After she rode away from her GC rivals to win Saturday’s Queen Stage 7 of the Tour de France Femmes and take the race lead, Annemiek van Vleuten’s bike and equipment sponsors decorated her bikes in the colour of Le Maillot Jaune.
Well, two of her bikes, actually: the Dutch legend’s main bike was fully coated in yellow, while the black Canyon Aeroad CFR she finished on had more understated yellow touches. More on this later.
This was one of six bike swaps van Vleuten underwent on the final stage 8 due to mechanical and sizing issues. Luck was also against her earlier in the race as, suffering from a stomach bug, she endured the opening days.
But here’s the bike van Vleuten pedalled to a near-four-minute GC victory and two mountain stage wins, including up the 25 per cent gravel gradient of La Super Planche des Belles Filles.
Despite the release of the 2023 Canyon Ultimate, the brand’s lightweight race bike, van Vleuten stuck with the brand’s aero road bike for the duration of the race. The weight penalty didn’t appear to hinder her on hills.
However, weight-saving measures on her Aeroad CFR may mean it’s near the UCI’s 6.8kg-minimum limit. The thinking behind switching to the more sparsely painted black Aeroad ahead of the final climbs was in order to save weight, according to her team.
In fact, the team leader’s standard bike is already different from her teammates’ bikes. Canyon has stripped off much of the Movistar blue paint, leaving a plainer carbon frame with stickers.