As Elia Viviani took to the start ramp of the Giro d'Italia stage 1 time trial, he did so aboard a brand new De Rosa time trial bike, which looks to be a disc brake version of the brand's TT03, but with subtle amendments made throughout.
Viviani is far from a time trial specialist and, as such, he was never going to trouble the likes of Filippo Ganna in the 8.6km prologue, and his 89th place suggests he might have even taken it easy on the day. As a result, both he and his new bike managed to fly under the radar of the attention of the media, but Cyclingnews had already noticed the new bike on display at the Tour of Romandie, and we reached out to De Rosa to find out more.
"We like to call it a slashing blade, 'Blade Runner'," explained the marketing team, before confirming that it will be known as the De Rosa Flame. It is a "natural evolution of the previous model, [and it will be] produced only in a disc brake version".
No aerodynamic claims were given by the team at De Rosa, but they were able to confirm weights as 1,250g for the frame, 420g for the fork and 180g for the seatpost. There is also a "substantial increase in stiffness".
"It is a real blade forged to slice the wind," they concluded.
The new bike will be available to the public from the end of July.
- Best time trial bikes: TT and triathlon bikes to help you cheat the wind
The major difference between new and old is the provision for disc brakes, which in turn has led to smoother lines at the rear of the fork and beneath the bottom bracket where the rim brake calipers were previously integrated.
However, as a result of the unavailability of a Campagnolo hydraulic TT brake lever, Viviani's bike is finished with the clunky-looking cable-to-hydraulic workaround from TRP. Nonetheless, unlike Lotto Soudal, Viviani was using the latest Super Record EPS 12-speed groupset.
The head tube is the next biggest area of change, with the frame being given a wider, but smoother finish. The seat stays look to follow a similar form to the previous model, and the seat tube wraps around the rear wheel with the same closeness, however, subtle amendments have been made to the shape of the tubes, with the seat tube being more uniform in size.
Wheels come courtesy of Fulcrum. Their Speed 360T rear disc wheel is wrapped in an unbranded tubular tyre, and at the front, the Wind 75DB wheel is wrapped in Michelin's Power Time Trial clincher with an inner tube valve so short that it cannot be seen.
- Best triathlon wheels: Top time trial wheels for when you're up against the clock
Power measurement is handled by SRM, and despite running SRM computers too in 2020, the team converted to Wahooliganism for the 2021 season.
Viviani came into the 2021 Giro d'Italia with his form a bit of an unknown quantity. A highly decorated cyclist, there's no doubting the ability of the Italian who has previously won the maglia ciclamino, both Italian and European road race titles and a great number of titles on the track. But since his move from Deceuninck-QuickStep to Cofidis in 2020, the Italian is yet to return to those dizzying heights.
However, with the Olympics around the corner, the reigning Olympic Omnium champion has shown glimpses of his former self, winning for the first time in 18 months at Cholet-Pays de la Loire.
With an eye on the Tokyo Games, Viviani has also recently been sharpening his track tools, racing at the International Belgian Track Meeting in Ghent. His best result of the event was 6th place in the Elimination Race. However, if the early stages of this year's Giro d'Italia are anything to go by, Viviani's form looks to be back on track following his cardiac arrhythmia and subsequent ablation surgery in January, with two podiums and a fourth place in the race so far.
With mountains on the menu this Saturday, Viviani's next opportunities to improve upon his podium finishes come on Monday's stage 10, where early climbs precede a 40km downhill run to the finish in Foligno, and then Friday's pan-flat stage 13 from Ravenna to Verona.
|De Rosa: Model unknown
|Campagnolo Super Record EPS 12
|Campagnolo Super Record mechanical
|TRP HY/RD calipers
|Fulcrum Wind 75DB Tubeless clincher
|Fulcrum Speed 360T
|Vision Trimax base bar
|Vision Metron TFE
|Look Keo Blade Carbon
|Selle Italia Watt
|Rear: Unknown // Front: Michelin Power TT
|Wahoo Elemnt Bolt
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