The Critérium du Dauphiné is renowned for being a litmus test for the biggest race in the world, the Tour de France. With a quarter of all TdF victories coming from Dauphiné champions, this reputation is a well-founded one.
The Grand Tour season has become a showcase for the latest and lightest in new cycling tech, which if proven successful, can end up in your local bike shop in the coming months. With 22 teams competing in the 68th edition of the Dauphiné, a wide variety of new helmets, sunglasses, shoes and parts were on display. Team Dimension Data alone ran three different hubs on their wheels alongside their ENVE rims.
Electronic shifting is all but standard-issue in today's World Tour, and barring a few anomalies SRAM Red eTap, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Campagnolo Super Record EPS were the groupsets on show. Some teams opted to customise their groupsets to different degrees; CeramicSpeed components were installed onto many of the teams' bikes, while Berner supplied the Cannondale Pro Team with their rear derailleur cages.
Cranksets and brakes from FSA were on show on Team Cofidis' Orbea Orcas. Dimension Data meanwhile opted for a combination of Dura-Ace braking and shifting with Rotor chainrings, and Chris Froome's Pinarello was seen with a huge 54 tooth elliptical chainring.
On the final day of the Dauphiné, Stephen Cummings' Cervelo S5 had a CeramicSpeed chain installed. The €119 chain has a maximum optimised life span of a mere 300km and is hand finished with Teflon in Denmark. Designed for single race days, it has claimed power savings of 3-5 watts, which seemingly helped Cummings on the day.
As well as the extensive tech on show, there was new footwear from Mavic spotted on Dan Martin. The shoes consisted of an inner made with breathable, shaped foam and an outer formed mostly from a single piece of carbon. This new concept could be revolutionary in cycling footwear.
On the subject of shoes, Froome was seen with a new pair of Sidis with the tensioning ratchets located centrally, while John Degenkolb and his Giant-Alpecin teammates were wearing new, unbranded items with Boa tensioning systems. The shoes, seen in both black and white, are suspected to be the latest footwear from Shimano, although this is yet to be confirmed.
New helmets from Scott, eyewear from POC and custom painted bikes were also on show.
Click or swipe through the gallery above to see all that was on show at the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné.
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