With just a day to go until the opening time trial of the 2021 Giro d'Italia, Filippo Ganna and Ineos Grenadiers have unveiled the bike that the Italian will be riding as he attempts to claim the race's first maglia rosa.
The bike is finished in a highly-polished blue colour, referenced by Ganna as the same colour used by fellow countryman Elia Viviani on his Pinarello track bike after the Rio Olympics. As for why he chose the colour, Ganna's simple retort was that he "likes to be different".
This blue is complemented by chrome silver logos and chrome detailing throughout. As the reigning world time trial champion, the rainbow stripes are positioned on the fork leg, with the Italian flag on the seat tube. Ganna's nickname 'Top Ganna' is positioned on the head tube area, stylised in Top Gun design.
It's not the first custom bike the Italian has been given by his sponsors. On the eve of the 2020 Giro, Ganna was given a bike that is arguably more bling than this, with a golden version of the same bike. The bike itself is the Pinarello Bolide TT, the same model that Ganna rode to victory in the individual time trials during the 2020 Giro d'Italia, as well as National and World Championship success in the weeks prior.
However, despite the frame being unchanged, some components have been upgraded in the pursuit of aerodynamic efficiency. Most pertinent of these is the change of wheels.
Ineos Grenadiers have a history of shunning their usual wheel sponsor, Shimano, in favour of buying their own wheels for use in high-stakes situations. In 2019, they first used Lightweight Meilenstein wheels for the mountain stages at the Tour de France. In 2020 the team switched to wheels from Princeton CarbonWorks, easily distinguishable thanks to their wave profile rims, and it seems they've taken a similar approach for 2021. While the rear wheel of Ganna's bike is still the Blur 633 Disc from Princeton Carbonworks, the front wheel is an unbranded Aeox Titan from Aerocoach - a wheel also used by Jumbo Visma against Shimano's wishes.
The wheels are wrapped in tubed Continental Grand Prix TT tyres, following a recent trend that suggests latex inner tubes still provide the fastest results.
The bike is fitted with a rim-brake-equipped Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, with what looks to be a 58-tooth chainring. The cockpit is custom-moulded by Pinarello's component subsidiary, MOST. For photos, the bike is fitted with an Elite bottle cage and Elite Fly bottle, though we expect they will come off before Saturday's sub-10-minute effort.
Ganna enters the race as the favourite to win the stage 1 prologue, an 8.6km route around the city of Turin that will favour high-power athletes due to the flat, twisting nature of the course.
Ganna won't be the only rider on a new bike on Saturday. Canyon recently announced an all-new time trial bike, the Speedmax CFR TT, which will be ridden by Movistar and Alpecin Fenix riders. Elsewhere, riders from EF Education-Nippo have been seen using an as-yet-unreleased Cannondale time trial bike in recent months.
Something new ✔️Something 𝐛𝐥𝐮 🔵Check out @GannaFilippo's incredible Bolide TT bike for the #Giro. The pride of @Pinarello_com 😍 pic.twitter.com/N1qHmaYLyoMay 7, 2021
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