With Shimano Di2 electric shifting, you can shift wherever you can put a button. Stock, satellite options, however, have thus far been limited to so-called sprint shifters with a short wire length, and the climber switch, which Shimano designed to be operated with the thumb. At the Tour of Flanders, Etixx-Quick Step riders rolled out with four different satellite configurations — plus the standard lever shifters, of course — thanks to some ingenuity from team mechanics.
Iljo Keiss and Stijn Vandenbergh both had sprint shifters on their handlebars almost touching their stems — a position similar to what Shimano proposed with the climber switch, but with much less bulk. To do so requiring splicing wires.
Mechanic Kevin Desmedt told BikeRadar the team added a little wire on each to get the buttons where the riders wanted them.
Matteo Trentin had a stock climber switch — but positioned on the front of his handlebar, for use with the index finger instead of the thumb. He also had sprint shifters in the Shimano-prescribed position just below the hood clamp.
Zdenek Stybar had the Etixx-extended sprint shifters up high and tight on his handlebars, but his faced forwards, like Trentin's climber switch.
Stybar's front-mounted sprint shifters
Notably, all the riders but Trentin and Niki Terpstra used flat-top ergo handlebars. Keiss had the most dramatically shaped bars, the FSA K-Wing Compact.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at the various Di2 configurations, plus other details on the bikes of Belgium's powerhouse squad.
Etixx mechanics spliced wires to extend the sprint shifters to this position