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Race tech: Giro d'Italia time trial bikes

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This year's Giro d'Italia kicked off with a 21.7km-long team time trial around the streets of Belfast in Northern Ireland. The roads were wet, the rain was sputtering, and the winds were whipping about but that didn't keep teams from cracking out their full-blown aero machinery. Take a look at some of the bikes that the riders used today

This year's Giro d'Italia kicked off with a 21.7km-long team time trial around the streets of Belfast in Northern Ireland. The roads were wet, the rain was sputtering, and the winds were whipping about but that didn't keep teams from cracking out their full-blown aero machinery. Take a look at some of the bikes that the riders used today (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This wiring may not be completely hidden but it's quite neat nonetheless and still allows easy access to the charge port

This wiring may not be completely hidden but it's quite neat nonetheless and still allows easy access to the charge port (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The latest Lapierre Aerostorm chassis uses direct-mount Shimano Dura-Ace brakes out back…

The latest Lapierre Aerostorm chassis uses direct-mount Shimano Dura-Ace brakes out back… (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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…and integrated linear-pull ones up front

…and integrated linear-pull ones up front (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Europcar made use of Colnago K.Zeros for the opening round of the Giro d'Italia. This one belongs to Japanese rider Yukiya Arashiro

Europcar made use of Colnago K.Zeros for the opening round of the Giro d'Italia. This one belongs to Japanese rider Yukiya Arashiro (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The cable is fed into the side of the linear-pull front brake caliper on Europcar's Colnago K.Zero

The cable is fed into the side of the linear-pull front brake caliper on Europcar's Colnago K.Zero (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Relatively short extensions for Europcar rider Yukiya Arashiro

Relatively short extensions for Europcar rider Yukiya Arashiro (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The forward-mounted bolts on the Colnago K.Zero seatpost clamp might not be as sleek as rear-mounted ones but in this orientation, the frame isn't ruined if you strip out some threads

The forward-mounted bolts on the Colnago K.Zero seatpost clamp might not be as sleek as rear-mounted ones but in this orientation, the frame isn't ruined if you strip out some threads (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lampre-Merida's Merida Warp TT. Recognize any familiar cues? We're not saying that Merida copied anyone, mind you, but time trial bikes are rapidly approaching parity in many aspects of their shape and design concepts

Lampre-Merida's Merida Warp TT. Recognize any familiar cues? We're not saying that Merida copied anyone, mind you, but time trial bikes are rapidly approaching parity in many aspects of their shape and design concepts (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Brakes tucked underneath the chain stays allow for shaping like this

Brakes tucked underneath the chain stays allow for shaping like this (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Merida Warp TT stem's open bottom provides a handy exit point for cables and wires

The Merida Warp TT stem's open bottom provides a handy exit point for cables and wires (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Bianchi's D2 time trial bike normally has a fork with linear-pull brakes mounted behind the crown…

Bianchi's D2 time trial bike normally has a fork with linear-pull brakes mounted behind the crown… (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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FDJ.fr used Lapierre's recently revamped Aerostorm for the opening time trial

FDJ.fr used Lapierre's recently revamped Aerostorm for the opening time trial (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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You know, just in case the FDJ.fr guys need a little motivation

You know, just in case the FDJ.fr guys need a little motivation (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Is this a new saddle from Selle Italia? Sure looks that way

Is this a new saddle from Selle Italia? Sure looks that way (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Katusha sponsor Canyon is another manufacturer that has managed to tuck away the brakes inside the chassis

Katusha sponsor Canyon is another manufacturer that has managed to tuck away the brakes inside the chassis (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Canyon provided this custom painted Aeroad CF to Katusha rider Daniel Moreno to celebrate his win at Fleche Wallonne in 2013. Moreno used this bike just to warm up today, of course

Canyon provided this custom painted Aeroad CF to Katusha rider Daniel Moreno to celebrate his win at Fleche Wallonne in 2013. Moreno used this bike just to warm up today, of course (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Wilco Kelderman's (Belkin) Bianchi D2

Wilco Kelderman's (Belkin) Bianchi D2 (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Belkin's Bianchi D2 time trial bikes have a few interesting details, such as the portholes in the chain stays and the reverse-mounted linear-pull brakes that are tucked away behind the fork blades

Belkin's Bianchi D2 time trial bikes have a few interesting details, such as the portholes in the chain stays and the reverse-mounted linear-pull brakes that are tucked away behind the fork blades (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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These 25mm-wide tires may have come in handy for the Belkin team as they traversed Belfast's wet roads

These 25mm-wide tires may have come in handy for the Belkin team as they traversed Belfast's wet roads (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Tinkoff-Saxo's Specialized S-Works Shiv

Tinkoff-Saxo's Specialized S-Works Shiv (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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These brakes were once encased in a giant 'nosecone' - that is, until the UCI deemed it illegal for competition

These brakes were once encased in a giant 'nosecone' - that is, until the UCI deemed it illegal for competition (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Tinkoff-Saxo's fleet just before the start of the opening team time trial

Tinkoff-Saxo's fleet just before the start of the opening team time trial (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Compact U-brakes are set below the chain stays on Tinkoff-Saxo's Specialized S-Works Shiv time trial bikes

Compact U-brakes are set below the chain stays on Tinkoff-Saxo's Specialized S-Works Shiv time trial bikes (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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However, Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team bikes used standard forks (whose paint jobs didn't even match) and conventional front brake calipers for the time trial

However, Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team bikes used standard forks (whose paint jobs didn't even match) and conventional front brake calipers for the time trial (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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fi'zi:k's new Tritone TT/Tri saddle features a virtually nonexistent nose and a deep central channel

fi'zi:k's new Tritone TT/Tri saddle features a virtually nonexistent nose and a deep central channel (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Aerobars can be awfully busy pieces of real estate

Aerobars can be awfully busy pieces of real estate (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Domenico Pozzovivo's (Ag2r-La Mondiale) Focus Izalco Chrono

Domenico Pozzovivo's (Ag2r-La Mondiale) Focus Izalco Chrono (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This type of seat cluster shaping is now very commonly used by multiple manufacturers

This type of seat cluster shaping is now very commonly used by multiple manufacturers (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Colombia team used these brightly colors Wilier Triestina TwinBlades

The Colombia team used these brightly colors Wilier Triestina TwinBlades (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Wilier Triestina TwinBlade certainly has a uniquely shaped front end

The Wilier Triestina TwinBlade certainly has a uniquely shaped front end (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rear brakes are tucked underneath the chain stays on the Wilier Triestina TwinBlade

Rear brakes are tucked underneath the chain stays on the Wilier Triestina TwinBlade (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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So if time trial bikes are so aerodynamic, that should mean they have less of an impact on a car's fuel economy than a standard road bike when mounted on the roof, right?

So if time trial bikes are so aerodynamic, that should mean they have less of an impact on a car's fuel economy than a standard road bike when mounted on the roof, right? (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Lotto-Belisol rider had some Lizard Skins DSP handlebar tape applied to his Look KéO Blade pedal, likely to provide a more solid interface

This Lotto-Belisol rider had some Lizard Skins DSP handlebar tape applied to his Look KéO Blade pedal, likely to provide a more solid interface (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lotto-Belisol's K-Edge chain catchers have SRM magnets attached to an adjustable stalks on their ends

Lotto-Belisol's K-Edge chain catchers have SRM magnets attached to an adjustable stalks on their ends (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Another team running wider tires - but on narrow rims

Another team running wider tires - but on narrow rims (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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BMC didn't just cordon off an area for its riders. It created a virtual compound that was bordered by team vehicles

BMC didn't just cordon off an area for its riders. It created a virtual compound that was bordered by team vehicles (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Although they weren't going to be used that day, most teams nonetheless had their road bikes on display

Although they weren't going to be used that day, most teams nonetheless had their road bikes on display (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rigoberto Uran's (Saxo-Tinkoff) spare time trial bike sits atop the team car

Rigoberto Uran's (Saxo-Tinkoff) spare time trial bike sits atop the team car (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Astana also uses Specialized S-Works Shiv time trial bikes

Astana also uses Specialized S-Works Shiv time trial bikes (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Giant-Shimano's Trinity Advanced SL was groundbreaking several years ago but is due for a redesign. The handsome paint jobs keep these samples looking quite fresh, though

Giant-Shimano's Trinity Advanced SL was groundbreaking several years ago but is due for a redesign. The handsome paint jobs keep these samples looking quite fresh, though (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rigoberto Uran's (Saxo-Tinkoff) Specialized S-Works Shiv

Rigoberto Uran's (Saxo-Tinkoff) Specialized S-Works Shiv (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ivan Basso's (Cannondale) spare Cannondale Slice sits atop the team car. Thankfully for Basso and his team, it wasn't needed today

Ivan Basso's (Cannondale) spare Cannondale Slice sits atop the team car. Thankfully for Basso and his team, it wasn't needed today (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The profiled spider hugs the end of the Cannondale Hollowgram SiSL 2 crankarm

The profiled spider hugs the end of the Cannondale Hollowgram SiSL 2 crankarm (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Clearance is tight on the Cannondale Slice front brake. Even if the Cannondale team wanted to use bigger tires, we're not sure they could

Clearance is tight on the Cannondale Slice front brake. Even if the Cannondale team wanted to use bigger tires, we're not sure they could (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Bardiani CSF sponsor MCipollini doesn't actually make a dedicated time trial bike so the RB1000 model is adapted for the task

Bardiani CSF sponsor MCipollini doesn't actually make a dedicated time trial bike so the RB1000 model is adapted for the task (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Prologo's grippy CPC cover helps keep riders securely perched on the nose

Prologo's grippy CPC cover helps keep riders securely perched on the nose (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Bongiorno!

Bongiorno! (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Bardiani CSF was another team opting for wider 25mm tires but in this case, they're mounted to narrow Campagnolo rims

Bardiani CSF was another team opting for wider 25mm tires but in this case, they're mounted to narrow Campagnolo rims (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The opening team time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia started in the shadow of the Titanic Belfast building

The opening team time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia started in the shadow of the Titanic Belfast building (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Dan Martin's ill-fated Cervélo P5 just before the start of the team time trial. The Garmin-Sharp rider had high hopes of putting on a good show in front of the home crowd but sadly his Giro is over almost before it began

Dan Martin's ill-fated Cervélo P5 just before the start of the team time trial. The Garmin-Sharp rider had high hopes of putting on a good show in front of the home crowd but sadly his Giro is over almost before it began (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Dan Martin's (Garmin-Sharp) cockpit setup with narrow-set armrests atop the 3T integrated aerobars

Dan Martin's (Garmin-Sharp) cockpit setup with narrow-set armrests atop the 3T integrated aerobars (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Cervélo bucks the trend with a blunt-tailed stem that sits above the top tube

Cervélo bucks the trend with a blunt-tailed stem that sits above the top tube (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Garmin-Sharp team mechanics have devised a clever workaround for the Cervélo P5's Magura hydraulic brakes, which aren't technically compatible with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shift buttons. Unfortunately, though, this solution requires destroying a perfectly good Di2 TT lever in the process since it supposedly can't be done with a less expensive bar-end shifter

Garmin-Sharp team mechanics have devised a clever workaround for the Cervélo P5's Magura hydraulic brakes, which aren't technically compatible with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shift buttons. Unfortunately, though, this solution requires destroying a perfectly good Di2 TT lever in the process since it supposedly can't be done with a less expensive bar-end shifter (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Time trial bikes - especially ones with integrated brakes - are notorious for subpar braking performance on account of their convoluted internal routing. Cervélo's P5, however, gets around the problem by using specially made Magura fully hydraulic brakes that are far more tolerant of tight bends

Time trial bikes - especially ones with integrated brakes - are notorious for subpar braking performance on account of their convoluted internal routing. Cervélo's P5, however, gets around the problem by using specially made Magura fully hydraulic brakes that are far more tolerant of tight bends (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Cervélo P5 seatpost clamp is neatly integrated into the frame's shape

The Cervélo P5 seatpost clamp is neatly integrated into the frame's shape (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Garmin-Sharp says that Rotor now only provides solid outer chainrings, partially for stiffness but also to provide a bigger billboard for logos

Garmin-Sharp says that Rotor now only provides solid outer chainrings, partially for stiffness but also to provide a bigger billboard for logos (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Garmin-Sharp is on Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic transmissions pretty much exclusively

Garmin-Sharp is on Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic transmissions pretty much exclusively (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The main frame of the Cervélo P5 was supposedly designed to maintain aerodynamic performance when a water bottle is installed

The main frame of the Cervélo P5 was supposedly designed to maintain aerodynamic performance when a water bottle is installed (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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We've heard from reliable sources that these tires are actually rebadged Veloflex tubulars

We've heard from reliable sources that these tires are actually rebadged Veloflex tubulars (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Enormous Campagnolo Bora Ultra aero cranks for the Ag2r-La Mondiale squad

Enormous Campagnolo Bora Ultra aero cranks for the Ag2r-La Mondiale squad (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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While some riders go with standard handlebar tape, many others go the super grippy route

While some riders go with standard handlebar tape, many others go the super grippy route (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Most modern time trial bikes now feature these ultra-sleek profiles with stems that sit inline with the top tube. Note the complete absence of exposed cabling, too

Most modern time trial bikes now feature these ultra-sleek profiles with stems that sit inline with the top tube. Note the complete absence of exposed cabling, too (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Just a single layer of Lizard Skins' thinner DSP tape option for this Lotto-Belisol rider

Just a single layer of Lizard Skins' thinner DSP tape option for this Lotto-Belisol rider (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lotto-Belisol's Ridley Dean features some dramatic shaping in a quest for more speed. The radical fork blades are split lengthwise with a channel that supposedly pulls air away from the spinning wheel

Lotto-Belisol's Ridley Dean features some dramatic shaping in a quest for more speed. The radical fork blades are split lengthwise with a channel that supposedly pulls air away from the spinning wheel (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Drivetrains shift better when there's less flex in the system. Sandwich-type rear derailleur hangers that clamp the dropout in the center such as on this Ridley Dean certainly help

Drivetrains shift better when there's less flex in the system. Sandwich-type rear derailleur hangers that clamp the dropout in the center such as on this Ridley Dean certainly help (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Just like with Shimano's Di2 time trial system, Campagnolo EPS users can shift from both the base bar and the extensions

Just like with Shimano's Di2 time trial system, Campagnolo EPS users can shift from both the base bar and the extensions (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This is about as tidy as you can get

This is about as tidy as you can get (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ag2r-La Mondiale uses these Focus Izalco Chrono machines, which were just formally launched in July 2013

Ag2r-La Mondiale uses these Focus Izalco Chrono machines, which were just formally launched in July 2013 (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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As is currently the fashion, the Focus Izalco Chrono features linear-pull brakes that are blended into the fork blades up front and hidden below the chain stays out back

As is currently the fashion, the Focus Izalco Chrono features linear-pull brakes that are blended into the fork blades up front and hidden below the chain stays out back (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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It wasn't long ago that cabling such as this would be considered pretty clean. Nowadays, however, the ideal situation is to have everything completely tucked away inside

It wasn't long ago that cabling such as this would be considered pretty clean. Nowadays, however, the ideal situation is to have everything completely tucked away inside (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Focus's Izalco Chrono is one of the latest time trial bikes to adopt the inline design concept

Focus's Izalco Chrono is one of the latest time trial bikes to adopt the inline design concept (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The ultra-clean front ends of Team Sky's Pinarello Bolide time trial bikes

The ultra-clean front ends of Team Sky's Pinarello Bolide time trial bikes (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team Sky doesn't just tap FMB for tires when the cobbled classics loom

Team Sky doesn't just tap FMB for tires when the cobbled classics loom (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Race rules require that all team time trial bikes have identical paint jobs. That means special treatments such as color accents for national champions are relegated to the top of the team car

Race rules require that all team time trial bikes have identical paint jobs. That means special treatments such as color accents for national champions are relegated to the top of the team car (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The end result of many modern top-end time trial bikes are visually sleek and tidy but getting to that point usually requires quite a bit of work

The end result of many modern top-end time trial bikes are visually sleek and tidy but getting to that point usually requires quite a bit of work (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Trek's Speed Concept was one of the first modern time trial machines to fully hide away the brakes inside the structure

Trek's Speed Concept was one of the first modern time trial machines to fully hide away the brakes inside the structure (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Orica-GreenEdge's Scott Plasma time trial bike looks brilliant against the (temporarily) Irish blue sky with its fetching black, white, and green paint

Orica-GreenEdge's Scott Plasma time trial bike looks brilliant against the (temporarily) Irish blue sky with its fetching black, white, and green paint (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The chain stays on Orica-GreenEdge's Scott Plasma hug the sides of the wheel before kicking out to the dropout

The chain stays on Orica-GreenEdge's Scott Plasma hug the sides of the wheel before kicking out to the dropout (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The tight confines of this pocket mean that Orica-GreenEdge mechanics have to use previous-generation Shimano Dura-Ace brake calipers

The tight confines of this pocket mean that Orica-GreenEdge mechanics have to use previous-generation Shimano Dura-Ace brake calipers (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Orica-GreenEdge set out to win the opening team time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia and made good on that goal

Orica-GreenEdge set out to win the opening team time trial of this year's Giro d'Italia and made good on that goal (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The tidy front end of the Scott Plasma was a joint development with Shimano

The tidy front end of the Scott Plasma was a joint development with Shimano (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Orica-GreenEdge's Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 batteries are attached to custom mounts behind the saddle

Orica-GreenEdge's Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 batteries are attached to custom mounts behind the saddle (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team mechanics fashioned this pedestal clock so that riders could keep an eye on the time during warmup

Team mechanics fashioned this pedestal clock so that riders could keep an eye on the time during warmup (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Katusha's mean-looking Canyon Speedmax CF

Katusha's mean-looking Canyon Speedmax CF (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Trek Factory Team's Trek Speed Concepts are lined up for their pre-race warmup

Trek Factory Team's Trek Speed Concepts are lined up for their pre-race warmup (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team Sky warms up on Wahoo Fitness electromagnetic KICKR trainers

Team Sky warms up on Wahoo Fitness electromagnetic KICKR trainers (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Race rules require that all team time trial bikes have identical paint jobs. That means special treatments such as color accents for national champions are relegated to the top of the team car

Race rules require that all team time trial bikes have identical paint jobs. That means special treatments such as color accents for national champions are relegated to the top of the team car (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team Sky's army of Pinarello Bolides at the ready

Team Sky's army of Pinarello Bolides at the ready (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team Sky is using Wahoo KICKR digital trainers this year

Team Sky is using Wahoo KICKR digital trainers this year (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The front and rear brakes of Team Sky's Pinarello Bolide time trial bikes hide behind smoothly profiled shrouds. How the rear qualifies as a structural element - a requirement by UCI rules - isn't immediately obvious

The front and rear brakes of Team Sky's Pinarello Bolide time trial bikes hide behind smoothly profiled shrouds. How the rear qualifies as a structural element - a requirement by UCI rules - isn't immediately obvious (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Is this a team pit area or a fun house? Sometimes it's hard to tell, depending on your perspective

Is this a team pit area or a fun house? Sometimes it's hard to tell, depending on your perspective (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The custom integrated aerobars on Team Sky's time trial bikes are remarkably smooth

The custom integrated aerobars on Team Sky's time trial bikes are remarkably smooth (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Just basic strips of friction tape for Team Sky's time trial bikes

Just basic strips of friction tape for Team Sky's time trial bikes (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Shimano offers two different types of Dura-Ace Di2 bar-end shifters: ones with two buttons each for shifting the front and rear derailleur, and others with just one button each to control just the rear shifting. After all, if you have to resort to the inner chainring in most Grand Tour time trials, something has gone horribly wrong

Shimano offers two different types of Dura-Ace Di2 bar-end shifters: ones with two buttons each for shifting the front and rear derailleur, and others with just one button each to control just the rear shifting. After all, if you have to resort to the inner chainring in most Grand Tour time trials, something has gone horribly wrong (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Sky's custom base bars feature integrated levers and dedicated pockets for the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 buttons

Sky's custom base bars feature integrated levers and dedicated pockets for the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 buttons (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Team Sky rider Ben Swift uses this homebuilt solution to help him stay on the nose of the saddle

Team Sky rider Ben Swift uses this homebuilt solution to help him stay on the nose of the saddle (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Yet another stem sitting inline with the top tube

Yet another stem sitting inline with the top tube (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

This year's Giro d'Italia kicked off with a 21.7km team time trial around the streets of Belfast in Northern Ireland. The roads were wet, the rain was sputtering, and the winds were whipping about, but that didn't keep teams from cracking out their full-blown aero machinery. Take a look at some of the bikes that the riders used today.

Click here for our gallery.