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Opening Weekend: Huge tech gallery

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Opening weekend tech

Disc brakes reign supreme at Opening Weekend, with three of the weekend's victors using disc brake technology (Image credit: Josh Croxton)


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Opening weekend tech

With high winds and bad weather expected, wheel choice was a hot topic (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

With the team committed to disc, the only decision for Bahrain McLaren riders was the tubeless vs tubular debate. Five of seven went with the latter (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Heinrich Haussler and Fred Wright were the two riders who opted for tubeless (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Movistar's Gabriel Cullaigh's Zipp 303 NSW disc wheels were using Competition Pro Ltd tubulars (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

And yes, that's Zipp's all-new logo. Let us know your thoughts in the comments (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Another look at Zipp's new polarising logo (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening weekend tech

Mitchelton-Scott, also using disc brakes, were using Pirello Velo tubular tyres (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

X Marks the spot for mechanics, making life even easier to find the valve on these tubular S-Works Turbo tubular tyres (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

The same tyres were pumped to a somewhat smooth 80psi (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

NTT Pro Cycling's riders were seen using Vittoria's Corsa Control tyres in 25mm width (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Tubeless set up doesn't always go completely smoothly (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

EF Pro Cycling were also using Corsa Control tyres, however they'd opted for the slightly wider 28mm (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Danny Van Poppel was also using 28mm tyres, although tubular was his preference (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

With the cobblestones come potential Di2 issues, so some teams had zip tied the e-tube cable in place to reduce risks (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Others used a tidier looking rubber-band approach (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Jasper Stuyven used rubber bands for something different - grippers for his bottle cages (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Van Poppel's Circus - Wanty Gobert team took it a step further, using metal bottle cages for greater bottle-retention (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

As is expected, chain catchers featured heavily over Opening Weekend as a precaution against the cobbles (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

K-Edge Pro was the chain catcher of choice (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Team Ineos were taking no chances either on the cobbled sectors (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening weekend tech

With such a complex and windy day ahead, Ben Swift's Garmin had nothing but a map displayed (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Greg Van Avermaet and his CCC Team prepared for the weather better than most, adding a Giant SpeedShield fender to the underside of his saddle (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

CCC Team were also kitted out in on-brand overshoes from Exteondo (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Bahrain McLaren's new kit sponsor Le Col provided the team with dry feet for the day (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Bahrain McLaren's Marcel Sieberg used a Rudy Project helmet cover to stay dry at the start (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend tech

Yet despite the weather, aero mitts are still important to some riders (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Ever-stylish Bora-Hansgrohe used team-branded Velotoze overshoes (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening weekend tech

Ryan Mullen, along with most of the Trek-Segafredo's team were also wearing rain-ready overshoes (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Many of the Trek-Segafredo team had hacked Shimano sprint shifters to be used with their Sram eTap shifters (Image credit: Josh Croxton)


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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

An example of the contrasting chainring combos in the EF Pro Cycling ranks - in this case, aero FSA chainrings complete with a Power2Max power meter (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening weekend tech

Not a luxury Movistar's Jürgen Roelandts had available. He was using Sram's eTap blips on the underside of his handlebars (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Bora-Hansgrohe mechanics had a hack of their own - drilling out a Pro Vibe Sprint faceplate to be used with the Venge stem's out-front mount (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Groupama-FDJ mechanics did a good job of hiding the 3T branding from this stem, but you can't hide the conspicuous reverse-entry bolts on the Apto (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

They weren't the only ones at it. Team Sunweb mechanics had scratched the logo from Søren Kragh Anderson's saddle (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

No such issue for Cullaigh, who is using Fizik's new 3D-printed perch (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

We're unsure what RF stands for - hopefully it's rocket fuel. (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

For extra comfort, Rowe's handlebars are wrapped right to the stem (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Aquaproof paste, designed for screwthreads, seat tubes and headsets, was applied to NTT Pro Cycling's chains at the start of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

FSA and other hard-to-see sponsors have recently taken to adding logos to increase brand visibility (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Prologo are doing the same to make known its inclusion in the WorldTour (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

A trend is growing in the peloton. We're coining it #AeroHoods. Victor Campanaerts was doing it at the UAE Tour, and Michael Valgren is up to the same tricks (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Bora-Hansgrohe riders are getting involved - albeit not quite to the same extent (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

But this week's winner goes to Pascal Eenkhoorn. Still, no one beats Jan-Willem van Schip. (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Rate-my-stem-notes entry one: Sunweb. Where do you put your race notes when you've not got one? Here's Sunweb's very untidy answer - 3/10 (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Movistar: Cullaigh's is a more traditional print-and-tape approach with a nice touch of colour, although small writing could be difficult over cobbles - 6/10 (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Lotto Soudal: A waterproof sticker for Philippe Gilbert, points for the use of available space, but the writing is still too small and wordy - 7/10 (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Lotto Soudal: A similar sticky label for Degenkolb, but with the omission of the waterproofing, rain has already started to wreak havoc. Disaster - 2/10 (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

NTT Pro Cycling keep things simple with the use of symbols, but points docked for size and the use of handwriting - 6/10 (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening weekend tech

Team Ineos take presentation to the next level, but the top tube is not a place for stem-notes - 0/10 (Image credit: Josh Croxton)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Ben Swift had even added an extra sharpie-marked sheet of fabric taped to his stem - interesting - 4/10 (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

One benefit of riders using such long stems is plenty of detail can be added (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Of the 25 teams present, just five chose to ride rim-brake bikes including UAE Team Emirates (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

There was a fair bit of custom graphics in display too. Here Greg Van Avermaet's downtube in symbolic form: the Rio Olympics, Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

GVA: you know, just in case somebody confuses their gold-painted Giant TCR Disc with Greg's (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

There was an array of chainring options on display but the majority of the field used a maximum 54T big ring (Image credit: Aaron Borill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

EF Pro Cycling had a mix of chainring options on offer but the Spidering is still our favourite (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

EF's new Supersix Evo liveries attracted crowds in their droves (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Speaking of power meters, the Factor O2's of Israel Start-Up Nation all feature 4iiii Dura Ace 9100 Precision Pro Dual Sided Power Meter (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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Opening Weekend Tech gallery

Lotto Soudal's Ridley bikes looking resplendent with their SRM-equipped Campagnolo cranksets (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Racing in the 2020 WorldTour season has been underway for around six weeks already since it began at the Tour Down Under, but two back-to-back days of racing at Opening Weekend in Belgium, consisting of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne are considered by many to be the true start of the racing season. February in Belgium, with its wintery conditions and cobbled brutality, is a prime testing ground to see how hardware is likely to cope with the season ahead, so it's often used by teams to trial new kit before the upcoming bigger Spring Classics.

With the weather forecast looking ominous, it was unsurprising to see teams and riders taking advantage of their sponsors' wet-and-cold weather gear, with overshoes, gloves and winter jackets - much to Jonas Rutsch's demise - being common sight at the startlines. 

Tubular vs tubeless - the debate continues

Wheel and tyre choice was always going to be important for such an arduous day in the saddle. There was a pretty even split in terms of tubular and tubeless tyres but what was clearly evident was the open experimentation with both tyres formats among all teams. Bahrain McLaren kept things tubular for the most part, but two of the seven riders, Heinrich Haussler and Fred Wright, were trialling tubeless tyres. The nervous neo-pro Wright told Cyclingnews he had been given free rein to decide his choice of tyre technology ahead of his first WorldTour Classic and had been impressed with the Continental GP5000-TL tyres during training.

Disc brakes reign supreme, but the rim brake isn't dead

On Saturday, both the men's and women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad races were won aboard disc-brake-equipped bikes; Annemiek van Vleuten soloed to success aboard her Mitchelton Scott team's Scott Addict RC disc before Jasper Stuyven got the better of Yves Lampaert aboard his Trek Madone SLR disc. On Sunday, Kasper Asgreen followed in Bob Jungels' 2019 success with an impressive solo victory at Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne aboard the Specialized S-Works Venge Disc. 

The trend at Opening Weekend, however, was considerably in favour of the disc brake bike. Of the 25 men's teams that lined up for the start of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne just five called upon the services of rim-brake actuation, including UAE Team EmiratesAG2R La Mondiale and Team Ineos.

However, proving that rim brakes aren't dead just yet, Lorena Wiebes upset the applecart with a win at Omloop van het Hageland aboard her rim-brake-equipped Factor One.

Complex courses, simple minds

With the complexity of a 200km one-day race that traverses many of the same roads on multiple occasions, it's unsurprising that riders, who are regularly riding at - or above - their limit, employ tactics that provide instructions and help along the way. Most riders were seen using stem notes - created with varying degrees of professionalism - while others opted to use their GPS computers to provide map data and instructions. 

Scroll through the gallery above for a look at the best of the Opening Weekend's tech, trends and a smattering of the mechanics' hacks for good measure.