Grand tours are often described as a shop window for cycling brands to promote their products. The increased number of viewers generally means that these three-week races are a perfect launchpad for brands to unveil their latest innovations to the world. As a result, it's not uncommon to spot brand new tech in the peloton as the race gets underway, and this year's Vuelta a España is no different, as we've spotted what looks to be a brand new aero bike from Orbea.
We didn't have to wait long to spot the bike. In fact, it was on our screens two days before the racing had even begun, as some of the team were spotted using it during Thursday's teams' presentation. However, with stage 1 of the race taking the form of an individual time trial, it wasn't until Sunday's stage 2 that we got to see the bike for an extended period of time.
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That fortune was afforded to us by Xabier Mikel Azparren, Euskaltel-Euskadi's 22-year-old neo-pro who found himself in the day's breakaway alongside Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Sergio Martin (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).
Earning his sponsors a couple of hours of TV time, the Spaniard gave onlookers plenty of time to peruse the bike's features in order to work out what was new. The orange and white cracked and striped paintwork theme did little to disguise that this was indeed an aero bike - the deep section tube shapes gave that much away in an instant. It reminds us of the Ordu time trial bike launched last year.
The bike looks to feature large junctions at the bottom bracket and head tube areas. At the head tube junction, the fork integrates into the down tube, which in turn wraps around the rear of the front wheel. The top tube looks to be flattened, presumably to aid with compliance, and the chainstays kink upwards before meeting the seatstays at the axle.
The fork itself features legs that curve outwards as they extend downwards, and it appears the seat stays follow a similar shape.
In addition to the particularly loud orange and white paint scheme, there are some subtle details overlaid in a faint light blue colour. The most obvious of these is the Orbea logo on the down tube, but there are further details dotted throughout the frame, including numbers on the fork and seat tube, although we're currently unsure of their meaning.
At this stage, we know no more surrounding the bike's potential launch date, nor its availability, but as ever, we will be sure to share any information as soon as we get it.
Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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