Super-fast carbon-fiber aero road bikes and deep-section wheels.
Indeed, officials were taking the threat of ‘motor doping’ seriously.
Like fine wine.
This Tour saw a number of custom paint jobs, perhaps more than ever before.
But black bikes are still en vogue.
Cancellara’s one-off Trek Madone popped with color.
At the Tour, special editions and custom touches are de rigueur.
Tour teams seem to have reached new levels when it comes to details.
There were many custom touches, like these shamrocks on Irishman Dan Martin’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac.
Trek-Segafredo incorporated its “Go and Take It” ad campaign into its custom paint jobs.
Similarly, the Lotto-Soudal team worked in its “Live Your Dream” message.
Elsewhere, the Tour saw a Sharknado roll through.
French sprinter Bryan Coquard’s BH had stickers of Le Coq, or the Rooster, his nickname.
And like fellow sprinters Cavendish and Sagan, Coquard opted for deep-section aero wheels. These are made by Vision.
Another Tour victory for Pinarello.
When you’re the best stage racer they put your name on your hubs.
As we noted previously, Froome rides weird chainrings.
Race numbers at the Tour come with timing transponders that track each rider in real time.
A telemetry sensor is installed under each rider’s saddle.
A second transponder is attached to the fork with a zip tie.
This was Pierre Rolland’s saddle with his transponder attached underneath.
Live images and telemetry are streamed into the press room, where up to 600 journalists pass through each stage of the Tour.
Dimension Data is the company behind all the live telemetry and tracking.
Two-way radios allow riders to communicate not only with each other but also with their race directors back in the team cars.
As is now customary, the race leader rode a custom-painted yellow bike into Paris.
And it had lots of tech you find on pro bikes these days.
The world’s most consistent stage racer had the most extreme position.
Speaking of Adam Hansen, he brought his own homemade shoes to the Tour.
Hansen has taken custom shoes to a whole new level.
We saw Hansen wearing at least two different versions of his handmade shoe.
Weight is a constant consideration at the Tour.
Speaking of weight, mechanics had clever ways of making bikes race-legal.
Tour teams use all kinds of tape, and lots of it.
Bike computers show routes using GPS, but a simple print-out of the stage profile taped onto a stem does the trick best.
Froome had a printed stage profile on his stem. Little markings on the profile highlighted key points along the course; he could turn the loosely affixed profile as the stage went on.
As for Froome’s custom rhino graphic, it is a nod to his African heritage and “his commitment to the conservation of these animals.”
Race leader Greg Van Avermaet had his day’s work cut out for him and taped to his stem. From top to bottom, there was a neutral rollout, a series of three climbs of varying difficulties, a sprint, a feed zone, a final climb, and then the finish.
We spotted some mechanics putting Lizard Skins on pedals.
The tape gives riders’ shoes more grip on the smooth pedal surfaces.
A Cannondale-Drapac mechanic wrapped his scissor handles with Fizik handlebar tape for more grip, which comes in handy when hands are wet or greasy.
How to quiet a rattling valve.
… another inserted a piece of zip tie into the space between the valve and the rim …
… another wrapped the valve with a piece of material that acted as a shim.
Sagan’s bike had the nicest treatment — a Roval-branded sticker.
Cooling down while warming up.
In addition to an ice vest, Tony Martin wore an ice wrap around his wrists to keep cool as he warmed up for his time trial.
To cool down out on the road, soigneurs prepared ice socks for the riders. They are easy to make: Stuff ice cubes into a stocking and tie them up.
Riders stuff the ice socks in the back of their jerseys to keep their core temperature down, which improves performance.
At least one rider was wearing sweatbands.
Cannondale-Drapac brought cooling mattress toppers called ChiliPads from the US.
This might be the most important technology at the Tour.
Sunny days called for sunscreen, which these days riders can spray on as they ride.
Little things that could make a big difference.
Alberto Contador prefers to have more grab and cushion on his handlebar, so he has his mechanics double-wrap his bars with two rolls of tape.
No matter who had the race lead and wore the iconic yellow jersey, that rider’s team customized his bike with yellow. In the case Greg Van Avermaet, the BMC Racing Team added yellow tape and a yellow cover for his SRM power-meter box.
Wearable tape: Many riders, including Tejay van Garderen, spent some time during the Tour racing with kinesio tape, which helps with recovery from injury by providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting range of motion.
Flat-top aero bars are now more widely used in the pro peloton.
Secret shifter: The inside of the handlebar drops on Peter Sagan’s bike featured a mini shifter so that he could change gears with a flick of his thumb when he’s sprinting.
Once always plain black, shoes are now blingy.
Sagan had custom world-champion kicks for all the podium ceremonies he had to attend.
Custom yellow: Froome wore this custom pair of carbon Sidi SHOTs.
Yellow aero gloves and tape, all to complement Froome’s yellow jersey.
Speaking of shoes, teams are always at the ready with exactly the right gear.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin won two stages, in part thanks to his incredibly aero position. In the first time trial he wore the tallest aero shoe covers we’ve ever seen.
Speaking of aerodynamics: When I saw Geoffrey Soupe, left, I wondered if his beard possibly made him slower. Turns out a clean-shaven face will save less than 1 second over 40 kilometers, Specialized found.
These days, rider numbers also show their number of Tour stage victories.
Many teams use electrical tape to mark a rider’s exact saddle height. BMC used a marker.
Simple, time-tested things are hard to replace.
A spoke is a multitool.
Water bottles are used for more than drinking: Cannondale-Drapac kept a bottle filled with vinegar on hand.
It’s all about making the rubber suppler.
Don’t try this at home: While it might be tempting to wash your bike with a high-pressure sprayer, it is not advised. The Tour mechanics are pros and know how to use the right touch when spraying bikes. If you’re not careful, you could end up getting water into places it shouldn’t go and risk corrosion.
Every team car was outfitted with TV screens showing the race live, one up front by the radio and one in the back behind the passenger’s head rest.
Every Tour, we see faster and cooler helmets. The time trials bring out the high-tech lids, like this Lazer Wasp Air. Note the long tail.
Nairo Quintana time-trialed in a Catlike RAPID helmet. It’s shorter and doesn’t have that long tail that many TT helmets have, perfect for shorter TTs and in crosswinds.
Froome’s Kask TT helmet was somewhere in the middle of the two.
Meanwhile, Peter Sagan kept his man bun under wraps in his S-Works Evade aero road helmet from Specialized.
Each rider leading a classification at the Tour wore a custom helmet to go with the that leader’s jersey — as did Thomas Degent, who spent some time as the King of the Mountains leader and wore polka-dot shades.
Degent’s team went all out: He had a matching bike, gloves, and SRM power-meter box. It was fun while it lasted, but Poland’s Rafal Majka ended up winning the KOM competition.
Team Sky brought lots of horsepower to the Tour this year in form of the strongest team and a Ford Mustang, which served as a very fast support vehicle.
Like Froome and his bike, the Mustang got the yellow treatment for the final stage.