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Tour Tech 2016: Saddle secrets of the stars… High tech, low tech, custom and quirky

We take a peak at the peloton’s most interesting perches: Froome, Contador, Sagan, Kittel, Kristoff…

We've visited the teams competing in the Tour de France over the past few days and here are some of the most interesting saddles we've spotted. 

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 28.JPG

This (main pic and above) is one of Alberto Contador’s saddles, his name printed very small at both the front and rear. It’s a custom Prologo Nago Evo. The pink, yellow and red stripes represent the leader’s jerseys in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana respectively. Contador has won each of the Grand Tours more than once.

Alberto Contador spare bike 15.JPG

This saddle (above) is from Contador’s spare bike. You can see that the cover features  CPC (Connect Performance Control), a super-grippy polymer that Prologo has using for a few years now.

It’s arranged differently from normal, though, in a hexagonal, honeycomb pattern not yet available to the public.

Lampre Merida Prologo CPC honeycomb saddle - 1.jpg

Here it is again on a Lampre-Merida bike.

Fabian Cancellara Trek Madone 2016 37.JPG

Fabian Cancellara goes for an old Bontrager Team Issue saddle. It isn’t as cushioned as usual. In fact, it’s pretty damn hard.

Check out our review of the Bontrager Team Issue saddle. 

geraint thomas saddle2.JPG

In contrast, Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas goes for a Fizik Arione that’s unusually deeply cushioned. When we visited the team’s Service Course earlier in the year, we were told that a couple of riders had these made for the Classics and stuck with them. 

geraint thomas saddle1.JPG

Those two lines on the top are measuring points for the mechanics to make sure that all of a rider’s bikes are set up in exactly the same way. 

pinarello chris froome 2016 11.JPG

Race favourite Chris Froome just goes for a standard Fizik Antares R1.

Simon Gerrans Fizik Antares  - 1.jpg

Orica-BikeExchange’s Simon Gerrans does too, although his has team green showing through the slits in the cover.

kittel saddle2.JPG

Etixx-Quick-Step sprinter Marcel Kittel uses a Specialized S-Works Romin Evo in a custom finish. 

Dan Martin Fizik TT saddle  - 1.jpg

Teammate Dan Martin goes off message with a Fizik saddle on his time trial bike

kristoff saddle1.JPG

Sprinter Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has stripes on his Selle Italia saddle that echo those of the Norwegian national flag. 

Nibali Specialized TdF 7.JPG

Vincenzo Nibali rides for Astana, a team which is sponsored by Specialized, but that’s a Fizik Antares saddle minus the decals. Nibali used Fizik saddles when he was at former team Liquigas, and he has stuck with them.

Peter Sagan Specialized Venge TdF 16.JPG

This is Peter Sagan’s Prologo Scratch 2. The stage two winner and race leader has his name printed on there in a few places along with an angular logo created from his initials. 

purito saddle.JPG

Purito is the nickname of Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez, which is the Spanish name for a little cigar, hence the picture on the far side of his Selle Italia saddle.

Check out our saddle reviews here. 

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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