Custom painted bikes for major events are nothing new in professional cycling and this year's Giro d'Italia has been no exception – in fact, three of the top 10 finishers in Stage 1 crossed the line aboard bespoke finishes.
New maglia rosa wearer Cadel Evans (BMC) rode on a black-and-white BMC Team Machine SLR01 decorated with rainbow stripes across the top tube, down tube, seat tube and chainstays to celebrate his status as UCI road world champion. Adding to the theme was a specially decorated Easton EC90 front wheel with a white background and rainbow highlights.
In typical BMC fashion, one half of the finishing tape on the bars bore the Swiss flag while the other sported the US stars and stripes – but so as not to forget Evans' home country, his Elite bottle cages were emblazoned with flags from his native Australia.
Cadel Evans's rainbow stripe BMC
Columbia-HTC sprinter Andre Greipel had hoped for the win on Sunday and came close, just three spots behind winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions). Team sponsors Scott at least made sure the big German 'gorilla' was aesthetically prepared with a custom-painted Addict to go along with his nickname.
A menacing primate with veritable daggers for canines was depicted on the head tube while the rest of the mostly black frame featured a jungle theme. Like fellow sprinter Mark Cavendish, Greipel opted for PRO's ultra-stiff Vibe Track carbon stem but went one step further with tied-and-soldered non-driveside spokes on his rear wheel. Greipel's rig was also outfitted with Shimano's electronic Dura-Ace Di2 group in contrast to Cav's preferred mechanical setup.
Andre Greipel (Columbia-HTC) is using this custom painted Scott Addict in this year's Giro
Just behind Greipel was Italian superstar Alessandro Petacchi, who may be looking to regain his winning ways but still retains his 'Ale Jet' moniker. Lampre-Farnese Vini team sponsors Wilier provided Petacchi with a rather serious looking version of their top-end Cento 1 Superleggera, dressed in raw clear-coated carbon with bright neon green graphics.
Equipment suppliers Fulcrum Racing and Selle San Marco got into the game as well with a pair of similarly coloured Racing Speed XLR deep-section carbon tubulars and a bright neon green Regale saddle with carbon rails.
Wilier provided sprinter Alessandro Petacchi with this boldly finished Cento 1 Superleggera
Colnago-CSF Inox sprinter Sacha Modolo rounded out the day's top 10 aboard his new Colnago C59, the latest lugged carbon fibre road machine to come out of Cambiago. Colnago were tight-lipped on details, but the frame's more aggressive tube shaping suggests it likely surpasses the current EPS in terms of overall stiffness while perhaps being lighter as well – putting it at less than 950g or so.
Features include a slightly sloping geometry and tapered front end like on the EPS but much more rectangular chainstays matched to smaller-looking seatstays, plus internal cable routing. Modolo's frame was new on the outside as well and decorated to match his 'Cannibal' nickname. Colnago's artistic depiction naturally featured bristling musculature and some wild, angry-looking hair but in homage to the Giro d'Italia, it was also wearing pink skivvies and ankle bands.
Multi-sided tubing is featured on Sacha Modolo's (Colnago-CSF Inox) new Colnago C59
Michele Scarponi & Stefano Garzelli
Fellow Italians Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni) and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) weren't about to be left out, and both arrived in Amsterdam with specially painted machines – Scarponi with a relatively austere Guerciotti and Garzelli with a much flashier shiny silver Bottechia complete with matching bar tape.
Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni captain Michele Scarponi has this black-and-gold machine
Stefano Garzelli's (Acqua & Sapone) special Bottechia definitely stands out
This year's Giro d'Italia also marks the Grand Tour return of love-him-or-hate-him Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov, who finished the first road stage safely in the main bunch three seconds behind Farrar. His team sponsors' 'welcome back' present? A fantastically finished Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3.
'Vino' has long championed his Kazakh pride and not surprisingly, his SL3 is suitably decorated with Kazakh colours, symbols and graphics. Up on the head tube is a soaring Steppe Eagle apparently about to grasp its next meal while a bright golden sun adorns the fork blades. Further back, ornate Kazakh-inspired patterns grace the seat cluster, the dropouts are dressed in more gold and the midsection of the bike is awash with blue and white flames.
The gold eagle on Alexandre Vinokourov's (Astana) bike looks ready to pick up its next meal