Harry Tanfield (AG2R La Mondiale) rode the stage 13 time trial at the Vuelta a España on Tuesday with a custom chainring bearing an image of his face and custom shoes that celebrate his bronze medal in the Mixed Relay at last year's World Championships.
Tanfield placed 21st on the 33.7km stage, riding strongly on the flat but fading on the steep final 1.8km.
Whereas he switched to a road bike for the final climb, he was using a Factor Slick time trial bike for most of the stage, with the custom 60-tooth chainring delivered from Rotor's Spanish factory just a couple of days prior.
"Rotor made it custom for me. It's a 1x, with my name, the race, and it's got a picture engraved. It's really cool. I'm going to stick it on the wall when I get back," Tanfield said in a post-stage interview with ITV.
"The 60 was really nice. I was floating on it on the descents and I was really glad with the set-up Rotor were able to sort out for me two days before the race."
Tanfield revealed the chainring almost derailed his ride, as it caught the attention of two Deceuninck-QuickStep riders in the start area.
"To be honest, I nearly missed the start. I was chatting to Sam Bennett, because he wanted to see my chainring, and Michael Morkov as well, so we were looking at the chainring and next thing the board said 30 seconds."
Tanfield was also wearing custom shoes for the time trial, which were hand painted by Shea Gribbon, also known as The Shoe Dr. The turquoise pair of Sidi shoes marked his bronze medal at last year's Worlds, which took place in his native Yorkshire.
The logo for the Yorkshire Worlds is below his name on the ankle, with the date of the event and a bronze medal further down. His full name also appears above that of John Archibald, one of his teammates for the inaugural edition of the Mixed Relay team time trial, with the third name 'Piggy' - accompanied by an image of a pig - Tanfield's nickname for the third member of the men's trio, Dan Bigham.
The shoes didn't just provide an aesthetic advantage, but also a performance one, helping with an injury the 25-year-old has been struggling with in recent days.
"The cleat position a bit different on these compared to my other ones and, for whatever reason, I'm not getting the pain with these shoes so I think I’ll be rocking these shoes for the rest of the race," Tanfield told ITV.
"Hopefully that'll mean no pain. I'll have to cover them up because I don't want to get the custom paint-job all ruined – it's amazing how dirty they get on these dry roads.
As Features Editor, Patrick is responsible for Cyclingnews' long-form and in-depth output. Patrick joined Cyclingnews in 2015 as a staff writer after a work experience stint that included making tea and being sent to the Tour de Langkawi. Prior to that, he studied French and Spanish at university and went on to train as a journalist. Rides his bike to work but more comfortable on a football pitch.
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