Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) is within touching distance of taking the record for the most Tour de France stage victories in history.
While the Manxman is yet to get off of the mark at this year's Tour, the former world champion has been improving stage-by-stage and made a top-10 finish in the run-in to Chartres on stage 7 of the race.
The current record holder for Tour stage wins – 34 of them – is Eddy Merckx, who had a reputation for carrying a 5mm hex key in his jersey for on-the-fly bike-fit adjustments throughout his career.
Just four wins away from the Belgian's record, the similarities between the two riders are not limited to their Tour-stage-victory tallies. Like Merckx, Cavendish is a serial bike tinkerer and constantly adjusts his bike fit and setup on an almost daily basis.
Speaking to Cyclingnews ahead of stage six, Cavendish explained some of his reasoning behind the persistent adjustments, after being watched adjusting his handlebars meticulously with two mechanics on hand with hex keys and torque wrenches to lock in Cavendish's desired positioning.
The ENVE SES Aero road stem has an integrated out-front computer mount
"Your body changes from day to day, you know? Your body is shorter in the evening than it is in the morning," he explained. "It's nothing in particular that I change. It might just be a habit.
"Some people feel a difference, some people don't. I guess I've got less body – I'm so short – and I say that with my tongue in my cheek. It's sometimes the bars, sometimes the saddle just by a couple of millimetres day by day. If I have a bad mattress at a hotel, sometimes my back can be a little bit funny.
"I might be particular, and some people just get on with it, but I like to be comfortable."
Last year's Tour for Cavendish came to a, now infamous, early finish, after he collided with Peter Sagan in the finale of stage four of the race. As he did last year, Cavendish arrived at the 2018 Tour with a custom-painted Cervelo S5 frameset.
Various fades throughout the frameset include chrome, green, black and white, with contrasting decals and fine-finishing details throughout.
Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 levers control the shifting and braking
A Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 groupset provides the shifting and stopping for the Manxman, while Cavendish opts for a 54-tooth outer chainring on his Rotor 2InPower crankset.
Carbon components specialists ENVE finish Cavendish's bike with SES Aero carbon handlebars and stem, and 4.5 SES wheels, which Cavendish has used both in the standard team-issue version and his own set with custom decals to match the finish of his bike.
Cavendish's seat stays feature a chrome exterior while the inside is a white to green chrome fade
As with many sprinters at the top level of the sport, Cavendish runs satellite sprint shifters on his handlebar drops. But, while the common practice is to have the buttons on the inside of the drops, Cavendish runs his on the front, outer edge of the handlebars for use with his index fingers.
While other sprinters run satellite shifter buttons on the inside of the handlebar drops, Cavendish chooses to run them on the front curve for use with index fingers rather than thumbs
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a closer look at the former world champion's aero race bike.
Frame: Cervelo S5 in custom colours for Mark Cavendish
Fork: Cervelo S5 in custom colours for Mark Cavendish
Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100
Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 with satellite shifters
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100
Chain: KMC X11-SL Green
Crankset: Rotor 2InPower, 54/42
Wheelset: ENVE 4.5 SES with custom decals for Mark Cavendish
Tyres: Continental Competition ALX, 25mm tubular
Handlebars: ENVE SES Aero
Stem: ENVE SES Aero
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100
Seat post: Cervelo S-Series
Bottle cages: Elite Vico Carbon
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