Orbea launched the new Orca last week and it’s making its top-flight racing debut under Ceratizit-WNT riders at the 2023 Tour de France Femmes.
The new Orbea Orca prioritises climbing ability and handling prowess over out-and-out aero performance, in a move contrary to the popular one-bike-to-rule-them-all formula.
The team has seen some success to date in the race, with French road time trial champion Cedrine Kerbaol wearing the white jersey for the youth classification since the start of stage two.
Sandra Alonso has also scored a top-ten stage finish so far, as the team hunts for opportunities to factor at the front of the field while supporting Kerbaol in her general classification aspirations.
Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain with FSA power meter crankset
The crankset features all-carbon crank arms, with semi-compact 52/36-tooth rings.
This is paired with an 11-30 tooth cassette, which offers plenty of range for the rolling parcours of the Tour de France Femme’s opening stages. We expect riders will swap to something with increased range once the race hits the mountains.
Up front, the Dura-Ace lever hoods have been angled inwards quite sharply in a bid to improve Alanso’s aerodynamic performance.
Orbea and Prologo contact points
Alonso has chosen to use Orbea’s OC aero carbon handlebar (as opposed to the standard round OC bar most Orcas will be sold with).
This is paired with an OC alloy stem. This features an integrated out-front computer mount set up to run the team’s Wahoo bike computers.
Alonso also runs Orbea’s setback carbon seatpost, with the Prologo Dimension Nack saddle fitted relatively far forward on its rails.
Alonso uses Speedplay pedals, with parent brand Wahoo listed as an official team sponsor.
In-house rolling stock
Until recently, the team has used Vision Metron wheels. That has changed since the start of this year’s Tour de France Femmes, with new Oquo wheels taking centre stage.
The Oquo brand is the house brand of Orbea.
Alonso has opted for the mid-range RP 35 TEAM wheelset.
We’re not sure why the team wouldn’t opt for the top-of-the-range LTD spec wheels, which feature upgraded Zipp Cognition hubs (the rims are the same on both models).
If her choice is limited to the TEAM-spec wheels, she’ll be locked into either these 35mm models or 45mm alternatives.
Should the LTD-spec wheels be hidden away in the team truck, riders have the choice of 35, 45 or 57mm deep rims.
The wheels are set up tubeless with 700x28c Vittoria Corsa Pro TLR tyres. These have a 320TPI (thread-per-inch) cotton casing.
The personal touch
Alonso’s obligatory name sticker is fitted to the upper section of the driveside seat stay, with transponders fitted to the underside of the saddle and taped to the right fork leg.
Although the bike doesn’t feature a customised paint job, Alonso has provided herself with a Spanish slogan in Spanish on her top tube, which reads “Vamos Bebita!!! Y de verdad, que es muy importante!!!” (“Come on baby!!! And really, that is very important!!!”, according to our own Spanish-speaking Pete Sampson).
Whether this is a message from a loved one, or simply some positive self-talk, is unclear. But if it works for her, then it’s a thumbs up from us.