Tour de France tech: Special Sidis for Sagan

Plus built in saddle grip, new SwissStop pads, more on Wilier's Cento 1 SR

Special Sidis for Peter Sagan

Burgeoning superstar Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) is but 22 years old but the Slovakian talent has already bagged three stage victories in his first Tour de France – plus a pair of special Ergo 3 shoes from Sidi to boot.

Sidi America brand manager Sara Ecclesine wouldn't reveal any specific details on Sagan's new footwear – "The guys are always working on something," she said – but they're clearly an evolution of Sidi's long standing Tecno 2 reel-and-cable system. While current Sidi shoes use the system only for the middle closure of select top-end models, Sagan's shoes features it throughout. One reel secures the main strap while a second unit crisscrosses the midsection and forefoot.

It's difficult to say if the switch yields any reduction in weight (something Sidi doesn't usually target) but we expect the slimmer cables to provide a slightly more compliant fit and improved breathability, not to mention a sleeker appearance without any excess strap hanging below the buckle.

There's no word yet on whether Sagan's shoes will be put into production.

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Video: Sidi Ergo 3 Liquigas shoes

Built-in saddle grip for Tony Martin

The UCI recently outlawed the use of add-on friction material to saddles but Specialized has been quick to react with a novel S-Works Romin saddle model with a remarkable grippy surface built right into the midsection and nose. The material feels moderately rubberized but the real secret to its tackiness is the texture, which mimics gecko feet with its multitude of tiny 'hairs'.

We weren't able to pedal on the new saddle ourselves but it's clear that a rider's rear end would be firmly planted atop one with virtually no chance of slippage – just the thing for time trials. It's unclear at this point how the surface and the associated stitching would affect wear on a rider's shorts but we'll find out soon enough. Also as per UCI rules, Specialized is required to release the saddle – spotted on Tony Martin's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4 – within nine months of its first use in competition.

SwissStop's new Black Prince pads for carbon fiber

Several riders at the Tour de France including Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan-Trek) and select members of the Vacansoleil-DCM are using new carbon-specific brake pads from SwissStop. According to SwissStop's Christian Heule, the new 'Black Prince' model improves on the current Yellow King's wet braking performance by 30 percent while also lending better lever feel and overall power.

"Modulation is as easy as on alloy rims," he told BikeRadar.

SwissStop will officially debut the new pads later this summer at the Eurobike trade show.

Wilier Triestina releases official information on the new Cento 1 SR

We speculated several days ago that Wilier Triestina was introducing a new 'Super Rigida' model to supplement the current Cento 1 SL and Zero.7 models but as it turns out, the Cento 1 SR will replace the Cento 1 range entirely for 2013 according to new information sent to BikeRadar from the company's Italian and US press agencies.

Wilier Triestina intends the Cento 1 SR to be a more balanced blend of stiffness, comfort, and weight while the Zero.7 will remain the lightest chassis in the range. Wilier Triestina confirmed the BB386 Evo bottom bracket shell and tapered front end, both of which afford enormous increases in tubing cross-section diameters relative to the current Cento 1's slimmer and more rounded forms.

Kamm tail shaping is used for the fork blades and integrated seat mast in an effort to reduce aerodynamic drag – Wilier Triestina offers no specific numerical claims, however – and the new bike will be available in six sizes and up to six colors with limited availability starting later this month. Claimed frame weight is 990g.

Wilier Triestina will offer the new Cento 1 SR in multiple color schemes, including this black, white, and green setup.

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