Could Vacansoleil-DCM’s Bianchi Oltre XR, painted in the famous Celeste paint, be the best looking bike in the professional peloton? I’m thinking it is...
This is Sergey Lagutin’s bike. He’s a Uzbek professional road racing cyclist with the Vacansoleil-DCM team. The 32-year-old has some impressive achievements on his palmares including winning the World Under-23 Road Race Championships in 2003. Since then he’s spent the last five seasons with the Vacansoleil-DCM squad, and finished a creditable 15th in the Vuelta a España. Hilly classics are his speciality though, where he works hard for his team.
Vacansoleil-DCM are once again sponsored by Bianchi, and the Italian company have supplied their latest version of their range-topping Oltre XR - which we reviewed recently. You are going to need a very good eye indeed to spot the changes made to the new Oltre from the previous version, that's because they are all under the paint where there’s some substantial changes to the carbon layup. They’ve dropped some 30g off the frame weight (aggregation of marginal gains and all that) so a 55cm frame is now 900g.
Most pro bikes are really light these days, so Bianchi have focused on increasing the rigdity of the bike. You could argue it’s better to have a slightly heavier frame, and use the extra carbon to improve the bike's handling. Bianchi reckons it’s 20% stiffer than the previous bike.
The frame is a carbon monocoque construction and uses UMS40 and CN60 ultra high modulus carbon. They then mould strips of additional carbon into the headtube and bottom bracket to target extra stiffness It has all the hallmarks of a WorldTour race bike. A tapered head tube – 1 1/8in up top and 1 1/2in at the bottom, BB30 bottom bracket, huge profile tubes and a low weight, just 900g for a 55cm frame.
You can read our review of the Oltre XR here.
Vacansoleil-DCM's bikes are decked out with Campagnolo Super Record EPS 11-speed. Most of the Campagnolo sponsored teams are using EPS. But it’s not a Campagnolo clean sweep. There’s a KMC XL chain, FSA K-Force Light BB386 EVO Carbon 53/39 chainset and FSA SL-K brake calipers.
As for wheels, they’re from Dutch company Fast Forward and these are their F6R Carbon, a full carbon tubular rim with a 60mm deep section. With FFWD’s own hubs and Sapim CX-Ray spokes, they’re very light at just 1355g. Glued to the rims are Vredestein Fortezza Pro TriComp tyres.
Sergey is one of the few riders in the peloton to ride an integrated handlebar. FSA’s Plasma Integrated bar/stem is made entirely from carbon fibre, and he has the typical long stem that most pros favour, it’s 13cm with a considerable rise. Saddle on this bike is a Selle San Marco Regale and there’s Lizard Skins Celeste bar tape to complete the tidy package.
And of course, the frame is painted in the famous Celeste colourway. One of the nicest looking bikes in the peloton? I think so.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.