Andre Greipel took the first stage of this year’s Tour of Britain for team Lotto Soudal not on his distinctive red team issue Ridley Noah, which he rode througout the Tour de France, but on an all-white paint job instead.
Making a strong start to the German’s bid to lead the World Championships in Doha for his country, Greipel took to the front with 150 metres to go on Sunday’s 161km Grand Depart stage from Glasgow to Castle Douglas, with Caleb Ewan (Orica-BikeExhange) finishing second.
Well known for its extreme rigidity and aerodynamics, the Noah SL is a perfect machine for a rider of Greipel’s impressive abilities. Other component choices also make it clear that this is a sprinter’s bike –54-tooth chainrings, for instance, are rarely used on road bikes by anyone but the fastest of finishers.
Deda’s oversized 35 bars, with a 35mm diameter instead of industry-standard 32, and matching stem are extra stiff. Greipel also uses the strongest spring possible in his LOOK Keo Blade 2 Ti pedals, rated a 20, in lieu of the 12 or 16 options.
With Greipel, his compatriot Kittel, Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish and other fast men all in attendance at this year’s Tour, only time will tell if Lotto-Soudal’s finisher will do so with his arms raised in victory. But Greipel clearly has a bike that’s up to the task.