Remco Evenepoel's has broken out a new Specialized Shiv time trial bike dressed in full world champion's livery with those rainbow bands down the seat tube for the first time today.
The Belgian Soudal-Quick Step rider takes on the Vuelta a España stage 10 time trial around Valladolid today, and is clearly keen to celebrate his recent World Championship time trial victory around Stirling last month. He beat Filippo Ganna and Josh Tarling into second and third place respectively, exchanging last year's road race rainbow jersey for the time trial version.
Whether science can prove that those five extra colours will make him go faster, we don't know – but somehow we reckon they could give him the edge, as well as remind his Vuelta rivals who's boss.
The bones of the bike are very similar to the one which won him those rainbow bands in Scotland last month. A Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain featuring, interestingly, a 2x11 set-up rather than the latest 12-speed. The big ring is 60-tooth, presumably with those long, flat stretches in mind.
The extravagant branding on the Roval Outride disc at the back contrasts starkly with the stealthy, unbranded deep-section front. It looks to us like it's an Aerocoach offering, though Quick Step's Specialized/Roval sponsorship possibly explains the lack of branding there. They're shod with on-brand Specialized Turbo tyres.
🌈 Día de contrarreloj y de estreno para @EvenepoelRemco 👀ITT day in Valladolid… with new colors and bike for Remco @soudalquickstep #LaVuelta23 📸 @cxcling pic.twitter.com/QOmOG0yE5vSeptember 5, 2023
The base bar is the standard Shiv item but fitted with custom clip-on bars, the seat is a stubby S-Works item, while hydration comes courtesy of an aero Tacx bottle on the down tube.
Today's time trial is a mostly flat 25.8km based on Valladolid in northern Spain, and should suit Evenepoel well. It is the only individual test in the Vuelta and is likely to prove a key showdown.
The Soudal-Quick Step rider is currently sitting in fourth place, 2.22 behind race leader Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma). It's not a given, but don't be surprised to see Evenepoel win the stage and leapfrog Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ), Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) and Kuss to reclaim the red leader's jersey he wore from stages three through five.
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