo is Focus’s entry-level carbon road bike. The official race bike of Katusha is the Izalco – like Danilo Di Luca’s ride (below).

Those pedals are Time i-Clics. We could have sworn Katusha are sponsored by Look. What a naughty boy.

The team uses SRAM Red, which is the best-used groupset in the pro peloton this year, while FSA provide the handlebars, stems and seatposts, along with Vision wheels. FSA have huge representation, supplying eight of the 18 WorldTour teams.

Italian hope Vincenzo Nibali, who finished third in the Giro and won the Vuelta last year, is riding Cannondale’s all-new – or at least newly evolved – SuperSix Evo (see main pic). It’s all straight tubes and very little weight. The seatstays are incredibly skinny and the chainstays are designed to flex upward slightly to add extra comfort to the ride.

Bucking the trend, Cannondale have fitted a 1 1/4in lower bearing in the head tube instead of 1 1/2in to slim it down slightly and reduce the frontal area. That ‘Auguri Italia’ on the head tube, by the way, is wishing Italy a happy birthday. It’s 150 years since the country was unified.

It looks like Vincenzo isn’t big on headset spacers.

That’s a Fizik Antares saddle that Nibali uses. Fizik’s pro riders use Ariones, Aliantes or Antares, depending on their level of flexibility. Everyone is either a snake, a bull or a chameleon based on Fizik’s ‘Spine Concept’. Go to for the details on that.

That’s some of the neatest bar taping we’ve seen in ages. In fact, that’s one tidy bike all round. Good work from the Liquigas Cannondale mechanics!

This is Thomas Lovkvist’s Pinarello Dogma 60.1 – Sky and Movistar are both using this asymmetric frame with the love it or hate it looks, although Sky’s electronic shifting is Shimano Di2 while Movistar are using Campag’s prototype system.

The Swede is another rider who’s not having any truck with the whole headset spacer thing.

Colnago CFS Inox are, not surprisingly, on Colnago C59s, built and finished in Italy. Although 100% carbon fibre, they still manage to look like classic Colnagos.

The groupset is Italian too – it’s Campagnolo Super Record – and the wheels are Racing Zeros from Fulcrum, a brand owned by Campag.

That’s Mark Cavendish’s Specialized S-Works Venge up there at the start of stage three of the Giro. Chances are that you’ve heard plenty about the Venge, developed along with McLaren to provide lightweight aerodynamics.

The frame is made with a hugely oversized, one piece bottom bracket/chainstay, the fork is 3:1 airfoil shaped, and all the cabling is internal.

Those rims are clearly Zipps – they look like the 58mm-deep 360s – although the hubs look like Shimano. The massive Pro carbon stem is a variation on the Vibe track stem and those are Pro’s Vibe Cavendish Signature handlebars, engineered for stiffness.

Check out those pedal axles (above). They’ve been modified so Cav has a higher Q-factor (the distance between the pedals) than normal. He reckons this gives him a more natural pedalling action that allows him to get more power out.

And another thing: although Cavendish has Di2 electronic shifting on this bike, there’s no battery anywhere to be seen. They’ve tucked it away internally.

Speaking of Di2, you can just about make out the satellite shifters Cav has positioned on the inside of the bars, just below the levers, allowing him to change gear from the drops with his thumbs without loosening his grip. It makes things easier when sprinting.

This is Cav’s other bike: pure black.

This one doesn’t have satellite shifters, by the look of things. He rode them both at different times in the race.

This is one of the Bianchi Oltras belonging to the Italian Pro Continental Androni Giocattoli-CIPI team. It’s a super light, super high-end bike made using ultra-high density carbon fibre.

There are criss-crossed raised ridges inside the head tube, you know, to increase stiffness and impact resistance (we took notes when we went to the launch last year). And it looks sweet as you like in that celeste.

The shifters and rear mech are SRAM but the front derailleur is from FSA. They use FSA Metron front mechs on their TT bikes. This looks similar, but without the graphics.

Acqua & Sapone are riding Bottecchia Emme 2 bikes, proudly designed and manufactured in Italy. The Emme 2 is made from high modulus (Toray M46J) carbon fibre with slender seatstays designed to provide extra comfort.

Darn pretty, we reckon. You can get Bottecchia bikes in the UK ( although they don’t have the most widespread distribution.

Those wheels are DT Swiss RRC 445F/555R with 46mm-deep carbon rims. The manufacturer reckons they weigh 1,000g for the pair. You can own a set for £1,800.

Wilier supplied Alessandro Petacchi with a custom red Cento Uno to match the red jersey he wore as leader of the points classification for most of the race until he dropped out.

Wilier and Petacchi are both Italian, hence the Italian tricolore and the number 150 on the fork: another reference to the unification of the country.

Petacchi got a red Specialized Prevail helmet to match his red jersey too, rather than the usual Lampre blue and white one.

The curious thing is, although the red bike was set up for him by the team bus at the start of stage three, we’re pretty sure Petacchi didn’t use it. He rode off on his standard team bike.

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 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.

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bencolem | 57 posts | 12 years ago

Terrific article, thanks for that, great to see so much detail on the Pro rides. Sometimes think I'm more fascinated by the bikes than the races!

mr-andrew | 299 posts | 12 years ago

Every time I'm feeling super happy about my bike and thinking how wonderful she is you lot come along with another pro-bike porn edition and I really struggle to remain faithful. How about more features on Dutch town bikes or something?

Squiggle | 402 posts | 12 years ago

Noticed the Garmin logo on Rodriguez's bike. Didn't know they sponsored other teams/ riders than their own.

Giant Rob | 59 posts | 12 years ago

I want that hat! Mine is grey. A red lid like that would look great on my head!

The Good Shepherd | 47 posts | 12 years ago

Bike porn.

stewieatb | 296 posts | 12 years ago

Alejet not using his red bike could be a "Rule 15" thing. In a red jersey, red helmet and riding a red bike you're going to look a right tit. Thankfully his shorts were tasteful, IE standard team shorts.

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