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Robert Gesink’s Tour de France Bianchi Specialissima

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Robert Gesink's Bianchi Specialissima

Robert Gesink's Bianchi Specialissima (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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The fleet of Bianchi's at the LottoNL-Jumbo team bus

The fleet of Bianchi's at the LottoNL-Jumbo team bus (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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A San Marco saddle attacked to a FSA K-Force seat post for Gesink. The black extension on the saddle is a Dimension Data GPS transponder which is a feature on all bikes at this year's race

A San Marco saddle attacked to a FSA K-Force seat post for Gesink. The black extension on the saddle is a Dimension Data GPS transponder which is a feature on all bikes at this year's race (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Gesink's transponder is both zip tied and duct tapped to the frame

Gesink's transponder is both zip tied and duct tapped to the frame (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Gesink was on C35 wheels for the mountainous stage 19

Gesink was on C35 wheels for the mountainous stage 19 (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Full Shimano Di2 Dura Ace for Gesink with a Pioneer power meter capturing all necessary data

Full Shimano Di2 Dura Ace for Gesink with a Pioneer power meter capturing all necessary data (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Robert Gesink is rider number 131 in the 2015 Tour de France

Robert Gesink is rider number 131 in the 2015 Tour de France (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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There were team decals on the front and rear hubs

There were team decals on the front and rear hubs (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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The Bianchi emblem

The Bianchi emblem (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Robert Gesink's Bianchi Specialissima at the LotoNL-Jumbo team bus

Robert Gesink's Bianchi Specialissima at the LotoNL-Jumbo team bus (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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No confusion over who this bike belong to

No confusion over who this bike belong to (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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The Specialissima can also run mechanical cables

The Specialissima can also run mechanical cables (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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It's a full FSA cockpit for Gesink

It's a full FSA cockpit for Gesink (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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(Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Specialissima is the Italian company's new showcase bike

Specialissima is the Italian company's new showcase bike (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Shimano Dura Ace Di2 is the drive train of choice for Gesink

Shimano Dura Ace Di2 is the drive train of choice for Gesink (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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(Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Gesink was running a 53-38 for stage 19

Gesink was running a 53-38 for stage 19 (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Gesink was running a 53-38 for stage 19

Gesink was running a 53-38 for stage 19 (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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Mechanics try and make the cables as neat and clean as posibble

Mechanics try and make the cables as neat and clean as posibble (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)
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A yellow Pioneer power meter head unit to match the yellow of the team kit

A yellow Pioneer power meter head unit to match the yellow of the team kit (Image credit: Zeb Woodpower & Stephen Farrand)

Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) is using the new Bianchi Specialissima lightweight bike in the Alpine stages of the Tour de France as he fights to defend his sixth place in the overall classification.

The new climbing bike was first spotted at Fleche-Wallonne in the spring and was officially presented in June and only Gesink and Steven Kruijswijk have the special bike for the decisive mountain stages of the Tour de France. Other riders are using the Oltre XR2 bikes. Cyclingnews was given special access to the bike before the start of stage 19 to La Toussuire and captured this photo gallery of the celeste coloured bike.

The Bianchi Specialissima has a new formulation of the patented Countervail technology secured from US composites group MSC. The Specialissima retains the damping qualities of the Bianchi Infinito’s Countervail composition used for the cobbles but increases stiffness, Bianchi says, to create a bike that’s all about handling prowess downhill, and reactive acceleration going up.

The key goals in the Specialissima's design were were reduction and rigidity. Bianchi tested a number of lightweight framesets and found that trading stability in favour of lightness can create a bike with nervous handling traits when descending. By using the Countervail material Bianchi still gets the weight down to a very respectable 780g (in a 55cm frame), with a matching Countervail-infused fork adding 340g. Bianchi claims the Countervail makes the Specialissima ascend with urgency but descend better than any comparable lightweight race machine.

A complete 57cm bike with Campagnolo Super Record EPS weighed 6.19kg, and the mechanical version just 6.08kg. Gesink uses the electronic version. He has to respect the UCI minimal weight of 6.8kg for racing and his Pioneeer power metre/computer help add the extra grammes.

The Specialissima frame has a cleaner, simpler look than the Italian brand's Oltre model. The tubes have a subtle diamond shaped cross-section. The top tube tapers and narrows where it meets the 27.2 seat post, the bottom bracket shell is built to accept a press fit 86.5 x 41 BB, and the sharply tapering chain stays flow into carbon dropouts with alloy inserts.

Up front, the tapered 1 1/8in-to-1 1/4in head tube borrows heavily from the aerodynamic lessons learnt from the Aquila, with the head tube showing a slight arrowhead shape and the flush-form fitting smooth integration of the fork adding another nod to cheating the wind.