Steven Kruijswijk used a special Bianchi Specialissima bike for Sunday's mountain time trial at the Giro d'Italia with Bianchi engineers saving weight wherever possible so that the bike could be fitted with short aero bars and still be close to the 6.8kg UCI limit.
Kruijswijk wanted aero bars for the opening 1.8km on flat roads before the climb to up to the Alpe di Siusi ski resort began. It proved to be a wise decision, with the Dutchman gaining time on all his rivals in the opening kilometres. He gained 43 seconds on Esteban Chaves and only lost three of those seconds on the climb. That allowed Kruijswijk to extend his overall lead on the Colombian to 2:12, while Nibali slipped to third at 2:51 after a tough day in the saddle during the mountain time trial.
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Bianchi Product Manager Angelo Lecchi told Cyclingnews that the Italian brand had worked closely with Kruijswijk to study and develop the bike. The Vision carbon fibre aero bars weigh 250g but were determined to be vital. Other weight saving had to be found to bring the bike down to the close to the UCI limit of 6.8kg. Savings were made on every item possible, including the paint scheme.
The LottoNL-Jumbo team issue bikes are Bianchi celeste but the Specialissima was painted matt black and super light decals were used to save 20g. This helped reduce the frame weight to around 760 grammes. The Specialissima also included Bianchi's Countervail anti-vibration technology that is used in its Infinito CV model.
The LottoNL-Jumbo mechanics also helped reduce the weight by fitting pink tape on the upper sections of the bars where Kruijswijk needed grip. The rest was left bare, with carbon fibre tape used instead of bar plugs. The same lightweight tape was used to cover the cable holes in the frame instead of heavier plastic covers and screws.
Kruijswijk's bike was fitted with a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Shimano C50 wheels, FSA K-Force seat post, FSA bar and stem and a San Marco saddle. Kruijswijk raced on Vittoria Crono CS tubular tyres.
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