The 2023 Tour Down Under kicked off the WorldTour racing season last night with a prologue time trial.
Given the impractical logistics and cost implications of shipping dedicated time trial bikes halfway around the world for a single, 5.5km stage, the race organisers decided to make it a road bike-only affair.
As you might imagine, this led to some unusual tech choices.
From disc wheels on road bikes, to big aero helmets, narrow handlebars and aggressively turned-in brake levers, let’s take a look at some of the tricks riders used to go as fast as possible on a road bike . Disc-brake disc wheels on road bikes and other time trial kit
Though usually the reserve of time trial bikes, most riders used solid rear-disc wheels on their team-issue aero road bikes for this prologue.
With the parcours being essentially pan-flat, weight was evidently not a concern and most riders simply chose the most aerodynamic setup possible (within the constraints of what their teams were willing to send to Australia).
Many riders also ran time trial-specific front wheels.Ethan Hayter, as well as a number of his Team Ineos Grenadiers teammates, used the Princeton Mach 7580 TS front wheel – a tri-spoke carbon wheel first spotted at the 2022 Tour de France on Filippo Ganna’s Pinarello Bolide F time trial bike .As expected, every rider we saw was wearing a skinsuit and most also wore aero socks or overshoes.Surprisingly, though, not everyone opted for a time trial-specific helmet.While the distinctively oversized Specialized S-Works TT5 was […]