This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Jussi Veikkanen has spent much of his career in the white and blue colours of Finland, having won a total of seven national road titles since 2003. This season is his 11th with the French FDJ.fr team – not consecutively, he spent 2011 with Omega Pharma-Lotto – and the 13th year that Lapierre has been the official bike partner for FDJ.
Veikkanen has ridden the French bike brand for all but one year of his professional career, and is now piloting the Aircode Ultimate, a bike that was only released in the middle of last year.
Given Veikkanen's national champion status, we would have expected to see some custom Finnish touches in the paintwork, but beyond the name tag it's difficult to differentiate this ride from the rest of the 2015 FDJ.fr team bikes.
The Lapierre Aircode Ultimate is the brand's flagship aero road bike, and features Kamm Tail aerodynamic tube profiles, assymetrical tubing and wind-cheating tricks at every curve and corner.
One striking aero aspect is the head tube that drops below the top tube, not too different to that of the Specialiazed Venge. A narrow and swept top tube follows on from behind the stem.
The front fork features a Shimano Direct Mount brake caliper that is subtly tucked into the carbon legs for smoother airflow. Interestingly though, the team do not use a direct mount brake at the rear, despite there being mounts for it beneath the chainstays.
In a earlier look at the 2015 Lapierre range, it was pointed out that the team use a standard brake at the seat stays, showing that sometimes practicality does overtake performance in the WorldTour.
"Though the underneath brake is better aerodynamically, the mechanics at FDJ asked for a standard brake on the team bikes," said Lapierre engineer Rémi Gribaudo. "The reasons for this are the practicalities of quick wheel changes and that the type of bike stands they use on the road for working on the bikes hold the bike by the fork dropouts and the BB shell; with the under-chainstay brake it is impossible to adjust on the stand. So we kept the standard mount on the frame moulding."
Because of this change of brake position, the cable routing differs slightly from the usual internal downtube routing. Instead, the brake housing on the team bike is run through the top tube.
Where it's common for aero road frames to use proprietary seat post, the Aircode sticks with a standard 31.6mm round post. The post is held in place with an expanding wedge, that's hidden beneath a rubber cover.
A Dura-Ace Di2 groupset is a near obligatory addition to the bike of a Shimano sponsored team. Here, the only component outside of the Shimano Dura-Ace branding is the SRM Shimano 11-speed crank, which remains particularly close to a Dura-Ace 9000 crank in aesthetics, design and performance.
Where its common for Shimano Di2 equipped team bikes to take advantage of addition shifter points, Veikkanen's ride features just the standard Dura-Ace 9070 STI brake/shifter lever.
Just as the Dura-Ace Di2 is easily the most common groupset in the 2015 WorldTour peloton, the Dura-Ace C50 tubular wheels are frequently seen across numerous teams. Glued to these 50mm deep carbon rims are hand-stitched Schwalbe ONE tubulars in a 24mm width.
As we've seen on the likes of Team Sky and Alpecin-Giant team bikes, the PRO Vibe stems used by the WorldTour are slightly different to aftermarket offerings, featuring a simpler four-bolt front faceplate in exchange of the usual two-bolt Puzzle Clamp piece. The stem is also an unusual 131mm long, just 1mm longer than those that are available for sale.