Custom painted bikes for major events are nothing new in professional cycling and this year's Giro d'Italia has been no exception – in fact, three of the top ten finishers in Stage 1 crossed the line aboard bespoke finishes.
New maglia rosa wearer Cadel Evans (BMC) rode today on a black-and-white BMC Team Machine SLR01 decorated with rainbow stripes across the top tube, down tube, seat tube, and chain stays to celebrate his status as current UCI road world champion. Adding to the theme was specially decorated Easton EC90 front wheel with a white background and rainbow highlights.
In typical BMC fashion, one half of the finishing tape on the bars bore the Swiss flag while the other sported the US stars and stripes – but so as not to forget Evans' home country, his Elite bottle cages were emblazoned with his native Australian flags.
Columbia-HTC sprinter Andre Greipel had hoped for the win today and came close, just three spots behind winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions). Team sponsor Scott at least made sure the big German 'gorilla' was aesthetically prepared with a custom-painted Addict to go along with his nickname.
A menacing primate with veritable daggers for canines was depicted on the head tube while the rest of the mostly black frame featured a distinct jungle theme. Like fellow sprinter Mark Cavendish, Greipel opts for PRO's ultra-stiff Vibe Track carbon stem but goes one step further with tied-and-soldered non-driveside spokes on his rear wheel. Greipel's rig is also outfitted with Shimano's electronic Dura-Ace Di2 group in contrast to Cav's preferred mechanical setup.
Just behind Greipel was Italian superstar Alessandro Petacchi, who may still be looking to regain his winning ways but still retains his 'Ale Jet' moniker. Lampre-Farnese Vini team sponsor Wilier provided Petacchi with a rather serious looking version of its top-end Cento 1 Superleggera, dressed in raw clear-coated carbon with bright neon green graphics.
Equipment suppliers Fulcrum Racing and Selle San Marco got into the game as well with a pair of similarly colored Racing Speed XLR deep-section carbon tubulars and a bright neon green Regale saddle with carbon rails.
Colnago-CSF Inox sprinter Sacha Modolo rounded out the day's top ten aboard his brand-new Colnago C59, the latest lugged carbon fiber road machine to come out of Cambiago. Colnago was tight-lipped on details, but the frame's more aggressive tube shaping suggests that it likely surpasses the current EPS in terms of overall stiffness while perhaps being lighter as well – putting it at less than 950g or so.
Features include a slightly sloping geometry and tapered front end like on the EPS but much more rectangular chain stays matched to smaller-looking seat stays, plus internal cable routing.
Modolo's frame was new on the outside as well and decorated to match his 'cannibal' nickname. Colnago's artistic depiction naturally featured bristling musculature and some wild, angry-looking hair but in homage to the Giro d'Italia, it was also wearing pink skivvies and ankle bands.
Fellow Italians Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni) and Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) weren't about to be left out, though, as both also arrived in Amsterdam with specially painted machines – Scarponi with a relatively austere Guerciotti and Garzelli with a much flashier shiny silver Bottechia complete with matching bar tape.
This year's Giro d'Italia also marks the Grand Tour return of love-him-or-hate-him Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov, who finished the first road stage safely in the main bunch three seconds behind Farrar. His team sponsor's 'welcome back' present? A fantastically finished Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3.
'Vino' has long championed his Kazakh pride and not surprisingly, his SL3 is suitably decorated in Kazakh colors, symbols, and graphics. Up on the head tube is a soaring Steppe Eagle apparently about to grasp its next meal while a bright golden sun adorns the fork blades. Further back, ornate Kazakh-inspired patterns grace the seat cluster, the dropouts are dressed in more gold, and the midsection of the bike is awash in blue and white flames.
Click here to see all the tech images from the Giro d'Italia's first stage.