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by Dave Rome
January 17, 2019
Photography by David Rome
TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
While it’s often the new bikes of the WorldTour that garner the most attention, it’s the shoes and accessories that offer the most variance and opportunity for personalisation.
With a handful of new helmets, shoes and small items seen in use for the start of the season, this gallery wraps up many of the tech highlights we’ve spotted at the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under.
In this post, you’ll find prototype footwear from Specialized, Rapha and Fizik, along with a few special items for national champions and some shots of an as-yet-unreleased groupset from SRAM (…but shh, let’s keep that hush-hush).
We’re excited to learn more about these. They appear to be a new super-light and breathable climbing shoe from Specialized. We’ll call them the Sub7 for now.
Another angle of the assumed Sub7. A single Boa sits centrally over the tongue.
I photographed Sunweb’s new S5 for the Bikes of the WorldTour round-up, but the team’s R5s are equally as photogenic.
Built on a latex tube, the Continental Competition Pro Ltd (team edition only) tubulars have long been a popular pick amongst the pros. Interestingly, the tread pattern is now smooth in the centre – previously they featured a file tread across the whole surface.
Defending Santos Tour Down Under winner, Daryl Impey, is wearing his national champion colours with pride. These Scott shoes look lekker, bru.
Impey staying in the air-conditioned van for as long as possible prior to the start of stage one. Adelaide is extremely hot this time of year.
Italian sprint sensation Elia Viviani uses custom DMT shoes to celebrate his national stripes.
The first race of the 2019 WorldTour season also means a few panicked last minute adjustments at the start line.
Some Movistar riders are wearing what appears to be a prototype Fizik shoe. The shoe looks exactly like the new R5 Tempo PowerStrap, but unike that budget shoe, this one features a carbon sole and a construction that’s made for pro racing.
Movistar riders seem to have plenty of options at their disposal with Fizik’s shoe range, including the Infinito R1 Knit.
Not a brand you hear too much of, the consumer-direct FLR F-XX II shoes are found on the feet of a few AG2R La-Mondiale riders.
Lithuanian national champion Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R) proudly wearing this custom coloured Ekoi helmet.
Team CCC has a close technical partnership with Giant bikes which expands to helmets, too.
Dimension Data is in Giro helmets for 2019, and the hot weather has riders reaching for the Aether MIPS.
These are perhaps some of the rarest shoes in the entire WorldTour (after Adam Hansen’s home-made slippers). They’re Berk Composite Sitos which are claimed to weigh just 350g for the pair. From what we can tell, the company has ceased production and is now focussed on saddles.
Bryton joins the WorldTour with its sponsorship of Deceuninck–Quick-Step. The team use Rider 450 units and Shimano Dura-Ace power meters.
Groupama-FDJ riders are also using Giro helmets in 2019. The criterium before the main event saw the Vanquish aero helmet brought into duty.
Young Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan has ridden Bont shoes for almost his entire cycling career, but that’s changed in 2019 with a team move.
Ever seen how low Caleb Ewan gets when he’s racing for the line? A bar position like this certainly helps.
Adelaide is hot this time of year, with ice vests a common sight at stage starts. I’m not usually one to lust after team kit, but I’d certainly put my hand up for one of these during the current heatwave. And speaking with other teams, they would too.
Ice vests are only good before or after the stage. So how do riders stay cool during the stage? Well, dousing themselves in water is one way. Or if you’re Bora-Hansgrohe, you have pantihose stuffed with ice.
KOO sunglasses (the eyewear arm of Kask helmets) are sponsoring Trek-Segafredo in 2019. Here’s US rider Peter Stetina rocking the look.
Lazer also launched a new helmet at the Santos Tour Down Under. The aero-focussed Bullet 2.0 claims to offer improved ventilation and a few fancy features over the original.
UAE-Team Emirates rider Sven Erik Bystrøm has a great custom pair of Mavic Cosmic Ultimate shoes. Note the graphics on the Mavic logo. Sharp-eyed observers may also spot that he’s running Look’s second-tier Keo 2 Max pedals instead of the company’s range-topping Keo Blades; the cheaper model’s tension adjustment makes them a reasonably common sight in the peloton.
The WorldTour is always filled with a mass of bikes. And these are just a few of the spares.
It’s common to see a few slightly more modest component choices on the spares bikes sitting atop the team car roofs. For example, a number of teams don’t bother with powermeters on the spare bikes.
Northwave is providing its new Extreme Pro footwear to the entire Astana team for 2019. More importantly, how amazing (and tasteful) is that soft bag?
Even WorldTour teams don’t have endless budgets or access to the latest and greatest products. Many Groupama-FDJ bikes were still using older 9000-series SRMs.
Peter Sagan, Jay McCarthy and Oscar Gatto all rode aluminium Specialized Allez Sprint Disc bikes in the opening criterium. Interestingly, Gatto has continued to ride his in the main event.
Sagan continues to ride his own “Sagan Collection” bike as first seen at the 2018 Tour de France.
Peter Sagan is wearing his usual S-Works 7 with gold Boa dials. Moments later two helpers came by and tightened them for him (just joking, the man ties his own shoes).
Jumbo-Visma will no longer be using Pioneer power meters, but the Dutch squad continue with the company’s head units. Pictured is the new CA-600 GPS. Judging by that little bit of screen rash and the tether cord, the mount is a work in progress.
Launched at the Santos Tour Down Under, POC’s new Ventral Air aims to bring the benefits of the Octal and Ventral together.
Looking to add a personal touch to your road shoes? These sole stickers will do just that, and everyone is sure to see them when you’ve got your legs crossed at the cafe.
Lachlan Morton has long raced in Rapha shoes. This laced prototype is apparently Rapha’s own product and isn’t produced by Giro like previous models. Morton has already put a few months of use into his.
There’s just something about the Bahrain-Merida colour-scheme that pops. This Rudy Project lid was just begging to be photographed.
Sagan continues to run non-sponsor-correct Zipp stems on a number of his bikes. The assumption was that he does this for the stiffness it offers, but a little birdie tells us it’s more about the somewhat rare 12-degree angle it offers.
A limited edition colourway of the Shimano Sphyre RC901 is seen on the feet of most Jumbo-Visma riders. We’re not quite sure when (or if) these will become available for purchase.
As found on the bikes of Team Sunweb, the new Sigma ROX 12 GPS is a large device that’s impressively slim. Coincidentally, it also looks like an old smartphone.
A battered Michael Mørkøv of Deceuninck–Quick-Step is one of the riders wearing the “Down Under LTD” collection.
Mørkøv was limping around in obvious pain prior to stage one, but that didn’t stop him from pedalling 129km in the heat. They’re a tough bunch.
Specialized Australia have a limited edition range of helmets, shoes, socks and even saddles to celebrate the Tour Down Under. A few riders are wearing the special shoes and helmets.
Unlike the Grand Tours, the Santos Tour Down Under isn’t a big enough race to warrant brands creating classification-leader gear. However, sometimes it’s easy to celebrate – especially when it’s just polka dots. Young Australian rider Jason Lea of the UniSA-Australia team will be wearing this stickered helmet on stage three to match his mountains classification jersey.
Look hard enough and you’ll eventually find non-sponsor-correct products in use.
SRAM’s yet-to-be-released Red eTap 12-speed is at the Santos Tour Down Under in a big way. They’re not happy about photographers getting too close.
The SRAM logos are covered up on most Katusha-Alpecin and Trek-Segafredo team bikes, but not all.
Previously found on the bikes of Team Sky, you’ll now find the Stages Cycling power meters hiding out on UAE-Team Emirates bikes, fitted to Campagnolo cranks.
Both Deceuninck–Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe mechanics were seen setting up tubeless wheels. Viviani raced them at the opening criterium (which he crashed out of), but we haven’t spotted them being raced since.
Swiss national champion Steve Morabito (Groupama – FDJ) wears a lovely pair of custom DMT shoes.
All the team car racks are designed for standard quick release wheels. A little careful bending and some clever adaptors solves the problem for where discs and thru-axles are concerned.
Many of the teams running disc brakes are carrying spare wheels on existing roof racks with these axle adaptors. They’re certainly slower to use, but the racks only ever hold the last-resort spares; the more immediate spares are kept in the back seat with the mechanic.
It wouldn’t be a shoe-heavy tech gallery without a shot of Adam Hansen’s Hanseeno shoes. This pair is noticeably lacking any kind of aesthetic enhancement.
Katusha has gone disc-only for 2019. So far, we’ve only seen the team riding either the 303 Firecrest Disc or 454 NSW Disc wheels – both in tubular, of course.