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Igor Anton’s Orbea Orca GDi2 took him to victory in the Giro’s queen stage to Mont Zoncolan, a climb often described as the most difficult in pro cycling. After riding as high as third on GC after the Zoncolan, Anton slipped down to 11th at 10:58 behind Contador by stage 17. Nearly eight minutes of that deficit was lost on stage 15, where his effort up the Zoncolan the previous day clearly showed.
Despite the Euskaltel-Euskadi squad’s love of the climbs, the Orca isn’t designed as a pure climbing machine. Rather, Orbea engineers intended for the frame to be a solid all-rounder, just as comfortable off the front on a flat stage as on the Giro’s highest peaks.
The latest Orca spent plenty of time in the San Diego wind tunnel during the design phase, and uses a number of features also found on the company’s Ordu time trial frame. The result is a claimed decrease of 64 grams of drag compared to the old Orca, translatable to about 6 watts saved at 30mph, or a bit over 0.6 seconds per kilometer at the same speed (using the same approximate linear equation we used in our April issue aero road bike review).
Those 64g of drag come from small tweaks all over the frame. According to Orbea, the wild-looking rear triangle drops 14g, the slick seat post clamp 17g, the hour-glass shaped headset and heavily shaped fork save 15g, the teardrop shaped seat tube and seatpost drop 10g, and the pointed downtube 8g.
The total isn’t exactly huge, but 6 watts is 6 watts. Every little bit counts, and Orbea says ride quality and stiffness haven’t been compromised.
Beyond the Orca frame, Anton and the rest of his Euskaltel-Euskadi squad are on FSA cockpits and Shimano Di2 drivetrains and wheels. Anton has favored the C35 tubular for most rolling and flat stages, but won the Zoncolan stage on the lighter and shallower C24s. The team rolls on Vittoria Corsa EVO service course tubulars with tan cotton sidewalls.