The Tour de France has always been a showcase for the latest bikes, wheels and other cycling hardware, as brands vie for the eyes of the biggest annual sporting event in the world. Alongside the hardware, teams and riders have sponsors for shoes, helmets, sunglasses and other accessories, alongside the latest clothing technology.
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In the modern era of the sport, no stone is left unturned in the search for the smallest of gains; we are in an age of aero helmets, aero shoes and even aero computers.
Shoes and sunglasses are two of the items that commonly get the custom treatment, and the Tour de France is no different.
Some riders opt for a simple change of Boa colours, such as Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) who is now sporting yellow versions perhaps in a nod to his stage 1 success.
Other riders take their customisation to the extreme, such as Teunissen's teammate George Bennett, who is wearing some stunning custom Shimano S-Phyre RC9 shoes, designed by his girlfriend Caitlin Fielder, an artist who has also designed shoes for Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Estaban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott).
It's not uncommon for world, European and national champions, and classification leaders, to wear team-issued custom clothing and accessories.
Current European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) is wearing custom Sidi Shot shoes, and Alejandro Valverde has rainbow stripes adorning almost every item of clothing, component and accessory – largely from Italian brand Fizik.
Traditionalists may loathe the use of aerodynamic socks but a number of WorldTour teams now use them to save an extra few watts. As pioneers of the marginal gains mentality, it's little surprise that Team Ineos are one of the teams to utilise the technology. AG2R La Mondiale and Lotto Soudal are among the others.
Sponsors, look away
Sometimes, riders don't get along with their sponsors' kit, usually resulting in modification.
Check out what Andrey Amador (Movistar Team) has done to his shoes. Occasionally, however, no amount of modification will do and riders will outright use another brand. In a bid not to upset those who pay them, riders will go to great lengths to hide what they are using, sometimes even with the help of the very sponsor they're choosing not to wear. For example, early-race Polka-Dot jersey wearer Tim Wellens is using a pair of Gaerne branded lycra oversocks, over what look to be a pair of Specialized S-Works 7 shoes.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at some of the shoes, sunglasses, helmets and more on display at the 2019 Tour de France.
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