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New releases at the Tour de France

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All new for this year's Tour de France

All new for this year's Tour de France (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Warm air is directed away from your head

Warm air is directed away from your head (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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As Milram team captain, Erik Zabel

As Milram team captain, Erik Zabel (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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The new Colnago EPS

The new Colnago EPS (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Like the recently introduced CX-1,

Like the recently introduced CX-1, (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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How cool are the retro graphics

How cool are the retro graphics (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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2006 TdF winner Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne)

2006 TdF winner Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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The guys from Shimano arrived

The guys from Shimano arrived (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Dura-Ace 7900 had its first official victory

Dura-Ace 7900 had its first official victory (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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The Gerolsteiner mechanic proves

The Gerolsteiner mechanic proves (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank)

Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank) (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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George Hincapie (Columbia) sports a prototype

George Hincapie (Columbia) sports a prototype (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank)

Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank) (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank)

Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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No prizes for guessing which team

No prizes for guessing which team (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Julian Dean's aero-shaped Oval carbon handlebars

Julian Dean's aero-shaped Oval carbon handlebars (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) has a standard Oval Concepts R900 carbon stem

Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) has a standard Oval Concepts R900 carbon stem (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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The Pro Vibe carbon stem

The Pro Vibe carbon stem (Image credit: Ben Atkins)
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All new for this year's Tour de France is the Bell Volt helmet, worn by CSC-Saxo Bank and Crédit Agricole.

All new for this year's Tour de France is the Bell Volt helmet, worn by CSC-Saxo Bank and Crédit Agricole. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The new Bell Volt takes the styling of the company's previous range-topping Sweep R even further.

The new Bell Volt takes the styling of the company's previous range-topping Sweep R even further. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Bell Volt has generously sized vents to let as much air in as possible.

The Bell Volt has generously sized vents to let as much air in as possible. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Warm air is directed away from your head via well-placed exit ports.

Warm air is directed away from your head via well-placed exit ports. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Internal channeling and Bell's retention system keep things cool and secure.

Internal channeling and Bell's retention system keep things cool and secure. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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As Milram team captain, Erik Zabel has himself a new Colnago Extreme Power Super.

As Milram team captain, Erik Zabel has himself a new Colnago Extreme Power Super. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The new Colnago EPS is built with the company's typical tube-and-lug style of construction.

The new Colnago EPS is built with the company's typical tube-and-lug style of construction. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Like the recently introduced CX-1, the EPS uses a semi-integrated headset.

Like the recently introduced CX-1, the EPS uses a semi-integrated headset. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The chain stays are highly sculpted and Zabel is one of the lucky ones to be using the new Shimano Dura-Ace 7900.

The chain stays are highly sculpted and Zabel is one of the lucky ones to be using the new Shimano Dura-Ace 7900. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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How cool are the retro graphics on one of Colnago's most modern machines?

How cool are the retro graphics on one of Colnago's most modern machines? (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) is one of just seven riders using Campagnolo's new 11-speed Record groupset in this year's Tour de France.

Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) is one of just seven riders using Campagnolo's new 11-speed Record groupset in this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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2006 TdF winner Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) is the one who goes up to eleven on his team.

2006 TdF winner Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) is the one who goes up to eleven on his team. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) is probably the man most likely to post the first win on Record 11.

Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) is probably the man most likely to post the first win on Record 11. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The guys from Shimano arrived at the Rabobank hotel when Cyclingnews was visiting and delivered some gifts to the team.

The guys from Shimano arrived at the Rabobank hotel when Cyclingnews was visiting and delivered some gifts to the team. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Shimano guys inspect the way their new components fit to one of the Crédit Agricole team Looks.

The Shimano guys inspect the way their new components fit to one of the Crédit Agricole team Looks. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Dura-Ace 7900 had its first official victory under Thor Hushovd in stage two.

Dura-Ace 7900 had its first official victory under Thor Hushovd in stage two. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Gerolsteiner mechanic proves that the prototype Shimano electronic groupset is waterproof!

The Gerolsteiner mechanic proves that the prototype Shimano electronic groupset is waterproof! (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank) discusses his shades with the guys from Oakley - he likes his orange Radars.

Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank) discusses his shades with the guys from Oakley - he likes his orange Radars. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Bernhard Eisel (Columbia) on the other hand likes his Radars in a more team specific yellow and blue effect.

Bernhard Eisel (Columbia) on the other hand likes his Radars in a more team specific yellow and blue effect. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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George Hincapie (Columbia) sports a prototype pair of Oakley's revamped Racing Jacket.

George Hincapie (Columbia) sports a prototype pair of Oakley's revamped Racing Jacket. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Hincapie and Hushovd are supposedly the only guys in the world to have a pair of these.

Hincapie and Hushovd are supposedly the only guys in the world to have a pair of these. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank) has a special edition Prologo Scratch TR.

Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank) has a special edition Prologo Scratch TR. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Cance's new saddle has his world time trial winning time on it to remind everyone of his power.

Cance's new saddle has his world time trial winning time on it to remind everyone of his power. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) has a new Prologo Choice Max TR saddle…

Carlos Sastre (CSC-Saxo Bank) has a new Prologo Choice Max TR saddle… (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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… it has his name on the Prologo logo…

… it has his name on the Prologo logo… (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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… but most importantly it proclaims that Carlos Sastre is the best daddy!

… but most importantly it proclaims that Carlos Sastre is the best daddy! (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Caisse d'Epargne is sporting custom red-finished saddles from Selle Italia.

Caisse d'Epargne is sporting custom red-finished saddles from Selle Italia. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Selle Italia even made a special "Bala Verde" version for Alejandro Valverde.

Selle Italia even made a special "Bala Verde" version for Alejandro Valverde. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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No prizes for guessing which team this new Garmin Edge 705 was supplied to.

No prizes for guessing which team this new Garmin Edge 705 was supplied to. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Julian Dean's aero-shaped Oval carbon handlebars were supposedly shown to be faster in the wind tunnel than traditional round bars.

Julian Dean's aero-shaped Oval carbon handlebars were supposedly shown to be faster in the wind tunnel than traditional round bars. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) has a standard Oval Concepts R900 carbon stem fitted with an aero-shaped carbon faceplate.

Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) has a standard Oval Concepts R900 carbon stem fitted with an aero-shaped carbon faceplate. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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FSA bars are in abundance and the aluminium core of this Carbon Pro model should provide the damage tolerance that most pros look for.

FSA bars are in abundance and the aluminium core of this Carbon Pro model should provide the damage tolerance that most pros look for. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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As well as electronic shifting Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) is trying out a Vibe carbon bar and stem from PRO.

As well as electronic shifting Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) is trying out a Vibe carbon bar and stem from PRO. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Pro Vibe carbon stem looks a lot like its aluminium counterpart.

The Pro Vibe carbon stem looks a lot like its aluminium counterpart. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Ridley has updated the Silence-Lotto paint jobs for this Tour. We just hope that Cadel Evans (centre) never has to borrow a bike from Johan Van Summeren (left)!

Ridley has updated the Silence-Lotto paint jobs for this Tour. We just hope that Cadel Evans (centre) never has to borrow a bike from Johan Van Summeren (left)! (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)
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Camelbak is more often associated with hydration packs but the Saunier Duval-Scott team likes its new bottles.

Camelbak is more often associated with hydration packs but the Saunier Duval-Scott team likes its new bottles. (Image credit: Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com)

Race tech: Tour de France, July 10, 2008

Bell electrifies with new Volt helmet

Bell supplied the riders of CSC-Saxo Bank and Crédit Agricole with a brand-new Volt helmet just in time for this year's Tour de France. The new helmet builds on the company's previously range-topping Sweep R and clearly shares some technology with sister company Giro and its flagship Ionos.

Like many of its competitors, Bell has introduced a new (and partially visible) composite internal reinforcement structure for strength (and looks). Eleven frontal vents suck in cooling air while internal channels direct it towards the rear-facing exhaust ports. Like the Giro Ionos, the Volt uses antibacterial X-Static fabric on the sweat wicking pads to help keep them fresh.

Bell has also improved fit and comfort with the Volt with its next-generation retention system called Twin Axis Gear. The new setup adjusts the helmet circumference via a handy dial like the old GPS system but is now adjustable vertically, too. The Volt will also come with a detachable visor for off-road use (we also like visors for riding on the road in the rain) and plugs are included to seal up the mounting holes to maintain the helmet's clean lines. The medium-sized CSC-Saxo Bank version that we inspected weighed 302g.

Zabel's mysterious new Colnago

Milram legend Erik Zabel is riding his 14th Tour de France, and probably sadly his last. Nevertheless, the former German champion still seems to be living at the sharp end of bicycle development as we spotted him on a completely new Colnago frame this week. Colnago has yet to release any official details about this new "Extreme Power Super" but a few technical features are apparent just by inspection.

The new EPS closely resembles the current Extreme-C in appearance with its round carbon tubing and carbon lugs but apparently surpasses even the Extreme Power in its quest for ultimate rigidity. The oversized down tube maintains a constant oversized diameter throughout its length while the top tube now flares even bigger as it approaches the head tube; both are internally reinforced via Colnago's 3PRS system. The giant chain stays uses Colnago's familiar 'leaf'-shaped profile.

That head tube also now houses a tapered-and-oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/4" steerer tube on a brand-new fork. As on the recently introduced CX-1, the new EPS also makes use of a semi-integrated headset.

Despite appearing to be one of the most modern Colnagos yet, Zabel's EPS carries a distinctly retro livery, standing out from the black and white Extreme Powers of the rest of his Milram team (which is partly how we managed to spot it). Needless to say, we'll be keeping our ears very close to the ground on this one and will get more details as soon as they are available.

Campagolo and Shimano take their battle to the streets

After months of speculation, rumour and prototyping, both Campagnolo's new 11-speed Record and Shimano's new Dura-Ace 7900 production groupsets have found their way into the peloton... but just barely. A team of Shimano engineers delivered the bubble-wrapped packages to the Rabobank squad just before the start in Brest and the other sponsored teams were equipped not much earlier. A total of 60 kits were delivered and Shimano left it up to the teams to decide which of their riders would use them for the big show.

In contrast, Campagnolo has just seven riders the peloton aboard its latest Record 11-speed groupsets. Aussie sprinter Robbie McEwen was the designated guinea pig for Silence-Lotto and all three of his new Noah frames have been equipped. In addition to the one he is riding on any particular day, each team car will carry one up top just in case he gets a rear puncture, which suggests that the Mavic neutral service crews aren't equipped with the new cassettes just yet. The other six lucky riders are: Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne), Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre), Stijn Devolder (Quick Step), Laurent Lefevre (Bouyges Telecom) and Maxime Monfort (Cofidis).

Oakley at the races

It wouldn't be a Tour de France without some new eyewear from Oakley and Oakley Sports Marketing representative Steve Blick came through as always. Fabian Cancellara was donning a pair of bright orange Radars at the start in Brest but Oakley apparently has something very special (and very Swiss) in the works for his attempt at gold in Beijing.

Team Columbia's George Hincapie is just as easily recognizable by his long and lean frame as he is his signature Oakley Racing Jacket eyewear. While Hincapie switched to Oakley's new Radar last season, the American veteran (along with stage two winner Thor Hushovd) arrived in France with a prototype version of an all-new Racing Jacket.

Oakley says the new Racing Jacket has a 'floating' lens, meaning that it is held in place by a unique suspension system that exerts less pressure on the lens than usual. This, says Oakley, produces less distortion and makes for easier lens swapping via a unique quick- release system built into the pivoting nosepiece.

There is no news on when the new Racing Jacket will be available to the public but after Hushovd's stage win while wearing them and Hincapie reporting that "Glasses were money!!!!", it probably shouldn't be too long.

Prologo at CSC-Saxo Bank

Saddle company Prologo have presented a few limited edition versions of their saddles to the CSC-Saxo Bank team at this year's Tour. Fabian Cancellara has been riding a personal Scratch TR for a while, featuring rainbow stripes in the company's logo and the time from his world title victory on the side. Teammate Carlos Sastre has also been given the personal treatment now with his own version of the Choice Max TR.

As well as the Spanish GC contender's name on the side, the saddle nose features a dummy (pacifier) with the words "Papa Mejor" (the best daddy). It's a strange motif to have, but obviously harks back to his 2003 Tour stage win when he took one from his back pocket and crossed the line with it in his mouth to celebrate the birth of his daughter.

Garmin has the Edge (705)

Unsurprisingly, as it is the title sponsor, Garmin provides nothing but its best to the Garmin-Chipotle team. New for this year is the Edge 705 - provided in extremely limited edition team-liveried orange and blue. In addition to the Edge 705's usual array of GPS-powered functions and integrated heart rate monitor, it also now picks up signals from the team's newly ANT+Sport-compatible PowerTap rear hubs.

While this is certainly a cool feature, it more significantly means that all of each athlete's vital performance data can now be mixed with the GPS information and recorded, downloaded and analysed from a single widget.

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