The Tour Down Under was the first chance for riders to test and race on the latest kit, bikes and equipment. With all but the one wildcard team entry, the Tour Down Under peloton was racing in new team colours for the first time, with Trek-Segafredo only unveiling their new kit in the days leading up to the race. The new kits saw new colours, see-through shorts and some riders wearing Sportful's Fiandre winter range in the heat of the Australian summer.
The trend of the Tour Down Under in past years has been a chance for the WorldTour teams to showcase their full bikes for the upcoming season. However, with Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 series groupsets deliveries delayed, we only saw a scattering of the latest and greatest from Shimano on Team Sky, FDJ and Bahrain-Merida's bikes. Even so, not a single team had the full groupset and full delivery of the groupset to the teams is not expected until the spring Classics.
As well as the new groupset from Shimano, we had to wait until the final day of racing to get a glimpse of the new Dura-Ace 9100 wheels. Danny van Poppel was the only rider to use the wheels in the race and sprinted to fourth place in the final stage.
The strangest tech on show was without doubt Scott's new Revo Via chain lubricator. The device lubricates the chain continually whilst riding and although this may be useful during some of the wet and muddy spring Classics, the forty degree Celsius heat in Adelaide made the device a slight novelty and was not raced on. Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) joked before the race began by saying “the first thing Mat Hayman said when he crossed the line first in the Roubaix Velodrome was that his chain was too dry”.
Continuing the trend of novelty, Team Dimension Data were spotted racing on KMC's X11SL DLC chain in the team's green and black colours.
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LottoNL-Jumbo debuted the new Shimano S-Phyre clothing line, and although the S-Phyre shoes were first spotted at last year's Criterium du Dauphine, the whole team were equipped with the shoes paired with the 'integrated sock system' for added comfort. The team were also wearing Shimano eyewear as well as Lazer helmets, which were bought by Shimano Europe last year.
Team Sky were racing on the brand new Pinarello Dogma F10 and whilst each member of the team had the new frameset, there were several Dogma F8s from last season seen upon the team cars as spare bikes.
The opening stage of the Tour Down Under saw temperatures rise to the mid-forties. With this, several riders were spotted ahead of stage 1 with ice-vests, whilst other teams opted for the tried and tested ice cubes in stockings technique as they rolled out of the Adelaide suburbs. The bright sun and clear skies also gave some of the riders the chance to showcase their latest sunglasses. Peter Sagan had a new pair of 100% shades for each stage of the race and several riders were seen with custom painted frames from Optiek Van Gorp.
Quick-Step Floors' new signing, Jack Bauer managed to position himself in the breakaway on the final three stages of the race. The New Zealander was brought in to help replace Tony Martin, after the German's departure to Katusha-Alpecin. Whilst Bauer put in three stellar performances during the race, the team seem to want to remind him that he has replaced Martin by putting a German flag next to his name.
Specialized gave Peter Sagan an extensive collection of custom gear. Sagan's helmet and bike frame featured a pearlescent grey with a flash of the Bora-Hansgrohe green. Sagan also had custom white S-Works 6 shoes with gold BOAs and a pearlescent heel cup.
The luxury gear doesn't stop there. Riding for the UniSA-Australia wildcard team, Cam Meyer was seen using Lightweight Meilenstein Obermeyer wheels for the final three stages of the race and successfully made the breakaway in the first of those. Miles Scotson (BMC Racing) also had a touch of luxury, with TAG Heuer handing the 22-year old a special green and gold watch to celebrate his national's victory earlier in the month.
A tech gallery wouldn't be complete without some carbon curiosity from Adam Hansen. The Grand Tour veteran was seen wearing his homemade 'Hanseeno' branded shoes. Constructed from one piece of carbon and featuring just one BOA ratchet, the cleats are held in place by dyneema cord. Hansen's 2017 Ridley Helium SLX weighed in under the UCI weight limit and had to have weights stuck to the downtube of the frame.
We spotted plenty more tech at the start of the week including Peter Sagan's gold Roval wheels and Bahrain-Merida's custom SRM head units here and you can also take a look at our full gallery of all the WorldTour bikes for 2017.
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