Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) roared to his third consecutive win at Scheldeprijs, this time aboard Giant's slippery Propel Advanced aero road machine. The big German's setup wasn't just focused on reducing drag, though.
Giant was late to the aero road bike game having launched its Propel Advanced just a little more than a year ago. That extra time has been put to good use, however, as independent tests have verified it to be among the most slippery options available with its sleek shape, compact rear triangle, level top tube, shielded rear wheel, clipped down tube tail, and integrated direct-pull brakes.
Team bikes forego the carbon fiber calipers used on standard consumer bikes, though, in favour for the new Fouriers DX005 aluminum model, which are a touch heavier but lend a firmer feel at the lever (and not long ago were available only to team riders). These calipers also add a little extra race-specific convenience. Each brake includes two stops for the cable noodle milled at different depths so that mechanics can quickly and easily swap between wheels with wider or narrower profiles, plus the more conventional clamp is gentler on brake cables than the carbon version's set screws.
Kittel's 50mm-deep Shimano Dura-Ace carbon tubulars continue the aero theme but otherwise, it's standard fare with a little extra focus on harnessing the three-time winner's immense power output. Among the key highlights are a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9000 electronic group with supplemental sprint shifters on the drops, a massive PRO Vibe Sprint carbon fiber stem, an aluminum PRO semi-anatomic bar, 25mm-wide Vittoria Corsa SC tubulars, and an SRM/Dura-Ace power meter. In spite of the flat course profile, Kittel used a relative wide 11-28T cassette.
Take a closer look at Kittel's setup in the image gallery at top right, along with scores of other bikes from the team paddocks in Antwerp, Belgium.