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Tour tech: More custom bikes, kit for the world's best riders

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Evans' Silence-Lotto teammate Charlie Wegelius gets a pair of custom Gaernes, too.

Evans' Silence-Lotto teammate Charlie Wegelius gets a pair of custom Gaernes, too. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) celebrates his world championship win in Varese with these custom Diadoras.

Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) celebrates his world championship win in Varese with these custom Diadoras. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Nike finds room in its production line for a custom green pair for Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC).

Nike finds room in its production line for a custom green pair for Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cadel Evans' (Silence-Lotto) signature Gaerne G.Myst shoes are among the most easily recognizable in the peloton. The kangaroos say 'Australia' but the red, blue and yellow coloring calls attention to his support of the 'Free Tibet' movement.

Cadel Evans' (Silence-Lotto) signature Gaerne G.Myst shoes are among the most easily recognizable in the peloton. The kangaroos say 'Australia' but the red, blue and yellow coloring calls attention to his support of the 'Free Tibet' movement. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Zipp pays tribute to Christian Vande Velde's (Garmin-Slipstream) Chicago home base with a special set of wheel decals depicting the city skyline.

Zipp pays tribute to Christian Vande Velde's (Garmin-Slipstream) Chicago home base with a special set of wheel decals depicting the city skyline. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Alessandro Ballan isn't the only world champion competing in this year's Tour de France. Columbia-HTC's Bert Grabsch is the current world time trial champion and earns the right to don the rainbox stripes as well.

Alessandro Ballan isn't the only world champion competing in this year's Tour de France. Columbia-HTC's Bert Grabsch is the current world time trial champion and earns the right to don the rainbox stripes as well. (Image credit: James Huang)
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All of Columbia-HTC's bikes are identified with customized name decals for the riders (although we thought Cavendish's first name was spelled with a 'k', not a 'c').

All of Columbia-HTC's bikes are identified with customized name decals for the riders (although we thought Cavendish's first name was spelled with a 'k', not a 'c'). (Image credit: James Huang)
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Austrian Bernhard Eisel (Columbia-HTC) will play an important support role for the team in this year's Tour.

Austrian Bernhard Eisel (Columbia-HTC) will play an important support role for the team in this year's Tour. (Image credit: James Huang)
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George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) currently splits his time between Greenville, South Carolina and Girona, Spain but don't be fooled - he's a New Yorker in heart and heritage.

George Hincapie (Columbia-HTC) currently splits his time between Greenville, South Carolina and Girona, Spain but don't be fooled - he's a New Yorker in heart and heritage. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Columbia-HTC rider Kim Kirchen's frame decal bears the red lion of his home country, Luxembourg.

Columbia-HTC rider Kim Kirchen's frame decal bears the red lion of his home country, Luxembourg. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Columbia-HTC climber Maxime Monfort's logo features a wild boar.

Columbia-HTC climber Maxime Monfort's logo features a wild boar. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Aussie Mark Renshaw (Columbia-HTC) is acting as a perfect final leadout man for teammate Mark Cavendish.

Aussie Mark Renshaw (Columbia-HTC) is acting as a perfect final leadout man for teammate Mark Cavendish. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Michael Rogers' (Columbia-HTC) frame decal pays tribute to his status as current Australian national time trial champion.

Michael Rogers' (Columbia-HTC) frame decal pays tribute to his status as current Australian national time trial champion. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Joan Horrach (Katusha) is among the scores of riders in this year's Tour de France with custom footwear.

Joan Horrach (Katusha) is among the scores of riders in this year's Tour de France with custom footwear. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pozzato's Ridley Damocles Pi fork features a tapered steerer tube.

Pozzato's Ridley Damocles Pi fork features a tapered steerer tube. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pozzato's custom finished Ridley Damocles Pi is covered in an unusually subtle white, green and red to celebrate his win at the Italian national championships last month.

Pozzato's custom finished Ridley Damocles Pi is covered in an unusually subtle white, green and red to celebrate his win at the Italian national championships last month. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Katusha team sponsor Ridley has provided Filippo Pozzato with this special white, red and green Damocles Pi with custom geometry.

Katusha team sponsor Ridley has provided Filippo Pozzato with this special white, red and green Damocles Pi with custom geometry. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pozzato used a nearly identical bike for the spring classics this year.

Pozzato used a nearly identical bike for the spring classics this year. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This neatly summarized Pozzato's accomplishment in Imola last month.

This neatly summarized Pozzato's accomplishment in Imola last month. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Lake shoes are becoming more popular among the pros.

Lake shoes are becoming more popular among the pros. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Brett Lancaster's (Cervélo Test Team) DMT Fusion shoes aren't custom but we're still intrigued by their RAM cable system.

Brett Lancaster's (Cervélo Test Team) DMT Fusion shoes aren't custom but we're still intrigued by their RAM cable system. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bright white FSA Plasma integrated bars adorn the front end of Wegmann's machine.

Bright white FSA Plasma integrated bars adorn the front end of Wegmann's machine. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Wegmann chose an ultralight fi'zi:k Arione k:1 saddle early on but later switched to a cushier Arione CX.

Wegmann chose an ultralight fi'zi:k Arione k:1 saddle early on but later switched to a cushier Arione CX. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Wegmann is a two-time German national champion and his frame is decorated to suit.

Wegmann is a two-time German national champion and his frame is decorated to suit. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Milram is quite happy to have a two-time German national champion within its ranks.

Milram is quite happy to have a two-time German national champion within its ranks. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Fabian Wegmann (Milram) is a two-time German national champion and is on a suitably painted Focus Izalco.

Fabian Wegmann (Milram) is a two-time German national champion and is on a suitably painted Focus Izalco. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Nike hasn't offered cycling shoes to the public in years but that hasn't stopped a number of pros who still use them.

Nike hasn't offered cycling shoes to the public in years but that hasn't stopped a number of pros who still use them. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Caisse d'Epargne rider Luis Pasamontes is traveling through France with this bright red Specialized BG Pro road shoes.

Caisse d'Epargne rider Luis Pasamontes is traveling through France with this bright red Specialized BG Pro road shoes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Rémi Pauriol's 'red vernice' Sidi Ergo 2 shoes aren't custom but their bright hue matches the team kit nicely.

Rémi Pauriol's 'red vernice' Sidi Ergo 2 shoes aren't custom but their bright hue matches the team kit nicely. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Franco Pellizotti prefers Sidi's Genius 6.6 model in a custom green to match the team colors.

Franco Pellizotti prefers Sidi's Genius 6.6 model in a custom green to match the team colors. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) has a pair of custom Nike Poggio 4 shoes - long discontinued but apparently still available if you have the right connections.

Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) has a pair of custom Nike Poggio 4 shoes - long discontinued but apparently still available if you have the right connections. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pereiro's Nike shoes eschew mechanical closures in order to save weight.

Pereiro's Nike shoes eschew mechanical closures in order to save weight. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pozzato's Italian national champion kit has apparently generated some controversy - the Italian cycling federation says it hasn't authorized the design modification.

Pozzato's Italian national champion kit has apparently generated some controversy - the Italian cycling federation says it hasn't authorized the design modification. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Filippo Pozzato's (Katusha) custom Sidi shoes pay tribute to his Italian national championship win last month.

Filippo Pozzato's (Katusha) custom Sidi shoes pay tribute to his Italian national championship win last month. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Team mechanics build up the FSA bar diameter with sections of garden hose to give Boonen something more substantial to grip.

Team mechanics build up the FSA bar diameter with sections of garden hose to give Boonen something more substantial to grip. (Image credit: James Huang)
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While many of his peers opt for fancy power meters or GPS-enabled units, Boonen runs a simple (and reliable) wired Cateye Mity 8 computer.

While many of his peers opt for fancy power meters or GPS-enabled units, Boonen runs a simple (and reliable) wired Cateye Mity 8 computer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Boonen's bike uses a mix of Campagnolo Record and Super Record bits.

Boonen's bike uses a mix of Campagnolo Record and Super Record bits. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Boonen is on Specialized's latest Tarmac SL3.

Boonen is on Specialized's latest Tarmac SL3. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and teammate Stijn Devolder get red and black bikes in contrast to the rest of the team's mostly black steeds.

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and teammate Stijn Devolder get red and black bikes in contrast to the rest of the team's mostly black steeds. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Campagnolo Super Record is slowly becoming more widespread among sponsored riders.

Campagnolo Super Record is slowly becoming more widespread among sponsored riders. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized claims the Tarmac SL3's triangulated upper seat stay geometry makes for a stiffer rear end.

Specialized claims the Tarmac SL3's triangulated upper seat stay geometry makes for a stiffer rear end. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Boonen prefers handmade tubulars from FMB.

Boonen prefers handmade tubulars from FMB. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Silvain Chavanel (Quick Step) gets a pair of bright yellow S-Works shoes from Specialized.

Silvain Chavanel (Quick Step) gets a pair of bright yellow S-Works shoes from Specialized. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) opts for an especially light model from Bont.

Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) opts for an especially light model from Bont. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Hayden Roulston (Cervélo Test Team) is among a few riders in this year's Tour de France using custom shoes from Australian company Bont.

Hayden Roulston (Cervélo Test Team) is among a few riders in this year's Tour de France using custom shoes from Australian company Bont. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Lake has provided defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo Test Team) with a custom pair of CX401 shoes.

Lake has provided defending Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre (Cervélo Test Team) with a custom pair of CX401 shoes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Sastre's Lake CX401 shoes feature a heat moldable upper for a custom fit.

Sastre's Lake CX401 shoes feature a heat moldable upper for a custom fit. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Lake's Lee Katz says the extra strap across the top is purely for logo placement.

Lake's Lee Katz says the extra strap across the top is purely for logo placement. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) got to ride this bright yellow Specialized during his stint as race leader.

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) got to ride this bright yellow Specialized during his stint as race leader. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Prologo provided these custom saddles to the brothers Schleck.

Prologo provided these custom saddles to the brothers Schleck. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Laurens ten Dam's (Rabobank) Shimano shoes use heat moldable uppers for a custom fit - even though they're not custom.

Laurens ten Dam's (Rabobank) Shimano shoes use heat moldable uppers for a custom fit - even though they're not custom. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step) has his own pair of custom Gaerne G.Myst shoes.

Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step) has his own pair of custom Gaerne G.Myst shoes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Quick Step team sponsor Specialized provided Frenchmen Sylvain Chavanel and Jérôme Pineau with these custom painted bikes to celebrate Bastille Day.

Quick Step team sponsor Specialized provided Frenchmen Sylvain Chavanel and Jérôme Pineau with these custom painted bikes to celebrate Bastille Day. (Image credit: Graham Watson)

Katusha's Filippo Pozzato: all Italian, all the time

Italian sprinter and one-day specialist Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) earned the right to don his country's tricolore jersey when he won in Imola just a few weeks ago but in typical fashion he didn't limit the prestigious red, white and green accents to just his clothing.

First up was a commemorative wrapper for his Ridley Damocles Pi – already a custom rig with Pozzato's preferred longer and level top tube, slacker seat tube angle, and shorter head tube but whose surface is now coated in gleaming white paint with tasteful bits of green and red tossed in. It's an uncharacteristically subtle treatment for sure – in contrast to the Barza-designed schemes from his days with Liquigas – but one that still nicely gets the point across.

In addition, a boastful 'Veni, Vidi, Vici - MMIX' slogan is applied to the top tube and Elite provides a pair of red and green accented white bottle cages to match.

Pozzato is still searching for his stated goal of a stage win in this year's Tour de France but in the meantime, at least he looks good.

Perfect trifecta for Milram

Milram's Fabian Wegmann could hardly be more German at the moment: he's on a German-registered team, riding a German Focus Izalco bicycle, and he's a two-time German national champion on the road. Naturally, the team has provided him with a custom paint scheme to suit.

The changes are decidedly subtle and distinctively tasteful in execution: the standard team livery's light blue panels are traded for white, and there are smatterings of the German national colors on the top tube, seat stays, and fork blades. A bit of additional flare is provided in the all-white FSA Plasma integrated carbon bar and stem but it's otherwise the usual team issue, including a complete SRAM Red group, CarbonSports Lightweight wheels, Speedplay Zero pedals, and a fi'zi:k Arione saddle – originally the ultralight k:1 version earlier in the race but later swapped to a more padded Arione CX for the start of Stage 6.

New bikes for Boonen, Devolder plus Bastille Day specials for Chavanel, Pineau

Belgian Quick Step compatriots Tom Boonen and Stijn Devolder also get special machines of their own, though in this case it seems more a matter of bike model than paint scheme. While much of the rest of their teammates were still aboard Specialized's S-Works Tarmac SL2, Boonen and Devolder were on the company's latest SL3 – touted as being about the same weight as the earlier generation but more rigid at both ends for surer handling.

Boonen's bike also features several of his typical customized setup tricks. Team mechanics built up the diameter of the drops with short sections of garden hose split lengthwise to provide the three-time Paris-Roubaix winner with a little extra meat to grab on to, the extra-long 140mm FSA stem is slammed right atop the headset compression ring as always, and his Roval Rapide SL 45 wheels are shod with handmade FMB road tubulars. Topping it all off is his usual unbadged Selle San Marco Regal saddle.

In celebration of Bastille Day, Specialized also provided Quick Step Frenchmen Silvain Chavanel and Jérôme Pineau with custom red, white and blue rigs.

Shoes, shoes and more shoes

As is the case with the bikes, custom footwear is clearly no longer solely the realm of the cycling elite as roughly a quarter of the peloton donned some type of personalized shoes. Virtually every major brand was included as well, including (but not limited to) Sidi, Specialized, Gaerne, Bont, Diadora, and even Nike, who hasn't offered a cycling shoe to the public of any sort since their split from Trek several years ago but still manages to provide footwear for riders such as Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne).

Cadel Evans had some of the most brightly colored and easily recognizable examples with his Gaerne G.Myst signature model finished in blue, red and yellow to match his Canyon bicycle. Teammate Charlie Wegelius also got into the game with a pair of his own, only slightly more subtle in white, purple and yellow and even a clear plastic buckle mounting base that lets more of the color peek through.

In fact, we're not sure we actually saw a single pair of standard Gaerne shoes in the peloton, as other riders such as Quick Step's Matteo Tosatto and Joan Horrach of Katusha were also so equipped. Apparently facilitating the process is Gaerne's new customization process whereby shoe panels can be quickly and easily printed with unique designs prior to stitching.

In contrast, usually flamboyant Italian sprinter Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) actually toned things down for the Tour with a rather quiet looking pair of Sidi Ergo 2s finished mostly in white with just a hint of the Italian tricolore used for accents. Similarly, the Diadoras of current road world champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) and world time trial champion Bert Grabsch's (Columbia-HTC) Gaernes were nearly all white, too, save for a touch of rainbow. Naturally, all three riders just happened to have socks to match.

Other riders such as Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) and Hayden Roulston (Cervélo Test Team) went really personalized with Australian Bont shoes fully custom molded around their feet while the Rabobank team donned Shimano's flagship model with heat moldable uppers.

Lake Cycling has done the heat moldable thing longer than most though and the company has been making clear inroads into the upper ranks of the sport with several riders sporting its new CX401 model including Carlos Sastre (Cervélo Test Team). Sastre however got a bit of extra special treatment with a custom pair finished with yellow accents, his name boldly on the side, and even his signature on the sides of the uppers.

Lake also added an extra strap across the top just for Sastre though company principal Lee Katz admits it isn't really for function and won't be included in production models. According to Katz, it's merely for a more self-serving purpose: logo placement to make them more easily recognizable in the peloton.

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