While many teams use the Tour de France to showcase new bikes, all recognise that it would be madness to go into the race on completely untested kit.
The Route du Sud, held in the South of France over four days, is one of the very last races in the build-up to the Tour. It’s an opportunity for teams and riders to finalise their equipment and to get a measure of their form before embarking on three gruelling weeks of racing. For journalists, it’s a chance to spot exciting new things before they’ve officially been unveiled.
WorldTour team Movistar is home to GC contender and king of the game face Nairo Quintana. It’s sponsored by Canyon, and while some riders were on the slick Aeroad CF SLX, the Colombian climber’s bike is something new – a revised version of the ultra-light Ultimate CF SLX.
We don’t have specifics yet, but there are at least a couple of visible changes compared with the previous version. The seatstays start slightly further forward and are less blended in at the seat cluster, and if our eyes aren’t deceiving us, the fork is wider at the crown. (It’s safe to say that Canyon will claim this to be lighter, stiffer and more comfortable, because bike industry…)
Certified badass nairo quintana looks utterly unperturbed on the start line: certified badass nairo quintana looks utterly unperturbed on the start line Matthew Allen / Immediate Media
Quintana is a diminutive chap at just 167cm (5ft 6in) and his frame looks tiny alongside those of much of the peloton. The bike is kitted out with a full Campagnolo EPS groupset, along with matching Bora Ultra 50mm carbon tubular wheels. Aside from its small size, the bike’s other distinctive feature is Quintana’s custom Power2Max power meter spider, which celebrates his 2014 Giro d’Italia win.
We’re attending the launch of this bike so we’ll be able to bring you more details imminently, but in the meantime, feast your eyes on the gallery above.