How the riders use their bikes to have miniature race manuals within eyeshot.
Even in this navigation equipment age, sticking notes detailing a race’s most salient challenges – be it hills, cobbled sections and sometimes both combined – onto stems remains a rider favourite.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha)
These notes adorned the Norwegian’s stage-winning bike, which he stressed was largelly bronze-coloured and not gold (after his London 2012 road race medal, although it does look gold…). The typically European way of writing the number one (why so big?) stands out.
Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick Step)
You don’t win the Tour of Qatar if you can’t ride the wild wind. The defending champion’s notes are rather good, although we can’t work out why there are goalposts at KM 170. Terpstra placed 11th on the stage. Style: 3/5 Detail 3/5
Lampre’s riders all had the same handwritten stem notes, which can only mean one thing: a soigneur got the short straw. Whereas many notes include arrows, a subtle hyphen either side of the distances note the directional changes. Style: 3/5 Detail 3/5
When you’re fighting for position, the last thing you (probably) need are some detailed notes to get your head around. This short, but simple example avoids the need for long glances. Style: 1/5 Detail 2/5
Marcus Burghardt (BMC)
Vincente Reynes (IAM)
David Boucher (FDJ)
Michael Morkov (Tinkoff-Saxo)
Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge)
Were these done in a hurry? It seems like that way. Nonetheless, the arrows noting the hairpin bend in the final three kilometres were a nice touch – this would have been useful had the Belgian not have punctured out of the leading group approaching the finish. Style: 1/5 Detail 4/5