For 2016 he appears, instead, to have opted for the super light Canyon Ultimate CF SLX. Riding a small frame means that meeting the UCI weight limit should not be a problem, perhaps suggesting that if Rodriguez chooses to ride the new Ultimate it will be because of its superior comfort characteristics.
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The Aeroad preferred by Rodriguez’s teammate Alexander Kristoff is designed to slice through the air; whilst the Ultimate CF SLX, although no slouch, is more focused on saving weight and providing a more comfortable ride.
To reduce road buzz the seat bolt is situated 10cm lower in the frame and features a clever polymer insert. This novel clamping mechanism is designed to offer more vertical and horizontal deflection over a standard post, improving comfort in the process.
Arguably the most exciting and standout feature of the bike is the SRAM Red eTap groupset which has replaced the Shimano Dura Ace Di2 set up from 2015. After much anticipation SRAM’s wireless groupset is finally here and being ridden by the world’s top riders.
The innovative groupset does away with wires to connect the shifters and derailleurs, with them paired electronically instead. The classic SRAM double tap system is replaced by eTap – there’s still only one lever behind the brake arm, but you shift up a gear using the right lever and down with the left.
Rodriguez has retained the same custom SLR Selle Italia Monolink saddle which depicts a cigar in reference to his nickname ‘Purito’ (Spanish for little cigar) and also pays homage to his time as the UCI’s number one ranked rider.
The Monolink saddle is slammed back as far as possible, placing Rodriguez right over the rear wheel. This extreme position might explain why the cockpit has a 100mm stem rather than the longer stems commonly seen on pro bikes.
In addition to the short stem Rodriguez has opted for a compact bar, suggesting he prefers the shape to that of Canyon’s integrated aero bar. Interestingly, Katusha doesn’t seem to have out-front mounts at this early season camp, with Purito using the standard stem mount for his Garmin.
As you’d expect for a top professional rider the chainset is a race focused 53-39t, and Rodriguez will be monitoring his performance with a Quarq power meter. Pedals are Look Keo Carbon.
Interestingly the 11-28 cassette was actually SRAM Force, rather than Red. Perhaps chosen in order to help make the bike meet the required UCI weight limit.
Out are last year’s Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheels and in are the Zipp 303 Firecrest tubulars, which have an impressive claimed weight of 1390g for the pair. Rodriguez’s tyres of choice are the exclusive Continental Competition Pro Ltd tyres that are currently only available to the pros.
Purito’s Canyon Ultimate CF SLX has a simple red and white paint job to match the Russian team’s kit. It stands out and is certainly one of the nicest looking bikes in the Pro peloton. Will this be the bike he rides en-route to his first Grand Tour win?