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Giro d'Italia tech gallery: All the new and custom tech spotted in the peloton

Giro d'Italia tech gallery
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As with any Grand Tour, there has been a host of tech stories from on the ground during the first 10 days of this year's Giro d'Italia

Even before the race began, fans were eagerly anticipating EF Education-Nippo's chanegout kit - a now annual occurrence by virtue of their usual pink threads clashing with the race leader's jersey. But many would argue that Israel Start-Up Nation overshadowed the EF kit with a classy looking changeout kit of their own, much to the delight of their Italian wine sponsor Vini Fantini. 

As the racing got underway, Filippo Ganna took to the startline aboard an all-new, all-blue Pinarello; his second custom bike for his second Giro d'Italia in seven months. Giaccomo Nizzolo went one better, though, with the unveiling of his second custom bike in six weeks.  It appears to pay to be champion of both Italy and Europe simultaneously. 

We saw a host of tech highlights in the opening time trial, mainly comprising watt-saving hacks and new equipment in the pursuit of free speed. Although 'free' is far from the truth when you consider the overshoes worn by Alex Dowsett cost £600 per pair. 

Let's take a look at all the other highlights we've found in the peloton during the ten stages of racing. 

Matchy matchy

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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

The detail that's gone into the maglia rosa is truly stunning, with a zipper styled to look like the trophy and the former winners printed throughout (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

And to match the attention to detail, teams have given their riders a selection of matching kit. Ganna and Ineos Grenadiers took the matching pink to the extreme (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

In addition to his pink bike, he was given a pink Kask helmet and Oakley sunglasses (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

He's even wearing pink custom shoes (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Bernal in pink at the Giro d'Italia

Ganna's teammate Bernal got the bike, the bar tape and the helmet, but he's gone for red Oakley Sutro Lite sunnies instead (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

De Marchi's Israel Start-Up Nation took it a little less seriously, sticking with his normal bike and black bar tape, but still wore a pink HJC helmet and Scicon specs (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

Attila Valter added pink mitts to the helmet and glasses combo (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

Valter was even given pink bar tape (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

Geoffrey Bouchard looks sad, he's only got a blue helmet to match his maglia azzurro (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

Tim Merlier also looks slightly disappointed with his cyclamen-coloured Abus Gamechanger helmet and only-slightly-matchy Oakley Sutro sunglasses (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

Giaccomo Nizzolo only got a helmet too, but he's had two new bikes in six weeks, so he won't complain (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'italia colour-matched tech for the classification leaders

This is his old new bike, received before Milan-San Remo. His new new bike is predominantly blue. We're unsure why he's using this one today (Image credit: Getty Images)

The maglia rosa has changed hands four times in ten days. Starting with Ganna after his monstrous TT effort, it soon went to Alessandro De Marchi when the road pointed up, then Attila Valter when the road pointed up some more, and then Egan Bernal when they hit the stage 9 gravel finish.

Even more changeable has been the maglia ciclamino - the cyclamen-coloured points jersey - which has had five different keepers, for a total of six changes so far. 

After the time trial, Edoardo Affini kept it safe for the actual competition leader Ganna. Then when the sprinters did their thing, Tim Merlier took the first honours, before Mr Second Place Nizzolo took it off him. Next up, Ewan won his second stage, took the jersey, and then abandoned citing knee pain, all in less than 24 hours. That handed the jersey to Merlier once again, before Bora Hansgrohe did what Bora Hansgrohe do, ripping the race apart dropping Merlier, Nizzolo and others for Peter Sagan, who duly outsprinted whoever was left, taking the jersey in the process. 

It's not uncommon for teams to supply custom kit to their classification leaders, but the 2021 Giro d'Italia has taken it to a new level with almost every classification leader getting some level of colour-matching. It's clear that more and more teams are arriving at Grand Tours prepared for one of their riders to lead a classification. 

We just wonder what happens to all the pink helmets, sunglasses, mitts and bikes of teams who don't have quite as big an impact on the race as they'd hoped. 

Nizzolo's COVID certificate

Giro d'Italia

No, it's not a receipt. It's his COVID certificate to travel... obviously (Image credit: Getty Images)

When Giacomo Nizzolo sprinted to another* second place, cycling spectators the world over spent a moment wondering what on earth was pinned to his helmet. Had a piece of paper inadvertently become stuck to the Italian's head? Was it the dispatch note from buying the helmet at Wiggle? 

In reality, Nizzolo had cheekily created a copy of an Italian COVID-19 travel certificate on the front of his helmet. The certificate states that his reason for travel is “winning stages”, and that he is “knowing of the criminal consequences in the case of false statement to public officials.” 

*Nizzolo has finished 2nd on 11 occasions in a Giro d'Italia stage but has never won a stage.

Fifty shades of grey... socks

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Riders in the rain at the Giro d'Italia

Bernal, Remco, Ciccone all rue their sock colour choice while Dan Martin feels smug... presumably (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Riders in the rain at the Giro d'Italia

Davide Formolo's face says it all, really (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Riders in the rain at the Giro d'Italia

Carthy, Vlasov and Valter all in despair as they bid farewell to their once-sharp-looking socks (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Riders in the rain at the Giro d'Italia

Bauke Mollema, the otherwise sensible Dutchman, will be disappointed with his decision (Image credit: Getty Images)

Many pro cyclists have a strangely unwavering affinity for white socks. No matter the conditions, some seemingly believe that the only acceptable colour for a shoe-sock combo is white on white. 

However, if ever there was a case for black socks, it was stage 6, where Remco Evenepoel, Alexander Vlasov, Bauke Mollema and countless others stuck with their tried and tested white, only to see the weather turn them into a disappointing shade of grey. 

The stage was likely the final outing for many a pair, because as our own Laura Weislo put it, no amount of Oxiclean is bringing those back. 

Interesting tech finds

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Giro d'Italia

EF's new changeout kit is a colourful affair (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

Meanwhile, Israel Start-Up Nation went for a classier look, complete with sponsor-appropriate vine leaves (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

This helmet was designed by MotoGP artist, Aldo Drudi, and is presented to the winner of each stage (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

Alberto Bettiol, winner of the 2019 Tour of Flanders, is sporting some Flanders-appropriate POC eyewear (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

Dan Martin has long used the Mavic Comete Ultimate shoes, and he's no stranger to customising them (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

Despite the strange aesthetic of those new Oakley Kato sunglasses, Remco still manages to make them look cool (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

Nizzolo's not the only one to have been Italian and European national champion - Elia Viviani's shorts serve as a reminder (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

Looking beyond Formolo and his folded-down arm warmers, that looks like a new 3D printed saddle from Specialized (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro d'Italia

There's a lot going on in this picture beyond George Bennett suffering. That's the as-yet-unreleased Cervelo R5, shod with as-yet-unreleased Shimano wheels, and as ever, Bennett's got himself some custom shoes (Image credit: Getty Images)

Grand Tours are always a hotbed of new and interesting tech tidbits, and the Giro d'Italia is no different. Whether it's custom helmets, brand new bikes, or prototype saddles, the lap of Italy has seen it all. 

Dan Martin's got some custom shoes, Alberto Bettiol won't let us forget about that time he won the Tour of Flanders, and Evenepoel succeeds where Froome failed to make those Oakley Kato sunglasses look cool. 

And of course, no tech gallery would be complete without a picture of George Bennett's custom shoes, which get updated every five minutes courtesy of his partner Caitlin Fielder's shoe-designing abilities. 

Bennett himself is a rolling tech gallery at this race, sporting a new Cervelo R5, as-yet-unreleased Shimano wheels and his custom New Zealand champion's jersey. 

Remembering Wouter Weylandt

A Trek Emonda bike at the Giro d'Italia with a 'WW108' sticker on the top tube

WW108, remembering Wouter Weylandt 10 years after he died at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)

To finish on a more poignant note, on the 10th anniversary of Wouter Weylandt's death, stage 2 was a day of remembrance. 

The occasion saw an huge 108 race number placed on the start line and the stage was capped off with a classy 'W' hand celebration by stage winner Tim Merlier. 

Trek Segafredo, meanwhile, added subtle but meaningful stickers onto the top tube of their Trek Emonda race bikes. The 108 being his race number, which out of respect has never been used since. Rest in peace WW.