Alberto Bettiol won't win the opening time trial of the Tour de France, but he could make history as the first rider to race a Tour TT on disc brakes with his Cannondale Super Slice.
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While hydraulic systems are the standard for top-end disc braking for road and mountain bikes, Cannondale's Super Slice bikes use mechanical discs. The reason is fairly straightforward, Cannondale mechanics say: Shimano does not yet make a hydraulic lever for TT bikes.
Bettiol will likely be the only Cannondale rider on the disc-equipped Super Slice; the rest of his teammates will be on the lighter rim-brake Slice models, Cannondale mechanics said.
Curiously, some of those racing Slice bikes have Mavic disc rim-brake wheels with disc-brake hubs. Mavic supplied the team with rim-brake and disc-brake wheels, including a few clincher wheels (instead of the traditional tubulars), because Mavic has a new prototype clincher tire that is claims to be fast and grippy.
While the extra weight of the mechanical disc set-up won't help Bettiol in the Tour de France stage 1 time trial, he does have something going for him: A sticker of a little pizza slice wearing a heroic red cape hides on the back of his Super Slice fork. (Get it?)
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Bettiol's Super Slice.