At a glance Nairo Quintana’s Canyon Ultimate CF SLX is just like the rest of his Movistar teammates’ machines. But upon close inspection, and with the guidance of a team mechanic, a careful eye will spot a delicate texture on the braking surface of his Campagnolo Bora 50 carbon tubular wheelset.
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Designed to improve braking in wet conditions, small semi-circular grooves are cut into the brake track. Quintana likes the added stopping power so much that he plans on using the wheels, of which there are only two pair in the world, in all conditions. The other pair will see action under Alejandro Valverde.
A team mechanic also revealed that the original set was tested in this year’s Giro d’Italia with encouraging results. Just before the start of the Tour, Campagnolo delivered an extra set of the special Bora 50s as well as three pair of Bora 35s with the new brake track for the team to use.
Campagnolo press manager Joshua Riddle was coy when asked about the new wheels.
"Campagnolo is constantly innovating and testing ways to make fantastic products even better," Riddle said. "It is possible that there might be a development product under testing on a given bike under our sponsored teams from time to time. The professional riders are an integral part of our product development process."
It appears that the new brake track treatment doesn’t require a special brake pad as Quintana bike had regular red Campagnolo carbon pads mounted. If the weather turns wet in the mountains, this small advantage could see Quintana and Valverde attacking with abandon on both climbs and descents.