For the past two iterations of the Giro d'Italia, EF Education-Nippo have been required to switch away from their usual pink kit, as race organisers deem it too close a match to the race leader's maglia rosa.
Unless you were living on the moon, you probably heard about the design they switched to in 2020. In a collaboration with Palace Skateboards, they swapped out everything, including kit, helmets, bikes and even the colour of their team cars. So popular were the limited edition run of jerseys that they were being sold on eBay for 10 times their usual retail price.
Unsurprisingly, when this year's Giro rolled onto our horizons, the cycling world waited with bated breath for the announcement, and although it turned out to be considerably less wild than last year, the unveiling didn't disappoint. Many concluded that it is a better-looking and classier design than its forebear.
The design, entitled Euphoria, was created in-house at Rapha, and is said to symbolise 'a celebration of people from different backgrounds and nations coming together in pursuit of a common goal'.
Toning things down a little on last year, the team decided against matching their helmets and cars for this year, but they still took the paintbrush to their Cannondale bikes, and we've been up close and personal with their team leader Hugh Carthy's SuperSix Evo, designed in a similar 'euphoria' fashion and painted by Doktor Bobby out of his studio in Bristol, UK.
In terms of spec when we caught up with it, Carthy's SuperSix is set up for the gravel roads found on stage 11, with tubeless tyres, an alloy handlebar, a reinforced direct-mount derailleur hanger, quick-release thru-axles, and perhaps most interestingly, a lack of power meter.
Carthy has raced without a power meter for all but the time trial stage of this year's Giro, and the gravel stage was no different. While many of the team are using the spider-based power meter from Power2Max, Carthy has stuck with Cannondale's own super-lightweight SISL2 crankset and Spidering SL 53/39 chainrings.
Despite rumours around a new Shimano Dura-Ace 12-speed groupset being on the way, Carthy and his team are still using the trusty 11-speed Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 groupset, complete with disc brakes.
The bike's wheelset comes courtesy of team sponsor Vision, with its Metron 40 SL Disc clincher/TLR wheels. According to sponsor, Vision, the team helped to develop special ceramic bearings as well as a new elastic tape for its tubeless wheels. The tape, which is also used by Bahrain Victorious, is said to improve the interface between wheel and tyre and allow the team to use less sealant, resulting in lower weight.
The wheels are wrapped in Vittoria's Corsa tyres, and ahead of stage 11's gravel sectors, Carthy had switched from Vittoria's Corsa TLR to the grippier and more puncture resistant Corsa Control TLR tyres. They had been set up tubeless with Muc-Off valves and sealant, and while we can't see it from these images, we also believe Carthy was running the new Airliner from Vittoria.
As is common on disc brake road bikes, Carthy's bike is using 12mm thru-axles, however, to simplify wheel changes in the event of a puncture, the bike is also set up with quick-release axles, allowing Carthy to remove his own wheel ready for the team car to arrive.
Upfront, Carthy went with a traditional drop handlebar from FSA, however, instead of choosing one of the brand's many featherweight carbon fibre options, the Briton is using the €99 FSA Energy Traditional Alloy.
This is likely a permanent feature that helps the lightweight bike climb back above the UCI's 6.8kg limit, but it would have been a welcome addition on stage 11, given alloy handlebars are less prone to catastrophic failure in the event of a crash.
The EF team also seem to have upgraded the strength of their derailleur hangers for the 2021 Giro. In 2020, the team was using lightweight - pink anodised - versions that were prone to bending out of shape (as seen on Lachlan Morton's bike from early 2020), the team are now using sturdier-looking silver versions.
Up top, it also looks as though Carthy's trialling out a new saddle for sponsors Prologo, with a design that most closely resembles the brand's Nago and Zero models. Unfortunately, details are sparse, but we'll bring you details as soon as we find out more.
|Frame||Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi Mod|
|Groupset||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2|
|Brake levers||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 mechanical|
|Brake calipers||Shimano Dura-Ace disc|
|Wheelset||Metron 40 SL Disc clincher/TLR|
|Handlebar||FSA Energy Traditional Alloy|
|Stem||FSA OS99 Carbon|
|Saddle||Prologo new model|
|Tyres||Vittoria Corsa Control TLR|
|Computer||Garmin Edge 1030 Plus|
|Bottle Cages||Tacx Ciro|
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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