I had some grand plans for gaining access to the bikes used at the World Championships and bringing you an in-depth look into the bikes of the stars and those you may not have heard of. Unfortunately, plans don’t always work out.
The relatively small size of Wollongong and surrounding towns pushed hotel and rental prices higher than any of the nearby hills. So in turn, several teams were forced to get creative with where they stayed and trained. Several national teams stayed in Wollongong itself, across a broad spread of hotels, serviced apartments, and caravan parks. Some, such as the Belgians and Danes, were just a short drive along the coast. The Italians and Brits chose seclusion, a good hour’s drive west and up the hill. And then you had the Canadians and a few others who were way back in Sydney, almost an hour and a half north.
Come race day, there were strict media controls for who had access and who didn’t. My press pass wasn’t quite the backstage pass I was used to having, and I was often turned around and away from the bikes by race officials. This isn’t to complain – and hey, at least I had a press pass! – but rather to state why we don’t, as planned, have wonderful tech galleries showing off the bikes of the women’s peloton, the brands you’ve never heard of, the bikes used by the rising stars in the junior categories, and the travelling toolboxes of the race mechanics.
I’ll openly admit there isn’t much cohesion in this gallery. In many ways, it’s a photo dump of ideas I was planning to expand on that didn’t work out. But while it’s somewhat of a random mess, it would be a shame to keep it all to myself.
First stop was a short visit to Team Great Britain. Most of the riders were still out training, but a few of the Elite men’s bikes were available to look at. This Pinarello Dogma F belongs to British rider Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), and was ultimately piloted to 9th in the men’s road race.
The cleanest bartape wrapping in the pro peloton? Ineos Grenadiers mechanics don’t use finishing tape – rather they superglue the end of the tape in place.
Direct-mount hangers remain a popular pick for teams running Shimano drivetrains.
A strong time-trialist, Ethan Hayter is one of many riders to now be riding with tilted brake hoods. Doing so is all about reducing frontal area when in the hoods.
British rider Fred Wright (Team GB / Bahrain-Victorious) has been a consistent threat throughout the season. This is his Merida Reacto.
The masking tape around the rear wheel is a reminder to the team mechanic of a puncture that needs attention.
There were a huge number of new Dura-Ace R9200P power meter cranks floating around amongst the pro riders.
Tubeless tyres were a rather common sight throughout the week. And from what we can tell, both the new men’s and women’s World Champions rode tubeless tyres.
Plenty of riders still have their hoods setup a little lower than where many recreational riders would have theirs.
Fred Wright runs his hoods rather straight.
Yet another direct-mount hanger holding a new Dura-Ace R9250 derailleur.
The Merida Reacto uses a propertairy seatpost with a flex zone.
The Lapierre Xelius SL of British rider Jake Stewart.
Cassettes are getting bigger.
And so are the chainrings. Most pros on new Shimano 12-speed are running 54/40T rings.
Jake Stewart is typically seen in the trade team colours of Groupama – FDJ. He’s signed with the French team for another two years.
While there are plenty of tubeless tyres in use, tubulars are still more common.
One-piece handlebars and stems have quickly become the status-quo at the top level.
All athletes stay with their respective national teams, and their bikes are worked on by mechanics employed by the national team. Jeff Crombie, usually a mechanic for Ineos Grenadiers, was working with the GB Team.
Crombie’s personal tool box is mostly filled with Unior tools (a sponsor of Ineos Grenadiers). There’s a lot of pre-set torque wrenches in this box.
Shimano had booked out a large hotel conference room in the centre of Wollongong to run its Neutral Service from. Pictured here are bikes and spare wheels ready to be packed into the Neutral Service cars. Each basket and stack of bikes represents one car’s worth.
Carrying spare wheels isn’t as simple as it used to be. Within you’ll find rim brake wheels, and a mix of disc brake wheels with both 140 and 160 mm rotors.
Another Unior toolbox of another Ineos Grenadiers team mechanic. This is the box of Matteo Cornacchione who was there for Italy.
More Unior drivers and a handful of preset torque wrenches. The 12 Nm preset is likely used to torque Shimano crank pinch bolts.
I took this photo the day after the Elite individual timetrial. The packaging of Ganna’s special chain was still on the bench.
There’s a lot to take in with this photo. Yes, that’s Ganna in the foreground trying to sort out some fit-related differences between his three timetrial bikes he had in Australia. And yes, the room is filled to the brim with bikes belonging to riders from all of the categories. It was a busy week for mechanics.
Next stop was Team Canada. Worlds was the last race for Canadian rider Leah Kirchmann and her Scott Addict RC. The Team DSM rider has now retired.
The metallic paint of the DSM team bikes is just lovely.
Kirchmann was another rider running turned-in hoods.
German brand Corratec isn’t a name that we get to cover all that much. This particular bike belongs to Canadian junior rider Michael Leonard who just inked a three-year deal with Ineos Grenadiers.
This team bike belongs to an Italian outfit that folded in 2021, and doesn’t match who Leonard rode with for 2022. Instead, the young Canadian has been riding with Italian outfit Team Franco Ballerini Juniores.
Ursus is another name we don’t get to mention too often. The Italian wheel and component company has quite a broad range of product.
It’s absolutely common to find mechanical shifting and exposed cables within the junior ranks.
This was the last World Championships with Junior gearing restrictions.
The Cannondale SuperSix of Canadian Olivia Baril. Baril rides for Italian UCI outfit Valcar – Travel & Service.
Cannondale’s head tube design allows for a regular handlebar and stem to be used.
Just back from training and not yet cleaned. The Elite women’s racer was using 52/36T gearing.
A special thanks to mechanic Zane ‘Free’ Freebairn for handing me an assortment of bikes from Team Canada.
Some of the most used tools sit on the front panel of Freebairn’s Park Tool BX-2.2 tool box.
This homemade tool wallet is used to house Freebairn’s most important tools. It’s what goes in the team car with him, too.
A custom Abbey Crombie and Abbey chain whip to help celebrate wrenching at the Olympics.
This #ToolBoxWars contender belongs to Canadian National Team mechanic Ryan Taylor. Taylor works on everything from Road, Time Trial and Track bikes, and needs to be able to fix whatever comes his way – such demands are not conducive to also having a case that’s light enough for international travel. The safe case is from Canadian company Nanuk, but the interior is wholly custom. Those side panels and the interior organisation are made from recycled carbon fibre sheets from a de-commisioned satellite dish.
The bottom layer are the lesser used bike building tools, safely cut into a piece of foam floor mat.
Arranging to shoot Keegan Swenson’s bike brought us to the headquarters of Team USA. In for its general daily servicing (with mechanic Brandon), this is the Trek-Segafredo team bike belonging to Leah Thomas.
This 7two Velo tool roll belongs to Bora-Hansgrohe mechanic Kevin Grove. Grove was working with Team USA, and had assembled this kit to be a mix of versatile and light. The tool roll is also designed to hang from the back of a car seat (mechanics always sit in the back seat with wheels ready to go).
Grove knew he wanted to pack this small Bosch electric impact driver, but limited weight allowance meant the charger and spare battery had to stay behind. The longevity of a single battery is impressive.
Grove working on the Cervelo Soloist of U23 Team USA rider Colby Simmons. We chatted with Grove about Worlds logistics in the most recent Nerd Alert podcast.
This Team BikeExchange – Jayco Liv Langma belongs to Kristen Faulkner, who represented Team USA in Wollongong.
The Langma is effectively a women’s specific version of the Giant TCR.
The race bike of the better-known Sagan brother, Juraj.
The 2022 Road World Championships was Juraj Sagan’s last race. A hot pizza awaits.
The Pinarello Dogma F of Australian National Road Champion Luke Plapp.
Plapp had his nutrition for the 266.9 km race all mapped out on the stem.
Team staff pause for a moment to see who wins, and then the chaos begins.
I really wish I captured more of the lesser-seen bikes. This is the Carraro Fire 3.2 bike belonging to Ukrainian rider Vitaliy Buts. The Turkish bike brand is the sponsor of the UCI Sakarya BB Pro Team.
It can only be one nation when you see this many team bikes belonging to the Ineos Grenadiers.
South Africa’s Gustav Basson (Continental Team ProTouch) riding past onboard one lovely rim brake-equipped Time Alpe D’Huez 01.
The Aurum Magma of U23 rider Erik Fetter. Fetter was racing for Hungary, but is usually found in the team kit of EOLO-Kometa (Alberto Contador’s team).
You can often tell who the most important team riders are based on the position of the spare bikes on the car. No surprise that France’s Julian Alaphilippe had his second S-Works Tarmac most accessible.
Italy’s Lorenzo Rota on the lighter Cube Litening AIR C:68X option as provided by trade team Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux.
That’s the Worlds, run and won. The end of the Elite men’s road race saw some riders packing up their bikes for flight at the finish. The oversized baggage queue of Sydney airport would have been a pretty miserable place in the 24 hours that followed Worlds.