The 58-11 and 56-10 top gears might not exactly be common combinations in your garage, but the huge gears were fairly ubiquitous at the opening 7.1km time trial of the Tour de la Provence. (Do you know which one is bigger? See below for a gear-inch comparison of the Shimano and SRAM set-ups.)
James Startt got up close with a number of the time trial bikes, capturing details like the new SRAM Clic remote shifters attached to the cowhorn basebar of a Trek-Segafredo Speed Concept, and the waxed chain and CeramicSpeed oversized pulley wheel on a Total Energies Specialized Shiv TT.
Check out the gallery for a closer look.
Continental team St. Michel-Auber 93 is racing the Tour de la Provence alongside the WorldTour squads. This is the machine of French time trialist Yoann Paillot, built with a number of French brands — Michelin, Mavic, Look — plus the increasingly rare SRM cranks.
A Vision Metron cockpit is integrated into the Cannondale.
Digital shifting and hydraulic braking have hugely improved the performance of ‘funny bikes’ in recent years, allowing for shifting at both hand positions and brakes that actually work well.
Big Mavic branding on Paillot’s front Cosmic.
Paillot’s rear is a French affair, too, with a pro-only Mavic disc and Michelin tire.
Filippo Ganna won the Provence time trial aboard his Bolide TT, surprising no one.
Ganna’s 3D-printed front end.
Ganna’s perch is quite narrow, to the point that the sometimes lays one hand atop the other.
Pinarello still uses rim brakes for its Bolide TT, having invested a fair amount into the aero design of this machine.
Ineos Grenadiers use a K-Edge magnet that bolts to the front derailleur hanger instead of glueing a magnet to the frame for use with Shimano’s power meter. Note the chainring sizes labeled at left.
Tobias Ludvigsson of Groupama-FDJ was third in the Provence time trial behind Ganna and his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Ethan Hayter.
The Swede had an aero bottle on his Lapierre Aerostorm DRS, more likely for the drag-reducing benefit than for hydration on the 7.1km course.
No bar tape, just grip tape, please. Ludvigsson keeps his cowhorns and extensions at the bare minimum.
Lapierre, a French brand, has been a longterm partner of Groupama-FDJ.
The Aerostorm DRS offers a huge fore/aft range of adjustability, with the saddle sliding on the clamp and the clamp itself sliding on the seatpost.
58/46 for Ludvigsson, also with a K-Edge bolt-on magnet for the Shimano power meter.
In addition to Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Team TotalEnergies is racing on Specialized. This is Pierre Latour’s Shiv TT.
Unlike Julian Alaphilippe who has custom Speedbar extensions, TotalEnergies has the stock Specialized models.
Wax and a big CeramicSpeed pulley keep friction to a minimum. Like so much of the peloton this year, TotalEnergies uses Shimano power meters. But the team opts for the glue-on magnet, which is used to measure cadence, a necessary component of power.
Grip tape, Shimano one-button Di2 extensions, and a K-Edge computer mount. Tidy.
Pierre’s perch is a carbon-railed Sitero from Specialized.
Pierre’s view of the Shiv TT cockpit.
Turbo Cottton clinchers are the fastest road tires we have lab tested.
These Turbo Cottons are time trial specific, with a 320tpi casing in a 26c width.
A Trek-Segafredo Speed Concept dressed in SRAM eTap Red, Pirellis, and Bontrager RSL 75 and Zipp disc.
This third-generation Speed Concept was built for a large, flat aero bottle that effectively extends the length of the aero tubing.
SRAM’s Clic shifters function just like the eTap shifters — each button moves the rear derailleur one way, and pressing both moves the front derailleur.
Shims under the extensions allow for angle- and well as height adjustments.
SRAM cassettes go down to 10t cogs. The Quarq-equipped crank has 56/43 chainrings. Compared to the Shimano set-up of a 58-11 top gear with a 5.27 ratio, the 56-10 has a 5.6 ratio. In order words, the SRAM arrangement offers a larger gear. (In gear inches, a 58-11 is 138.60 ; a 56-10 is 147.28.)