This article originally published on BikeRadar
The Bianchi Oltre XR2 was first seen in the mid-2013 under the riders of Vacansoleil-DCM, and is now the bike of choice for Belkin Pro Cycling. Belkin made the move from Giant to Bianchi for the 2014 season.
An evolution of Bianchi’s original Oltre XR, the Oltre XR2 has moved to an integrated fork design for greater aerodynamics. Bianchi has also changed the bottom bracket from a BB30 to a wider press-fit BB386 and widened the seatstays for greater responsiveness. The choice of seatstays is still Bianchi’s UTSS (Ultra thin seat stays) though, the aim being to provide greater comfort without trading forward drive.
Possibly the most discussed aspect of the Oltre XR2 is the new colour-scheme. Opinion is divided on the merger of Belkin green with the classic Bianchi celeste colour, but we admit it’s growing on us.
We managed to get a close look at Robert Gesink’s bike during the Tour Down Under, where he finished sixth overall. Winner of the 2012 Tour of California, 2011 Tour of Oman and fifth in the 2010 Tour De France, the Dutch general classification contender is always a threat when climbs and time trials are involved.
Sponsored by Pioneer pedalling systems, Gesink’s bike was missing a power meter altogether when we photographed it; yet we spotted him on another brand during the race. The team mechanics mentioned that they are currently testing a second version from Pioneer, and the team has had plenty of input into its development.
Fred Morini, responsibile for Product Marketing and Communication at Bianchi, told BikeRadar that the Belkin team brought very few 23mm tyres to Australia. Instead, most of the team – including Gesink – were rolling on Vittoria Corsa SC 25mm tubulars.
Gesink’s bike is standard team issue with a complete Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 groupset, including an internal race battery and an FSA cockpit.