Tour de France tech: More custom gear
By James Huang, technical editor | Thursday, July 16, 2009 10.50am
Katusha team sponsor Ridley has provided Filippo Pozzato with this special white, red and green Damocles Pi with custom geometry. James Huang/BikeRadar.com
Katusha's Filippo Pozzato: all Italian, all the time
Italian sprinter and one-day specialist Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) earned the right to don his country's tricolore jersey when he won in Imola just a few weeks ago but in typical fashion he didn't limit the prestigious red, white and green accents to just his clothing.
First up was a commemorative wrapper for his Ridley Damocles Pi – already a custom rig with Pozzato's preferred longer and level top tube, slacker seat tube and shorter head tube, but whose surface is now coated in gleaming white paint with tasteful bits of green and red tossed in.
It's an uncharacteristically subtle treatment for sure – in contrast to the Barza-designed schemes from his days with Liquigas – but one that still gets the point across.
In addition, a boastful 'Veni, Vidi, Vici – MMIX' slogan is applied to the top tube and Elite provide a pair of red and green accented white bottle cages to match.
Pozzato is still searching for his stated goal of a stage win in this year's Tour de France but in the meantime, at least he looks good.
Perfect trifecta for Milram
Milram's Fabian Wegmann could hardly be more German at the moment: he's on a German-registered team, riding a German Focus Izalco bicycle and he's a two-time German national champion on the road. Naturally, the team have provided him with a custom paint scheme to suit.
The changes are decidedly subtle and distinctively tasteful in execution: the standard team livery's light blue panels are traded for white, and there are smatterings of the German national colors on the top tube, seatstays and fork blades.
A bit of additional flair is provided in the form of the all-white FSA Plasma integrated carbon bar and stem but it's otherwise the usual team issue, including a complete SRAM Red group, CarbonSports Lightweight wheels, Speedplay Zero pedals and a Fizik Arione saddle – the ultralight k:1 version earlier in the race but later swapped to a more padded Arione CX for the start of Stage 6.
Bright white FSA Plasma integrated bars adorn the front end of Wegmann's machine
New bikes for Boonen and Devolder plus Bastille Day specials for Chavanel and Pineau
Belgian Quick Step compatriots Tom Boonen and Stijn Devolder also get special machines of their own, though in this case it seems more a matter of bike model than paint scheme.
While many of their team-mates were still aboard Specialized's S-Works Tarmac SL2, Boonen and Devolder were on the company's latest SL3 – touted as being about the same weight as the earlier generation but more rigid at both ends for surer handling. Boonen's bike also features several of his typical setup tricks.
Boonen uses a mix of Campagnolo Record and Super Record
Team mechanics built up the diameter of the drops with short sections of garden hose split lengthwise to provide the three-time Paris-Roubaix winner with a little extra meat to grab onto.
Team mechanics build up the FSA bar diameter with sections of garden hose to give Boonen something more substantial to grip
The extra-long 140mm FSA stem is slammed right atop the headset compression ring as always, and his Roval Rapide SL 45 wheels are shod with handmade FMB road tubulars. Topping it all off is his usual unbadged Selle San Marco Regal saddle.
While many of his peers opt for fancy power meters or GPS-enabled units, Boonen runs a simple (and reliable) wired Cateye Mity 8 computer
In celebration of Bastille Day, Specialized also provided Quick Step Frenchmen Silvain Chavanel and Jérôme Pineau with custom red, white and blue rigs.
Quick Step team sponsors Specialized provided Frenchmen Sylvain Chavanel and Jérôme Pineau with these custom-painted bikes to celebrate Bastille Day
Shoes, shoes and more shoes
As is the case with the bikes, custom footwear is clearly no longer solely the realm of the cycling elite as roughly a quarter of the peloton donned some type of personalised shoes.
Cadel Evans' (Silence-Lotto) signature Gaerne G.Myst shoes are among the most recognisable in the peloton. The kangaroos say 'Australia' but the red, blue and yellow colouring calls attention to his support of the Free Tibet movement
Evans' Silence-Lotto teammate Charlie Wegelius gets a pair of custom Gaernes too
Virtually every major brand was represented, including (but not limited to) Sidi, Specialized, Gaerne, Bont, Diadora and even Nike, who haven't offered a cycling shoe to the public since their split from Trek several years ago but still manage to provide footwear for riders such as Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne).
Nike find room in their production line for a custom green pair for Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC)
Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) has a pair of custom Nike Poggio 4 shoes – long discontinued but apparently still available if you have the right connections
Team-mate Charlie Wegelius also got into the game with a pair of his own, only slightly more subtle in white, purple and yellow and even a clear plastic buckle mounting base that lets more of the colour peek through.
In fact, we're not sure we actually saw a single pair of standard Gaerne shoes in the peloton, as other riders such as Quick Step's Matteo Tosatto and Joan Horrach of Katusha were also so equipped.
Joan Horrach (Katusha) is among the scores of riders in this year's Tour de France with custom footwear
Apparently facilitating the process is Gaerne's new customisation process whereby shoe panels can be quickly and easily printed with unique designs prior to stitching.
In contrast, usually flamboyant Italian sprinter Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) actually toned things down for the Tour with a rather quiet looking pair of Sidi Ergo 2s finished mostly in white with just a hint of the Italian tricolore used for accents.
Filippo Pozzato's (Katusha) custom Sidi shoes pay tribute to his Italian national championship win last month
Similarly, the Diadoras of road world champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) and world time trial champion Bert Grabsch's (Columbia-HTC) Gaernes were nearly all white, too, save for a touch of rainbow. Naturally, all three riders just happened to have socks to match.
Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) celebrates his world championship win in Varese with these custom Diadoras
Other riders such as Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) and Hayden Roulston (Cervélo Test Team) went really personalised with Australian Bont shoes fully custom moulded around their feet while the Rabobank team donned Shimano's flagship model with heat mouldable uppers.
LakeCycling have done the heat moldable thing longer than most though, and the company have been making clear inroads into the upper ranks of the sport with several riders sporting their new CX401 model including Carlos Sastre (Cervélo Test Team).
Lake has provided defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo Test Team) with a custom pair of CX401 shoes
Sastre however got a bit of extra special treatment with a custom pair finished with yellow accents, his name boldly on the side, and even his signature on the sides of the uppers.
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Sastre's Lake CX401 shoes feature a heat moldable upper for a custom fit
Lake also added an extra strap across the top just for Sastre, though company principal Lee Katz admits it isn't really for function and won't be included in production models. According to Katz, it's merely for a more self-serving purpose: logo placement to make them more easily recognisable in the peloton.
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