Alpecin-Fenix go all-in with sponsor-incorrect tech as Van der Poel fights to keep yellow
Dutchman looks to new wheels, cockpit, helmet and overshoes to save watts
In the run-up to the stage 5 time trial of this year's Tour de France, Mathieu Van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix team showcased the extreme lengths they would go to in order to keep their leader in yellow. The team bought a pair of Princeton Carbonworks wheels, employing someone to drive 900km north from Andorra to hand-deliver them to the team.
However, that's not the only way in which the team shunned sponsor-correctness for the stage 5 time trial, as Van der Poel is kitted out with an array of non-sponsor tech to minimise his drag and maximise his efficiency.
It appears that the team arranged various options for their leader's wheels, because despite that drive north, the team has chosen to forego using that Wake 6560 front wheel. Instead, Van der Poel's sponsor-correct Canyon Speedmax CFR is fitted with an Aerocoach Aeox Titan front wheel, which has been paired with the Blur 633 from Princeton Carbonworks.
In addition, the team has also swapped out his standard Canyon cockpit, and despite his bike already being spotted using Wattshop's Anemoi Extension System, the bike is fitted with Aerocoach's Ascalon extensions instead.
The optimisation hasn't been limited to just the bike, though. Van der Poel himself has been dressed head to toe in watt-saving non-sponsor kit, in addition to the Le Coq Sportif skinsuit, supplied by the race-sponsor courtesy of his position as race leader.
Up top, the team has swapped out his usual Abus Gamechanger TT helmet in favour of the same Lazer Volante helmet used by Jumbo Visma, and at his feet, he's shunned clothing sponsor Kalas in favour of overshoes that also come from Aerocoach, designed in conjunction with NoPinz.
Van der Poel went on to finish the stage 31 seconds behind stage winner Tadej Pogačar and successfully retained his position atop the GC standings.
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As the Tech Editor here at Cyclingnews, Josh leads on content relating to all-things tech, including bikes, kit and components in order to cover product launches and curate our world-class buying guides, reviews and deals. Alongside this, his love for WorldTour racing and eagle eyes mean he's often breaking tech stories from the pro peloton too.
On the bike, 30-year-old Josh has been riding and racing since his early teens. He started out racing cross country when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s and has never looked back. He's always training for the next big event and is keen to get his hands on the newest tech to help. He enjoys a good long ride on road or gravel, but he's most alive when he's elbow-to-elbow in a local criterium.