According to Wikipedia, “Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world.” For time trial and aero nerds, though, Christmas falls on
Tour de France time trial day and is a celebration of all things wind-cheating.
While there are plenty of other days of praise for the aero faithful throughout the season, the TdF time trial is a celebration like no other with all the latest tech gifts wheeled out and sponsor correct equipment sacrificed for even the tiniest of wattage savings.
We went on a pilgrimage to the team paddock parish in search of this year’s offerings.
If time trial day is like Christmas day, the Ineos Grenadiers must be some cycling equivalent of Father Christmas. The British team went all-in on celebrating the 2022 Tour de France time trial day with a host of marginal gains. While we have already seen Pinarello’s new Bolide F TT bike, the team offered up a host of new gifts. Stunning paint jobs like this red and chrome offering for Adam Yates catch the eye, but look closer and we can see Yates also brought gifts of rubber in the form of the new Continental GP 5000 TT TdF tyre and carbon with a AeroCoach ARC Dual chainring, Princeton CarbonWorks tri-spoke, and new elbow rests.
Yate’s forearm supports are huge and presumably help him maintain his aero position by supporting plenty of his forearm and offering a sidewall to push against.
This tri spoke was stickered up for reigning time trial world champions Fillipo Ganna, but the time trial superstar decided not to use it. He had rolled out for the recon on the new wheel equipped with the new Continental GP 5000 TT, but opted for a deep rim wheel for the TT. We spotted this wheel sitting by the team bus with what appears to be a puncture. Interesting, given Ganna also punctured on the same new tyre in the actual time trial on a different wheel. Two rides, two punctures? We had also heard the new wheel was to feature an aero shaped hub axle/end cap à la the aero end caps banned by the UCI last season.
However, on the day the Ineos riders using the new tri-spoke rolled on standard round axles. Speaking with the team, we were told this was a precautionary measure. Although they are confident their new aero axles are structural, the team didn’t want any UCI headaches on day one and so instead opted to run these round axles.
The team had a new aero road helmet and this new visor, as reported yesterday.
Geraint Thomas had this radio pocket stitched into the front of his skinsuit. Moving the radio to the front is thought to be slightly more aerodynamic than having the radio sticking up on the riders back. In hindsight, the radio position made no difference for Thomas, who raced the time trial in a gilet.
The Ineos Grenadiers had a plethora of kit and equipment and post race tidy up was like something from the Formula 1 paddock. The team has specific boxes for each piece of equipment to help with general organisation and assembly at the next time trial stage.
Ice bath anyone?
Adam Yates has removed the Sidi retention system from his Sidi Shot 2 shoes.
A closer look at that new Continental speed-focused tyre, more details here.
Potato flavoured gel? Like many riders, Tom Skujins warmed up in an ice vest to maintain stable core temperature.
The vests are filled with ice.
Is this the coolest bike in the TdF paddock? A Paris-Roubaix 2021 Domane with flat bars, flat pedals and a power meter.
Deep carbon rims with Pirelli gravel tyres.
And SRAM’s new wireless Etap AXS blips.
Bauke Mollema had his first outing in his new Netherlands national champion skinsuit.
Big chainrings were the order of the day. A 58 here on one of the Trek Speed Concept.
With all the fuss over EF’s new kit, I for one hadn’t heard about the proper story here… pink Wahoo Kickr trainers.
As is often the case, British brand AeroCoach had a presence up and down the paddock. Mattheiu van der Poel raced with a Aeox Titan 100mm deep front wheel.
Kasper Asgreen also opted for a Titan wheel upfront.
Team DSM were using Aerocoach wheels last season, but we spotted this unidentified aero wheel at the team truck a few days ago.
Closer inspection today suggests this is a new time trial specific wheel from Vision.
Team DSM were racing on the new Scott Plasma 7 time trial bike, still no word from Scott on the new time trial bike we first spotted at the Giro back in May.
The new bike houses the Di2 junction box in the bottom bracket shell.
Mike Woods was racing on a Factor Hanzo which was quietly officially announced earlier this week.
Interestingly, Woods likes both time trial and sprint shifters on the extensions. We checked and both sets of shifters operate the rear derailleur.
Woods raced with a 58 tooth chainring…
And 165mm cranks. Woods rides with 170mm cranks on his road bike, but opts for shorter 165mm crank arms on his TT bike to help with riding in the time trial position. The shorter cranks help riders maintain a more open hip angle as the top dead centre pedal position is lower than with longer cranks.
CeramicSpeed sponsored teams are riding with an Aero OSPW adorned with the Danish flag celebrating CeramicSpeed’s Danish heritage during the stages in Denmark. Israel-Premier Tech riders raced the time trial with a wax coated chain and Black Inc’s new Zero disc.
The Jumbo-Visma Cervlo P5 time trial bikes featured a new Reserve 77 aero wheel.
The Specialized-equipped teams all raced with a “Time Trial” version of the Turbo Cotton tyre. Turbo Cottons with the “Time Trial” graphic first appeared during the Tour in 2019, but Specialized has yet to officially announce the tyre and we haven’t seen it commercially available.
Some Specialized-equipped teams had these grippy looking aero extensions.
This is a close up of Mikkel Honoré’s extensions.
Honoré also with a waxed chain.
Lotto-Soudal are racing with last year’s Campagnolo equipped Ridley Deans.
The Ridley Dean is just about compatible with Caleb Ewan’s saddle height.