Carapaz ditches gold Pinarello to save weight, but it's not as simple as it seems
New 'lightweight' Dogma F for Olympic champion shows Ineos Grenadiers' commitment to tubeless
After just three days of racing at the Giro d'Italia, Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) already finds himself on the back foot after a disappointing time trial on stage 2. The Ecuadorian currently sits in 15th place at 35 seconds behind race leader Simon Yates.
So as Mount Etna looms and with the next chapter of the GC battle set to light up on its slopes, Ineos Grenadiers have unveiled the latest weapon in Carapaz's arsenal; a new, lighter weight Pinarello Dogma F.
Carapaz has spent the season so far riding a custom painted Dogma F doused in polished gold to mark his current title of Olympic road race champion, which he won at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games last year. However, in an old school bout of marginal gains tactics, the team's bike sponsor Pinarello has provided him with a new, slightly more restrained golden theme - complete with a reworked design that the team claims is lighter.
Instead of the entire top tube being covered in gold, the latest style is predominantly black, with the gold touches being used for the Pinarello, Dogma, Ineos and Grenadier logos printed about the frame instead.
However, looking at the spec of the bike, the usual narrative of reducing weight in order to meet the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit can't have been the primary aim.
The difference between frame weights is unconfirmed, but it seems to have enabled the team to continue using heavier, more aerodynamic, and tubeless wheels instead of tubular, while still meeting that 6.8kg limit.
This acceptance of tubeless technology, as well as disc brakes, is a refreshing change of tact from the Ineos Grenadiers team, who have historically stuck with the lighter weight components as they've struggled to bring the weight of their Pinarello bikes down to the weight limit. The development of the latest Pinarello Dogma F - replacing the Dogma F12 - seems to have been a turning point for the team.
In the photos published by the team, the bike is fitted with Shimano's 50mm deep Dura-Ace R9200 C50 wheels in their tubeless guise, complete with Continental's GP5000 S TR tyres.
If weight was the primary focus, it would make sense for the team to have fitted Shimano's lighter version of the same wheel, the C36, which is 36mm deep. However, this would almost certainly be less aerodynamic. Shimano also makes a tubular version of both of those wheels, as well as the even more aerodynamic C60.
Even beyond those options, it's no secret that Ineos Grenadiers also has a slew of non-sponsor-correct wheelsets from Princeton Carbonworks and Lightweight. Any of those would help them bring the weight down, but they haven't chosen any of those. They've fitted the 50mm tubeless wheels from Shimano in what appears to be a balance of weight, aerodynamics and tubeless capabilities.
However, anything could change between now and the race's rollout of Avola at the start of stage 4, and we'll be keeping a beady eye on Carapaz's bike to see if he does indeed run the spec shown here.
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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.