This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
Only a small handful of riders can rightfully lay claim to saying they're "number one" and Katusha captain Joaquim Rodriguez has more right than most. The Spanish climbing specialist has stood atop the UCI WorldTour rankings in 2010, 2012, and 2013 and given the custom paint job provided to him by Canyon, he wants everyone to know.
Canyon team liaison Andreas Walzer says that 'Purito' picked out the paint scheme himself, which follows the general graphical pattern of stock Aeroad CF frames but with a gloss white base coat, red logos, and giant red 'NO. 1 IN THE WORLD' lettering across the top tube – in two languages, no less. Similar graphics are splashed across the inside of the fork blades, too.
Selle Italia gets into the custom game as well with not only special graphics on the SLR Monolink saddle but also a custom shape, too. While regular SLR Monolink saddles are offered in cutout and non-cutout forms, Rodriguez gets a non-cutout version with a deep channel running the from tip to tail to relieve pressure. To go along with this, Canyon provides a special Monolink-compatible seatpost that uses a standard VCLS Aero carbon shaft but bonded to a custom machined aluminum head.
Otherwise, Rodriguez is on a standard Aeroad CF frame in Canyon extra-small size. Aero tube shapes are used in several areas of the chassis – most notably in the head tube, down tube, and fork blades – and according to Canyon, the general design goal was to minimize the bike's frontal area. As compared to the company's more structurally efficient Ultimate CF SLX model, the Aeroad CF is certainly much narrower in profile along with a more compact rear triangle, a dramatically hourglass-profile head tube surrounding a downsized (for Canyon, that is) 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in steerer, and a more neatly integrated seatpost clamp that in this case also serves double duty as a number plate holder.
One might wonder why a climbing specialist like Rodriguez chooses the Aeroad CF when the Ultimate CF SLX chassis is several hundred grams lighter, not to mention stiffer in both the drivetrain and in torsion. However, like many of the world's best climbers, Rodriguez stands a modest 1.69m (5ft 6.5in) tall and his XS-size bike barely meets UCI minimum weight requirements with a standard Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 group, Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheels, and an alloy Ritchey cockpit installed.
In fact, we measured the bike to be slightly below the limit at 6.79kg with the computer head installed.
Given that, there's little reason not to give himself a bit of an aero edge – however slight – and with three podium finishes in his last four Grand Tours plus a strong field at this year's Giro d'Italia, 'Purito' will want any advantage he can get.