The uphill ramp to the line on yesterday’s stage of the Tour de France was always likely to favour a diminutive sprinter such as Bryan Coquard, but few people expected him to come within 28mm of pinching the stage win off Marcel Kittel in the closest sprint finish that the Tour has seen for years.
But what’s perhaps more impressive is that Coquard seemed to be doing so wearing trainers, not exactly offering the sort of power transfer that Kittel could rely on his 300 quid Sidis to deliver.
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Of course, Coquard wasn’t actually wearing trainers, but instead a pair of lace-up cycling shoes from Direct-Energie’s shoe sponsor DMT, and certainly not anything that can be found in the Italian brand’s current catalogue.
Watch: Tour de France stage four highlights
Most of the the features of the shoes are very similar to the top-end DMT R1s used by the rest of the Direct Energie team and Coquard himself until earlier this season, with a generally smooth and unventilated outer, but with the obvious modification of the wide laces rather than the Boa dials found on the normal R1s.
Based in Verona, DMT is no stranger from branching out from its standard range. In fact, the company’s factory also produces the Nike shoes worn by the likes of Mark Cavendish, Adam Blythe, and, ermm, Lance Armstrong.