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Giro d'Italia race tech: Bikes in the mountains

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Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) used this Pinarello Dogma 2 during Stage 19.

Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) used this Pinarello Dogma 2 during Stage 19. (Image credit: James Huang)
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_V6O7004 - Winners with the champagne celebration at podium

_V6O7004 - Winners with the champagne celebration at podium (Image credit: James Huang)
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The upper and lower surfaces of Gustav Larsson's (Vacansoleil-DCM) FSA OS-99 stem are milled flat to ensure a proper interface with the headset.

The upper and lower surfaces of Gustav Larsson's (Vacansoleil-DCM) FSA OS-99 stem are milled flat to ensure a proper interface with the headset. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Selle San Marco provides the Vacansoleil-DCM team with color-matched saddles.

Selle San Marco provides the Vacansoleil-DCM team with color-matched saddles. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ultra-spindly seat stays on Gustav Larsson's (Vacansoleil-DCM) Bianchi Oltre Superleggera.

Ultra-spindly seat stays on Gustav Larsson's (Vacansoleil-DCM) Bianchi Oltre Superleggera. (Image credit: James Huang)
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IMG_4529 - The peloton heading to the Xiangpi Moutain

IMG_4529 - The peloton heading to the Xiangpi Moutain (Image credit: James Huang)
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Look KéO Blade pedals for Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM).

Look KéO Blade pedals for Gustav Larsson (Vacansoleil-DCM). (Image credit: James Huang)
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_V6O7004 - Winners with the champagne celebration at podium

_V6O7004 - Winners with the champagne celebration at podium (Image credit: James Huang)
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Gustav Larsson's (Vacansoleil-DCM) Bianchi Oltre Superleggera is equipped with a mixed drivetrain that includes FSA cranks and chainrings, Shimano Dura-Ace derailleurs and cassette, and a gold KMC chain.

Gustav Larsson's (Vacansoleil-DCM) Bianchi Oltre Superleggera is equipped with a mixed drivetrain that includes FSA cranks and chainrings, Shimano Dura-Ace derailleurs and cassette, and a gold KMC chain. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A Rotor chain catcher prevents derailments on Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca.

A Rotor chain catcher prevents derailments on Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca. (Image credit: James Huang)
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There's a lot going on in this area of Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca: two zip-ties holding on the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 control box, two more for the satellite shifter, and two o-rings for the Garmin Edge 500 mount. Team mechanics leave the computer heads off until the last minute citing problems with theft.

There's a lot going on in this area of Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca: two zip-ties holding on the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 control box, two more for the satellite shifter, and two o-rings for the Garmin Edge 500 mount. Team mechanics leave the computer heads off until the last minute citing problems with theft. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A fi'zi:k Arione k:ium saddle is affixed to a zero-offset 3T Doric Team seatpost on Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca.

A fi'zi:k Arione k:ium saddle is affixed to a zero-offset 3T Doric Team seatpost on Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca came from California set for conventional external cable routing so team mechanics resorted to Shimano's special tape to run the Di2 wires.

Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca came from California set for conventional external cable routing so team mechanics resorted to Shimano's special tape to run the Di2 wires. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) ultralight Mavic R-Sys Ultimate wheels are built with tubular carbon fiber spokes bonded to a carbon fiber hub shell and carbon fiber low-profile carbon fiber rims. Teams have been riding these wheels for years but Mavic still has yet to announce a release date.

Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) ultralight Mavic R-Sys Ultimate wheels are built with tubular carbon fiber spokes bonded to a carbon fiber hub shell and carbon fiber low-profile carbon fiber rims. Teams have been riding these wheels for years but Mavic still has yet to announce a release date. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca sports subtle pink accents.

Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca sports subtle pink accents. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Garmin-Barracuda sponsor Cervélo supplied Ryder Hesjedal with this pink-accented R5ca.

Garmin-Barracuda sponsor Cervélo supplied Ryder Hesjedal with this pink-accented R5ca. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pink bar tape and logos for current Giro d'Italia leader Joaquin Rodriguez's (Katusha) Canyon Aeroad CF.

Pink bar tape and logos for current Giro d'Italia leader Joaquin Rodriguez's (Katusha) Canyon Aeroad CF. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Canyon mounts the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 under the chain stay on Joaquin Rodriguez's Aeroad CF.

Canyon mounts the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 under the chain stay on Joaquin Rodriguez's Aeroad CF. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Michele Scarponi's (Lampre-ISD) Wilier Triestina Zero.7 is equipped with a basic chain catcher.

Michele Scarponi's (Lampre-ISD) Wilier Triestina Zero.7 is equipped with a basic chain catcher. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A matching neon green Selle San Marco Concor saddle for Lampre-ISD captain Michele Scarponi.

A matching neon green Selle San Marco Concor saddle for Lampre-ISD captain Michele Scarponi. (Image credit: James Huang)
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_V6O6936 - Stage 4 winner, Luka Mezgec of Sava at finishing line

_V6O6936 - Stage 4 winner, Luka Mezgec of Sava at finishing line (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campagnolo Record EPS for Lampre-ISD team leader Michele Scarponi.

Campagnolo Record EPS for Lampre-ISD team leader Michele Scarponi. (Image credit: James Huang)
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IMG_4529 - The peloton heading to the Xiangpi Moutain

IMG_4529 - The peloton heading to the Xiangpi Moutain (Image credit: James Huang)
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Compact chainrings for Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD).

Compact chainrings for Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD). (Image credit: James Huang)
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A strip of electrical tape provides a little security for Michele Scarponi's SRM PowerControl 7 computer head.

A strip of electrical tape provides a little security for Michele Scarponi's SRM PowerControl 7 computer head. (Image credit: James Huang)
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_V6O7004 - Winners with the champagne celebration at podium

_V6O7004 - Winners with the champagne celebration at podium (Image credit: James Huang)
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_V6O6936 - Stage 4 winner, Luka Mezgec of Sava at finishing line

_V6O6936 - Stage 4 winner, Luka Mezgec of Sava at finishing line (Image credit: James Huang)
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Wilier Triestina mounts the Campagnolo Record EPS battery under the down tube on Michele Scarponi's ultralight Zero.7 frame.

Wilier Triestina mounts the Campagnolo Record EPS battery under the down tube on Michele Scarponi's ultralight Zero.7 frame. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Just in case Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) forgets his name, he can always just look down.

Just in case Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) forgets his name, he can always just look down. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimates for current Giro d'Italia leader Joachim Rodriguez (Katusha).

Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimates for current Giro d'Italia leader Joachim Rodriguez (Katusha). (Image credit: James Huang)
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A pink clamp secures the Selle Italia Monolink-compatible carbon fiber seatpost on Joachim Rodriguez's (Katusha) Canyon Aeroad CF.

A pink clamp secures the Selle Italia Monolink-compatible carbon fiber seatpost on Joachim Rodriguez's (Katusha) Canyon Aeroad CF. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Katusha team sponsor Canyon supplied current Giro d'Italia leader Joachim Rodriguez with this pink-accented Aeroad CF.

Katusha team sponsor Canyon supplied current Giro d'Italia leader Joachim Rodriguez with this pink-accented Aeroad CF. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Mid-compact 52/36T round chainrings for Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal.

Mid-compact 52/36T round chainrings for Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal. (Image credit: James Huang)
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IMG_4529 - The peloton heading to the Xiangpi Moutain

IMG_4529 - The peloton heading to the Xiangpi Moutain (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca was underweight so mechanics fitted stainless steel bottle cages from Arundel.

Ryder Hesjedal's (Garmin-Barracuda) Cervélo R5ca was underweight so mechanics fitted stainless steel bottle cages from Arundel. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Internal routing keeps things looking clean on Marzio Bruseghin's (Movistar) Pinarello Dogma 2.

Internal routing keeps things looking clean on Marzio Bruseghin's (Movistar) Pinarello Dogma 2. (Image credit: James Huang)
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So exactly how tough was Stage 19? Tough enough that Movistar's Marzio Bruseghin ran a 34T inner chainring to go along with his 11-27T cassette.

So exactly how tough was Stage 19? Tough enough that Movistar's Marzio Bruseghin ran a 34T inner chainring to go along with his 11-27T cassette. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) ran an 11-27T Campagnolo Record cassette on his Pinarello Dogma 2 for Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia.

Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) ran an 11-27T Campagnolo Record cassette on his Pinarello Dogma 2 for Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Many riders choose to run one bottle with water and another with energy drink, as seen on the Pinarello Dogma 2 of Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar).

Many riders choose to run one bottle with water and another with energy drink, as seen on the Pinarello Dogma 2 of Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) runs an integrated cockpit on his Pinarello Dogma 2.

Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) runs an integrated cockpit on his Pinarello Dogma 2. (Image credit: James Huang)
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22mm-wide Continental Competition Pro Limited Allround tubulars mounted on Easton EC90 SLX shallow-profile carbon wheels for Alessandro Ballan (BMC).

22mm-wide Continental Competition Pro Limited Allround tubulars mounted on Easton EC90 SLX shallow-profile carbon wheels for Alessandro Ballan (BMC). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Slam that stem? Check - but there's a reason why pro riders' bikes often look like this while the rest of us have to run a higher setup.

Slam that stem? Check - but there's a reason why pro riders' bikes often look like this while the rest of us have to run a higher setup. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Alessandro Ballan's (BMC) team-issue SLR01 sports clean-looking Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 routing.

Alessandro Ballan's (BMC) team-issue SLR01 sports clean-looking Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 routing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Alessandro Ballan's (BMC) BMC SLR01 TeamMachine sports an extreme amount of handlebar drop. Don't try this at home, kids.

Alessandro Ballan's (BMC) BMC SLR01 TeamMachine sports an extreme amount of handlebar drop. Don't try this at home, kids. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) was among several riders running mid-compact 36/52T gearing during Stage 19.

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) was among several riders running mid-compact 36/52T gearing during Stage 19. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A small piece of tape marks the saddle height for Alessandro Ballan (BMC).

A small piece of tape marks the saddle height for Alessandro Ballan (BMC). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Stage 19's brutal profile had many riders, including BMC's Alessandro Ballan, reaching for cassettes with 27-tooth or 28-tooth cogs.

Stage 19's brutal profile had many riders, including BMC's Alessandro Ballan, reaching for cassettes with 27-tooth or 28-tooth cogs. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The BMC team's Elite Sior carbon fiber cages feature a small titanium insert molded into the structure to provide a firmer hold on bottles.

The BMC team's Elite Sior carbon fiber cages feature a small titanium insert molded into the structure to provide a firmer hold on bottles. (Image credit: James Huang)
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BMC normally sells the SLR01 Team Machine with a BB30 bottom bracket but since the team is sponsored by Shimano, those frames come from the factory with bonded-in adapters for press-fit cups.

BMC normally sells the SLR01 Team Machine with a BB30 bottom bracket but since the team is sponsored by Shimano, those frames come from the factory with bonded-in adapters for press-fit cups. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The distinctly wavy fork on Marzio Bruseghin's (Movistar) Pinarello Dogma 2 is neatly integrated into the down tube.

The distinctly wavy fork on Marzio Bruseghin's (Movistar) Pinarello Dogma 2 is neatly integrated into the down tube. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) runs the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 levers low on his 3T Ergosum bars.

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) runs the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 levers low on his 3T Ergosum bars. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized once supplied its teams with rebadged Veloflex tires but is now producing its own range of tubulars.

Specialized once supplied its teams with rebadged Veloflex tires but is now producing its own range of tubulars. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Francesco Chicchi's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new SRAM Red rear derailleur is affixed to a replaceable aluminum hanger on his Specialized S-Works Venge.

Francesco Chicchi's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new SRAM Red rear derailleur is affixed to a replaceable aluminum hanger on his Specialized S-Works Venge. (Image credit: James Huang)
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New SRAM Red DoubleTap levers for Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Francesco Chicchi.

New SRAM Red DoubleTap levers for Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Francesco Chicchi. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) takes the nighttime win in Tampa.\

Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) takes the nighttime win in Tampa.\ (Image credit: James Huang)
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Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is among several riders still using the previous generation SRAM Red front derailleur (with a team-issue steel cage).

Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) is among several riders still using the previous generation SRAM Red front derailleur (with a team-issue steel cage). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Previous-generation SRAM Red chainrings are fitted to Francesco Chicchi's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) Specialized FACT carbon crankset.

Previous-generation SRAM Red chainrings are fitted to Francesco Chicchi's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) Specialized FACT carbon crankset. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) ran an 11-28T SRAM PC-1070 cassette for Stage 19.

Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) ran an 11-28T SRAM PC-1070 cassette for Stage 19. (Image credit: James Huang)
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New SRAM Red cam-enhanced single-pivot brake calipers for Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

New SRAM Red cam-enhanced single-pivot brake calipers for Francesco Chicchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized infuses Francesco Chicchi's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) S-Works Venge with a healthy dose of carbon fiber at the bottom bracket.

Specialized infuses Francesco Chicchi's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) S-Works Venge with a healthy dose of carbon fiber at the bottom bracket. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Francesco Chicchi runs traditional-bend handlebars on his Specialized S-Works Venge.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider Francesco Chicchi runs traditional-bend handlebars on his Specialized S-Works Venge. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Many riders opted for shallow-profile wheels today but Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) went with deeper-section Campagnolo Bora Ultra Twos.

Many riders opted for shallow-profile wheels today but Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) went with deeper-section Campagnolo Bora Ultra Twos. (Image credit: James Huang)
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22mm-wide Continental Competition Pro Limited Allround tubulars mounted on Campagnolo Bora Two Ultra wheels for Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar).

22mm-wide Continental Competition Pro Limited Allround tubulars mounted on Campagnolo Bora Two Ultra wheels for Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) keeps things light and firm with this carbon shelled Selle Italia SLR Carbonio saddle.

Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar) keeps things light and firm with this carbon shelled Selle Italia SLR Carbonio saddle. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Anatomic-bend Easton aluminum handlebars and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-7970 Dual Control levers for BMC's Alessandro Ballan.

Anatomic-bend Easton aluminum handlebars and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-7970 Dual Control levers for BMC's Alessandro Ballan. (Image credit: James Huang)

This article appeared on BikeRadar.

Stage 19 of this year's Giro d'Italia was brutal even by a pro rider's standards. The progressively steepening and unrelenting Passo Manghen kicked in just past the halfway point of the nearly 200km-long route and ended with two trips up the Alpe di Pampeago's 16-percent maximum grade.

Aerodynamics took a back seat to weight with all of the major contenders shaving as many grams from their machines as possible, especially from the wheels. Shallow-section tubular wheels with carbon rims was the norm with even Mavic's often-teased-but-as-yet-undelivered R-Sys Ultimate making yet another appearance, this time on the Cervélo R5ca of Ryder Hesjedal. So much weight was removed from some bikes that several riders and teams ran supplemental weights to bring their machines exactly up to code.

Lower-than-normal gearing was common as well with many riders swapping to cassettes with 27T or 28T cogs and some resorting to mid-compact or true compact chainrings, too.

We weren't able to weigh any of the bikes at the start but it's a safe bet that many of them were spot-on at 6.8kg – and if not, those riders were certainly wishing they were. Click here for the gallery.