This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
Handlebars just 32cm wide, negative stems at least 150mm long, single-ring bikes and Power or power-look-alike saddles were among the tech highlights of the 2018 Scheldeprijs — the windswept, midweek sprinters' classic that falls between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Put on by the organizers of the Tour of Flanders, the Wednesday race has historically showcased a bizarre blend of bike gear as some teams go all aero for the sprint win, while others use the event for last-minute race testing of cobbles gear ahead of Paris-Roubaix.
This year, the race began in Holland, and featured an extra helping of crosswinds across the ocean-facing dykes, but only one cobbled section on the finishing circuits near Schoten, Belgium.
- Horse for the Course: Trek Madone for Flanders sportive
- Mads Pedersen’s Trek Madone 9 Race Shop Limited for the Tour of Flanders — gallery
- Tour of Flanders: huge tech gallery from De Ronde
It isn't Paris-Roubaix quite, yet... but it's coming
BikeRadar visited each team at the start to see who was riding what. You'll have to click through the gallery for the full picture, but let us give you a few highlights here.
Team Sky was on Stages power meters. The British super squad was provided meters by both Shimano and Stages at the beginning of the season, but all the riders at Scheldeprijs were on Stages LR meters.
1x chainrings and disc brakes
Aqua Blue Sport rolled up to the start as the one squad on 1x drivetrains. Most riders used a 54t big ring with an 11-36 cassette, but some had a 44t ring and 3T's cassette that features a 9t small cog.
Mixed braking systems in the peloton had raised some concerns from riders in regard to safety
EF Education First-Drapac riders raced on Cannondale's unannounced aero disc bikes, rumoured to be called the SystemSix. The SystemSix features internal cable routing through the head tube, a disc brake-only design and all the expected features of an aero road frame, including truncated tubing and lowered seatstays.
At last weekend's Tour of Flanders, notably not a single rider competed in the race with disc brakes, to our knowledge. For Scheldeprijs, alongside Aqua Blue Sport who raced aboard its disc-only 3T Strada and EF-Drapac's new Cannondales, Quick-Step Floors had a mix of disc-equipped Specialized Tarmac and Venge framesets.
Final dress rehearsal
Zdenek Stybar had additional brake levers on the tops of his handlebars, branded as Specialized
Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) were among several riders to race on what appeared to be their final, or close-to, Paris-Roubaix specced bikes.
Adaptations included additional brake levers on the handlebar tops, electronic rear suspension and a rim brake S-Works Roubaix, which is not available as a consumer model.
At Scheldeprijs, riders used a mix of bikes, from aero to endurance. Ian Stannard has a Dogma K-10 with suspension
We also spotted the pro peloton's narrowest handlebars, Jan-Willem van Schip's 32cm alloy wonder bars.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for the full look at gear put into action at the 2018 Scheldeprijs.