Philippe Gilbert (Omega-Pharma Lotto) will tackle this season's challenges aboard Canyon's latest road model, the Aeroad CF aero. Billed by Canyon as a 'breakaway bike', the Aeroad CF looks to fit the Belgian star's strong suits to a T.
Canyon doesn’t make a big deal of airfoil-shaped tubes or days' worth of wind tunnel testing but has instead concentrated on reducing frontal area and smoothing frame surface transitions relative to the decidedly more massive Ultimate range that Omega-Pharma Lotto has ridden in previous seasons. Everything exposed to the wind has been nipped, tucked, and pinched to reduce aerodynamic drag and Canyon claims frontal area has indeed been reduced by 20 percent.
Nominally aero cross sections are featured at the head tube, down tube, seat stays, and fork blades, cables are routed internally throughout, and even Canyon's trademark 1 1/4"-to-1 1/2" front end has been downsized to a slimmer 1 1/8"-to-1 1/4" dimension complete with hourglass profile.
Even so, Canyon has also worked to ensure that Gilbert's new machine still rides well – seeing as how this bike is apt to see a lot of cobbles this year – and it turns out that the Aeroad is even more comfortable than the Ultimate range based on our own test rides. Though it may be faster through the air, the Aeroad is also softer overall with noticeably more flex and give. Additional comfort is provided by the carbon-and-basalt fiber VCLS seatpost.
Continuing the aero theme are Mavic's new Cosmic CC80 wheels, featuring aggressive 80mm-deep carbon tubular rims and bladed stainless steel spokes.
Campagnolo's new Record 11 group isn't billed as aero in any way but recent changes do make an improvement over previous iterations. In addition to being lighter than before, new shift internals offer a more positive and precise-feeling action that's also user tunable, updated chainring profiles and front derailleur cages yield faster shifts, and Campagnolo has reintroduced a dual-pivot variant for the rear brake.
While the company has said it only expected amateur cyclists to opt for the additional rear power, Gilbert's bike is so equipped as well.
Finishing things off are an alloy Ritchey classic-bend bar and forged stem, a Selle Italia Flite Team Edition saddle, Look KéO Blade pedals, Continental tires, an SRM PowerControl 7 computer (which is presumably paired to an SRM power meter for training), and Tacx cages. Total weight as pictured is 6.90kg (15.21lb).