This year's edition of Paris-Nice gave us a predictable winner in Tadej Pogačar. The UAE Team Emirates leader looked imperious during the annual race to the sun, demonstrating the kind of form he'll need if he's to wrest back control of the Tour de France yellow jersey come July.
We were on hand not only to see Pogačar clinch the title in style but also to snoop around ahead of the start to see if we could spot any interesting pieces of tech. Here's what we found...
Extreme Shift Shaping
While the latest UCI rules have placed restrictions of handlebar width, it didn't specify any limits on the shifter positions. The result is that riders can still adopt a tucked in aero position as before, turning the hoods inwards to create the effect of narrowing the bars.
Intermarché - Circus - Wanty's Taco van der Hoorn has long been a proponent of the extreme shifter angle and it was again on display at Paris-Nice - also note just how low the shifters are positioned on the bars, replicating the race bikes of old.
Pros don't always jump straight on the latest bikes
Earlier this month the new Cannondale SuperSix Evo 4 line-up was revealed and included a Lab71 model that uses a new carbon lay up. It's the US brand's lightest yet, is UCI approved and will be used by its sponsored pro teams, including the WorldTour's EF Education-EasyPost. But perhaps not quite yet.
The UCI frame sticker on this EF bike at Paris-Nice identifies it as a - previously range topping - HiMod model. And while the 40 gram weight saving of the new frame might sound as if it'd be advantageous to a weight conscious pro, the previous model in race guise could easily be built to just tickle the UCI's 6.8kg lowest weight limit.
While featherweight frames are a key aspect of Cannondale's new Lab71 halo project, bikes that will sit within it will also feature plenty of touches available to pros and ordinary riders with deep pockets - unique paint jobs and bespoke high end componentry set-ups for starters.
And quite clearly the 'second tier' bikes are still plenty fast enough - American Neilson Powless finished a creditable sixth overall.
No mounting tension for Soudal-Quickstep
Soudal-Quick Step's Tim Declerq takes no risks with his computer, which is mounted to his Specialized Tarmac SL7 via a custom etched K-Edge unit with extra grip tape fitted within the mounting slot itself.
Safety first for Simon Yates
Team Jayco AIUIa's Simon Yates also takes no risks, but this time with his chain. A chain catcher is found between his Shimano Dura-Ace chainset and his Giant TCR Advanced SL bike.
The British rider has had a solid start to the year, backing up his second place finish at the Tour Down Under with a fourth overall at Paris-Nice.
Tubeless taking off?
His Jayco squad, consisting of Luke Durbridge, Michael Matthews, Chris Harper, Lucas Hamilton, Kelland O'Brien and Matteo Sobrero won the overall team classification and did so riding tubeless tires, in the shape of the new Vittoria Corsa Pros. Look for the tubs versus tubeless debate to roll on throughout the 2023 season.
Not all pros get slammed
Not all pros ride their bikes with fully slammed stems. Especially not if you're Uno-X rider Søren Wærenskjold. The Danish rider measures 1.91cm, or 6'3", tall, which translates to a few more spacers under the stem than usual.
A stunner for Astana
All that glitters is… blue? Or purple? The mass adoption of glitter and ice-like paint jobs is bringing some much needed jazz to the peloton and we love to see it. Astana Qazaqstan Team's Wilier bikes are arguably the best of the bunch.
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