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Tech gallery: custom and non-standard gear at the 103rd Giro d'Italia

Giro custom tech
(Image credit: Getty Images)

At the beginning of this year's Giro d'Italia, EF Education First made waves with its Rapha X Palace collaboration. Fans have almost universally given these kits the tick of approval, even inspiring Belgian graphic designer Stijn Dossche to provide the entire WorldTour peloton makeover in a Twitter thread that has gone viral. However, the UCI didn't agree, slapping the American team with a 4,500CHF fine for wearing an unregistered kit, which, beyond all of the press it has earned the team, may have been chosen in part to alleviate the Maillot Jaune/Jumbo-Vismo camouflage at the Tour de France. 

While national champion and leader jerseys are registered, there are plenty of non-standard bits of kit rolling around in the professional peloton. Whether it's helmets and sunglasses colour-coordinated with leaders' jerseys or custom-painted shoes and head units, riders (or more than likely the brands who provide their gear) will take any opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Helmets

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Giro custom tech

It's not just the EF's jerseys, their POC helmets have received the Palace treatment too (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

Peter Sagan didn't have the full blue kit when he wore the KOM jersey... (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

But he fully embraced the Maglia Ciclamino (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro Gallery

Joao Almeida on the other hand went from purple... (Image credit: Getty Images)
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Giro custom tech

to white... (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

And then to all pink everything. Clearly Deceuninck–Quick-Step came to the Giro prepared for anything (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

FDJ had both the Giro Vanquish and Aether in purple ready to roll for Arnaud Demare (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

Filippo Ganna went from a full pink setup to blue (Image credit: Getty)

The rolling service course that teams bring to WorldTour races is impressive. In fact, between the wheelsets, replacements parts and tools, every team is also prepared with a few lids in the respective jersey colours for riders they expect to see leading a category — hence why you didn't see Peter Sagan fully embrace the blue hue of the Maglia Azzurra when he held the jersey on Stage 3 but has since moved onto his best impression of a purple people eater in this year's Maglia Ciclamino. That said, some teams seem to come with a full wardrobe of kits in the event one of their riders manages to bag a particular jersey. 

Occasionally we see riders with custom painted helmets other than as a part of National Champion kits, though the iconic Red Bull (or insert other energy drink sponsor) lids have yet to permeate the WorldTour peloton, despite a select few road pros such as Wout Van Aert and Chloe Dygert earning their wings. 

Parts and accessories

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Giro custom tech

Joao Almeida's pink Wahoo Elemnt Roam is one of a kind (for now) (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

It appears its unique hue is actually a sticker — look around the far edge of the screen. That said, it's nice touch for sponsor and rider alike (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

Purple jersey, check. Purple helmet, check. Purple Boa dials, check. Purple bar tape, sort of. (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

The zipper pull on all the leaders jerseys is a miniature Trofea Senza Fine (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

Some teams go all out when their riders have a leaders jersey, while other teams are less enthusiastic (Image credit: Getty Images)

Shoes

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Giro custom tech

A tech gallery that talks about shoes wouldn't be complete without Adam Hansen's homemade full carbon kicks. There appears to be a Leomo motion analytics box on his toe, but is it aero? (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

The carbon outer shoe of the Mavic Comete Ultimate II shoes make them ripe for custom paint jobs, this pair are attached to the feet of Geoffrey Bouchard (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

Even Diego Ulissi's Boa dials were purple when he wore the jersey (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

Andrea Vendrame was sporting red and blue Boas on his Gaerne shoes (Image credit: Getty)

Every rider has different feet, and just because a team has a shoe sponsor, it doesn't mean they will work for the said rider. With that, we have seen everything from lycra shoe covers that look like the sponsor correct kicks, to riders slicing up shoes to make them fit their feet. Some brands will even go as far as making one-off custom boots for specific riders to keep them sponsor correct. 

Shoes have proved to be an interesting pace for riders to express themselves. Beyond just the multi-coloured Boa dials that have become commonplace, Geoffrey Bouchard's custom-painted Mavic Comete Ultimate II shoes are the most eye-catching we have seen in this year's Giro.

Bikes

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Giro custom tech

It's still early in the Giro, but so far Filippo Ganna is the only rider we have spotted on a pink bike (Image credit: Getty)
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Giro custom tech

Of course, it's nothing compared to the TT bike he rode on stage 1 (Image credit: Getty)
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EF x Palace

While the EF Palace bikes are technically team issue, they are still pretty darn cool (Image credit: Getty Images)

Beyond EF Pro Cycling's Palace-inspired crazy Cannondales, it seems like the wildly customised bikes from only a few seasons ago have mostly gone out of fashion this year — even Peter Sagan is riding a rather stealth-looking black bike. 

It wouldn't be a Grand Tour without GC contenders on specially painted bikes, but for this year's Giro, it appears Ineos is the only team to rush out a pink bike for Filippo Ganna when he had the jersey, but even that was just a stripe. The exception to the rule was Gold time trial bike Ganna rode on stage won, but we will concede that's not exactly apples to apples given he'd just won the World Championship, and it was also the first stage. Only time will tell if we will see someone go full flamingo before the end of the race. 

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