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Pro bike: Marco Pinotti's HTC-Columbia Scott Plasma 3

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Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3 is still undergoing final testing before being released as a production model.

Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3 is still undergoing final testing before being released as a production model. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) is using a HED Stinger Disc.

Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) is using a HED Stinger Disc. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Crowds gather around the menacing front end of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3.

Crowds gather around the menacing front end of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Like many Shimano-sponsored pros in this year's Giro d'Italia, Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) is using the company's latest carbon-bodied Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals.

Like many Shimano-sponsored pros in this year's Giro d'Italia, Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) is using the company's latest carbon-bodied Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A small patch of grip material is added to the fi'zi:k Ares saddle to keep Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) firmly in place.

A small patch of grip material is added to the fi'zi:k Ares saddle to keep Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) firmly in place. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The seat binder mechanism is well hidden so as not to disturb airflow. A bit of friction material is wedged in between the rear of the seatpost and the frame to prevent slipping.

The seat binder mechanism is well hidden so as not to disturb airflow. A bit of friction material is wedged in between the rear of the seatpost and the frame to prevent slipping. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This is one of the most striking views of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3, and air presumably passes cleanly through this area.

This is one of the most striking views of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3, and air presumably passes cleanly through this area. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Shimano's tidy Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifters mounted on both the extensions and base bars allow Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) to make gear changes from nearly any position.

Shimano's tidy Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifters mounted on both the extensions and base bars allow Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) to make gear changes from nearly any position. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The uncapped bars of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) spare rig show how the extensions and pads are attached to the base bar.

The uncapped bars of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) spare rig show how the extensions and pads are attached to the base bar. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The front end of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3 boasts clean lines for fast aerodynamics.

The front end of Marco Pinotti's (HTC-Columbia) Scott Plasma 3 boasts clean lines for fast aerodynamics. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Scott's still-in-development Plasma 3 features internal wire routing for a clean installation of Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group.

Scott's still-in-development Plasma 3 features internal wire routing for a clean installation of Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur mounts to a burly carbon bracket on the Scott Plasma 3 frame.

The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur mounts to a burly carbon bracket on the Scott Plasma 3 frame. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) is using PRO's new Missile Evo aerobar system on his Scott Plasma 3.

Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) is using PRO's new Missile Evo aerobar system on his Scott Plasma 3. (Image credit: James Huang)
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PRO provides the team with these pattern-matched decals to cover up unused mounting holes.

PRO provides the team with these pattern-matched decals to cover up unused mounting holes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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HTC-Columbia mechanics have mounted the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery underneath the saddle with a custom aluminum bracket.

HTC-Columbia mechanics have mounted the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery underneath the saddle with a custom aluminum bracket. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 brake caliper is well hidden behind the tall bottom bracket area.

The rear Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 brake caliper is well hidden behind the tall bottom bracket area. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Clearances are tight for the front brake.

Clearances are tight for the front brake. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Marco Pinotti's SRM PowerControl 7 computer is mounted at an awkward right angle.

Marco Pinotti's SRM PowerControl 7 computer is mounted at an awkward right angle. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ultra-stiff Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 chainrings are mounted to SRM's latest power meter.

Ultra-stiff Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 chainrings are mounted to SRM's latest power meter. (Image credit: James Huang)
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AceCo's K-Edge chain watcher has quickly become a mainstay for several teams.

AceCo's K-Edge chain watcher has quickly become a mainstay for several teams. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Setting the stem inline with the top tube has proven to be a popular design feature recently.

Setting the stem inline with the top tube has proven to be a popular design feature recently. (Image credit: James Huang)

Team HTC-Columbia is again using Scott Bicycles' Plasma 3 for this year's Giro d'Italia time trials after first introducing the new shape to the public at last year's event. Crafted with the help of former Formula 1 aerodynamicist Simon Smart and his team at UK-based Velo Science, Scott says the striking shape is better suited to time trialing than the previous Plasma 2.

One of the biggest changes is the much lower front end, complete with a Missile Evo integrated aero bar from team sponsor PRO and a menacing-looking stem positioned directly inline with the top tube. Lots of customization is built into the bar design, too, with multiple mounting holes for the extensions and arm rests, independently adjustable extension and arm rest heights, and three stem lengths.

Here, four-time Italian national time trial champion Marco Pinotti apparently prefers his base bar grips fairly low but his extensions significantly higher with narrowly spaced (just 19cm) elbow pads to yield level forearms.

Rather than use a separate nose cone or fork/stem extension as seen on early prototypes, Scott has instead opted for a more traditional hourglass-profile head tube and internal fork steerer that still minimizes frontal area but avoids any conflicts with the UCI's technical guidelines. And in fact, Scott marketing and public relations director Adrian Montgomery says the company has actually provided the sport's governing body with technical drawings at multiple stages of development in order to guarantee compliance.

The seat cluster sports a deep-profile seat tube that closely shadows the rear wheel and widely spaced seat stays that leave lots of room for air to pass cleanly through. Also helping the aero cause is the relocation of the rear brake to down near the bottom bracket, which includes press-fit bearing cups and especially tall junctures with the enormous down tube to provide good pedaling efficiency.

The chain stays are uniquely shaped, too, starting out very tall and narrow at the bottom bracket and closely following the sides of the rear wheel before making a quick jog towards the rear-entry carbon dropouts.

Up top is a telescoping aero-profile proprietary carbon fiber seatpost, held in place with a well integrated binder (plus a bit of friction material wedged in between the post and frame) and capped with a fi'zi:k Ares TT-specific saddle.

All of HTC-Columbia's Plasma 3s are fitted with Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group, whose multiple shift button positions likely came in handy through some of the twists and turns on the road into Cuneo. Fully internal routing – even right through the Missile Evo's base bar, extensions, and stem – helps maintain the frame's clean lines, too, and the team has even developed its own under-saddle battery mount to keep it tucked out of the wind and easily accessible when it comes time to recharge the Li-ion cells.

For Wednesday's fast run into Cuneo, Pinotti ran HED wheels front and rear, including a Stinger Disc and deep-section Stinger 9 front tubular, and 22mm-wide Continental tubulars at both ends.

Complete bike specifications: