Personalisation is the game throughout the Giro's pro peloton, according to BikeRadar's technical editor James Huang.
Here's his report from Sunday's second stage in Trieste, Italy.
New De Rosa for Danilo Di Luca
Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) set off today with a new De Rosa King 3 RS that is supposedly 15 percent lighter and 18 percent stiffer than the current King 3 by virtue of an upgraded carbon fiber mix and new lay-up schedule.
Based on the current King 3's claimed weight, that would put Di Luca's frame close to the 800g mark though it's unclear at this point when this upgraded model might be available to consumers.
Otherwise, Di Luca's King 3 RS bears close resemblance to its standard King 3 cousin with the same seatmast head, two-piece aluminum dropouts, internal cable routing and smooth lines.
Personalized paint jobs for Simoni and Scarponi
Italian stars Gilberto Simoni and Michele Scarponi ((Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni -Androni Giocattoli) were both treated to custom painted Guerciotti road machines for the 2009 Giro d'italia. In contrast to the team-issue blue and white, Scarponi's rig was resplendent in black, white and gold while Simoni's was an equally bright black, blue and silver metallic.
Gibo's bike was unique in more than just paint, though. His machine also included a tapered steerer tube, press-fit cups for his Campagnolo Ultra-Torque crankset, a more slender integrated seatmast, and one-piece aluminum dropouts. The changes should yield reduced weight relative to his teammates' bikes – a good thing given Simoni's well-known obsession with shaving grams – though the other associated changes likely make it stiffer as well.
Why stop with custom painted bikes? Giro riders go for shoes, too
Piles of riders at this year's centenary Giro d'Italia lined up for the start in Jesolo with custom cycling shoes. In keeping with what can now be considered tradition, Sidi supplied Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) with a special set of Genius 6.6s. Though functionally identical to the stock version, Di Luca's were eminently more visible by virtue of their iridescent blue-and-green color scheme.
Columbia-High Road's Michael Rogers, on the other hand, were decidedly less showy but no less customized being custom molded by fellow Aussie Bont. Rogers's shoes use a carbon fiber sole that wraps up the sides of his feet for better support and also envelopes the heel to form an integrated counter.
Rogers has also opted for laces, not straps, for a more sock-like fit while a tidy cover keeps everything neatly concealed. Finish work appeared impeccable as well and based on prior experience, we're guessing Rogers' shoes are also quite light.
Prologo prototype for Pozzato and lots of personalized saddles
Katusha team saddle sponsor Prologo provided Filippo Pozzato with a new Nago Evo TR prototype saddle to use in this year's Giro. The composite shell is essentially the same as on the current Nago Evo TS but the solid titanium rails have been upgraded to carbon fiber to bring the weight down from 215g to just 171g.
Prologo have also supplied a number of riders with subtly personalized saddles as well with removable rear clips decorated with the flag of each riders' nationality.
Long-time customized saddle supplier fi'zi:k have continued their usual ways as well, most notably for Ivan Basso. Basso lost his mother to cancer and his simply decorated Arione CX bears the image of a single flower out of respect to her memory.
Even Specialized have now gotten into the game though in a decidedly subtle way. Though most of the Quick Step team were still on unmarked Selle San Marco saddles, the ones that were on Specialized Body Geometry models got their names and country flags printed down the middle.
Basso with custom FSA stem
Basso also showed up with a custom stem made just for him by Liquigas sponsor FSA. The new graphics will be featured on the 2010 model year components but the special -10° angle is just for him in order to get just a bit more handlebar drop than the usual -6° but without having to run extra spacers as he would have to do with a -17°.
Aside from the catchy silver finish and SL-K graphics, Basso's custom stem otherwise looks identical to a current OS-115 with its machined shape and carbon fiber faceplate.
Stay tuned for more Giro goodies from Our Man James. Follow BikeRadar's Twitter postings here.