This article first appeared on Cyclingnews.
The Vuelta a San Juan has attracted some of the biggest teams in the peloton but also much smaller Continental and national teams from across South America, creating a contrast in ability and equipment.
Many of the WorldTour teams have transitioned to disc brakes during the winter and have the best electronic groupsets from Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo. In contrast, the riders in the smaller teams are often on different bike brands and components, with some frames showing years of use.
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Cyclingnews wandered through the team parking before stage 2 to look at some of the bikes and tech.
A few Bora-Hansgrohe riders used an orange-coloured version in Australia, but here in San Juan, the Deceuninck-QuickStep riders have a more classic-looking black and white version.
The Belgian team are all riding on disc brakes, with the riders opting for the Venge model on the early stages. We spotted a single Tarmac disc bike and that was reserved for Julian Alaphilippe, perhaps for the key mountain stage to Alto Colorado.
Specialized recently confirmed to Cyclingnews that both its sponsored teams — Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe — will ride exclusively on disc brake bikes in 2019.
Bora-Hansgrohe has elegant green, white and black Specialized bikes for 2019, but Peter Sagan has his own colour-scheme from his Sagan Collection, which was launched last summer.
Androni Giocattoli is riding Bottecchia bikes and water sponsor Lauretana has its logo on transparent bidons that look a lot like bottles of water. Being transparent means the riders can quickly see which bidon contains water and which an energy drink. There is no longer a need for an X or S to indicate the energy drink.
Winner Anacona of Movistar was proud to be riding the new Campagnolo 12-speed Super Record EPS gears and also had a stunning power meter crankset from Power2Max.
Fernando Gaviria and his new UAE Team Emirates teammates are all riding matt black Colnago frames and, somewhat surprisingly, they have caliper brakes.
Some were using the Deda Alanera one-piece carbon fibre cockpits, but Gaviria opted for a more robust Deda 35 stem that, like many bikes in the early season, still has some steerer tube emerging for possible changes in bar height.
The lower teams
The Pro Continental teams are a step down from the WorldTour level and their kit showed it. The Israel Cycling Academy is riding on De Rosa bikes and Conor Dunne has a special white, orange and green colour scheme for his custom made bike to highlight his Irish national road race champion standings.
The Caja Rural team is also using De Rosa frames and has stunning green versions of the Protos model. Surprisingly, they were fitted with Shimano Ultegra groupsets rather than Dura-Ace.
Both the Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia and Sporting Tavira teams are using KTM bikes from Austria. The Revelator Lisse model has obtuse angels and chunky tube shapes that look to be designed to give an aerodynamic edge.
Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia is using the KTM frame with SRAM components, but several riders were still using older Shimano Dura-Ace 9000-series cranksets.
The Italian Beltrami Tsa Hoppla Continental team had grey Argon 18 disc-brake bikes fitted with Zipp wheels and SRAM red components. However its equals in South America were not so well equipped, with several teams on different bikes and a multitude of older components and wheels that will leave their mechanics with a headache.
We saw a rider on Lightweight carbon wheels, Shimano Ultegra derailleurs and a Shimano 105 crankset, and another rider on a bike that seemed to have been handed down from the former Geox team.
One Scott bike looked like it had been involved in several crashes, while the Start Cycling Team from Bolivia had Aster frames from Taiwan, equipped with older Shimano Dura-Ace cranks and the rarely seen Microshift gears.
A rider from the Sel Brasil team had a florescent green Dynatek frame that was as outlandish as it was ugly. A rider with the Cuban national team was using a Shimano bike provided by the neutral service provider of the race. Sometimes you just have to use what you are given and be grateful.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a full look at the tech on display at the Vuelta a San Juan.