Tour de France tech: Europcar, Euskaltel-Euskadi and BMC bikes

Voeckler's Colnago, Sanchez's Orbea, Hincapie's BMC

Thomas Voeckler's Europcar Colnago C59

Europcar captain Thomas Voeckler is enjoying another stint in the maillot jaune after a six-year hiatus and team sponsor Colnago has suitably outfitted the plucky Frenchman with a yellow C59 Italia. Voeckler's tenure as race leader is certainly more tenuous this time around, though, and assuming he's unable to hold on to his scant advantage it'll be back to his standard team-issue C59 Italia.

Voeckler's machine differs little from those of his teammates, including the classy metallic green-on-matte black finish, Campagnolo Super Record 11 group, and an assortment of Campagnolo carbon tubular wheels. Voeckler does, however, stick with his preferred FSA Plasma one-piece integrated carbon fiber handlebar and stem and like that special yellow frame, the former French national champion also gets custom geometry with a slightly longer top tube than usual.

One other thing worth noting: while the rest of Europcar's team bikes are all equipped with two Elite water bottle cages, Voeckler's has just one. This means he never has to burden himself with the weight of two full bidons but either he or one of his teammates will have to make a few extra visits to the team car.

How pro is Thomas Voeckler of Europcar? Enough that his bike is only fitted with a single bottle cage

How "pro" is Thomas Voeckler of Europcar? Enough that his bike is only fitted with a single bottle cage

Gold, gold, and more gold for Euskaltel-Euskadi's Samuel Sanchez

Unlike annual events like national or world championships – or even the Tour de FranceSamuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) gets to bask in the glory of his 2008 Olympic gold medal until next year's Games in London and judging by the look of his custom Orbea Orca, he's rightfully enjoying his reign.

Sanchez's Orca first gets an exclusive black-and-white paintjob in contrast to the team-issue black-and-orange livery plus an array of '8's' scattered about the top tube, head tube, down tube and seat stays (plus the full date on the seat stay wishbone) to commemorate the year of his win.

Euskaltel-Euskadi captain Samuel Sanchez gets this specially decorated Orbea Orca to celebrate his 2008 Olympic gold medal

Euskaltel-Euskadi captain Samuel Sanchez gets this specially decorated Orbea Orca to celebrate his 2008 Olympic gold medal

In addition, though, there's also lots and lots of gold. Included in the list of special gold parts are the seatpost collar, KCNC aluminum pulleys on the Shimano Dura-Ace rear derailleur, the KMC chain, Alligator aluminum cable housing, quick-release skewers, and even the handlebar tape.

Otherwise, Sanchez's bike is business as usual with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group on his main bike and the mechanical version on his spare, an SRM Dura-Ace power meter, a variety of Shimano wheels (including a long-retired aluminum tubular used on one particularly windy stage) and carbon-bodied Shimano SPD-SL pedals, a Selle Italia SLR saddle, Vittoria tubular tires, an FSA cockpit, and Elite bottle cages.

Euskaltel-Euskadi team bikes proudly display the Ride for Japan decal to draw awareness to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster

Euskaltel-Euskadi team bikes proudly display the "Ride for Japan" decal to draw awareness to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster

BMC's quiet celebration of George Hincapie Tour de France milestone

BMC veteran George Hincapie is competing in a record-matching sixteenth Tour de France this year – matching the run held for 25 years by Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk. Hincapie and BMC could justifiably pull out the stops to draw attention to this feat with a special bike for the four-time US national champion but instead, there's simply an understated raised "16" displayed on the top tube of his standard-livery BMC Teammachine SLR01 – something that typically wouldn't even show up on television or in photos.

Aside from that subtle reminder, Hincapie's bike doesn't stand out from its peers. BMC team riders have their choice between Hincapie's SLR01 and the company's latest Impec model but they all share similar builds including Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groups, SRM power meters, fi'zi:k saddles, Continental tires, Speedplay pedals, and Elite cages. Easton provides carbon wheels, bars, and stems.

BMC quietly celebrate team veteran George Hincapie's record-equalling 16th Tour de France

BMC quietly celebrate team veteran George Hincapie's record-equalling 16th Tour de France

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

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