The Direct Energie team were spotted using a new Wilier Triestina time trial bike equipped with disc brakes at Paris-Nice, with Lilian Calmejane, Sylvain Chavanel and other riders using the all-black bike on the hilly 18.4km stage 4 time trial to Saint-Étienne.
Little is known about the new time trial bike but it is expected the Italian brand will officially present the new model in April. However it was approved for competition by the UCI on February 9 and named 'Turbine' on the UCI website - a previously unseen model. It is expected to replace the Twin Foil time trial model, which was launched in 2011.
Wilier Triestina refused to give more details when contacted by Cyclingnews but seem to consider the bike a final prototype, hence the 'Innovation Lab' logo – the name for Wilier Triestina's research and development department – on the top tube of the frame.
The frame has an aerodynamic external steerer fork and head tube design - similar to Factor's recently-released ONE aero frames - and a bladed down tube design. The rear wheels sits in tight behind the truncated seat tube, with Wilier Triestina's usual flared seat stays that allow air to flow through the frame, as well as around it. The oversized bottom bracket area and chain stays will likely increase stiffness and improve power transfer. The seatpost appears to be frame-specific and is a collaboration between Wilier and components specialists Ritchey.
Direct Energie use Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 drivetrain components including Shimano's new R9100-P crankset based power meter and Dura-Ace hydraulic disc brakes, FFWD wheels, Profile Design bars and Astute saddles.
Wilier Triestina replaced Orbea as bike provider to Direct Energie this season, giving the Italian brand an all-important presence in the Tour de France.
The Wilier Selle Italia team is expected to have the new Turbine time trial bike in time for the Giro d'Italia, which kicks off with a 9.7km time trial in Israel. The Professional Continental team has already won eight races in 2018, with Jerome Cousin and Jonathan Hivert winning stags at Paris-Nice. Team leader Lilian Calmejane won stage 8 at last year's Tour de France.
Cyclingnews photographer Roberto Bettini captured several images of the bike while used by the Direct Energie riders during the Paris-Nice time trials.
We expect to have more details on the Wilier Turbine time trial bike from the full Wilier Triestina presentation in April.