In his first Tour de France, American Taylor Phinney placed 12th and 17th in the race's two time trials aboard a Cannondale Slice. Perhaps more impressively, he fought his way into the break on stage 2 and claimed the polka-dot climber's jersey for a day. Somewhat curiously, his Slice TT bike is equipped with aero Mavic wheels that can work with rim and disc brakes.
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Like other WorldTour teams, Cannondale-Drapac has been experimenting with disc-brake bikes in races this year. Phinney's teammate Alberto Bettiol made history at the start of the race, becoming the first rider to race a Tour time trial on a disc-brake machine. Phinney also raced disc-ready wheels in the time trials — but on a rim-brake bike.
For Mavic, sponsoring Cannondale presented a logistical challenge: how to supply a full complement of aero, climbing, cobbles and time trial wheels for both rim- and disc-brake bikes. For the time trials, Mavic opted to go for some wheels that could work for both.
"When you're trying to support the team during this transition between rim and disc, it is impossible to supply a full season's worth of wheels for both options," said Mavic brand manager Chad Moore. "So, we maximize efficiencies where we can when there is no impact on performance. They can easily run those TT wheels with or without rotors to work on both types of bikes."
The Centerlock hubs are the easiest giveaway that the wheels are ready for discs, but the front wheel's spoke lacing is a marker, too.
Phinney and at least a few other of his Cannondale teammates also raced on prototype clinchers that Moore said were "very fast and very grippy." World time trial champion Tony Martin and other top riders have used clinchers in the past, as they can be made with lower rolling resistance than stock tubulars.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Phinney's Cannondale Slice, and be sure to visit Cyclingnews.com for complete coverage of the 2017 Tour de France.