Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tour of California - The Bikes

Although the fearless riders, who literally risk life and limb everyday, are the heros of the race, to some, the stars of the show are the bikes they're riding on. While the riders are getting ready in the RV for the long day of racing, the mechanics line up each teams bikes for the public to drool over. The bright red Pinnarello Dogmas of the Bissell squad got a lot of attention. I love the Northwest Coast Indian inspired paint job on the carbon handle bar-stem combo.
The bike above is one of the first bikes that caught my eye, and certainly one of the most unique of the Tour. This is the custom Cannondale bike of Francesco Chicchi of the Liqugas squad. He's nicknamed the Sheriff and his bike has an old west, gunfighter paint job.
This bike was his reward from his sponsor for winning last year's Tour of Missouri. If you look closely you can see two "bullet holes" on the chainstay. The saddle even has fuax-cow skin. I wonder what he's gonna be riding next year if he manages to win a stage here.
Although not all of the riders have a customized paint job like Chicchi, nearly every team has the name and national flag or fun logo of each rider somewhere on the bike. This is Tom Boonene's Eddy Merckx ESX-5. Tom's nickname is Tornado Tom and his logo incorporates the World Championship stripes. The plain carbon, red and white color scheme is pretty subdued for someone as colorful as Boonen, but you can't blame that on the designers at Merckx bikes. The picture below shows the bike Tom was riding right before he crashed near the end of Stage 1. It has a beautiful Belgian tri-color paint scheme. I'm assuming it was unrideable after the crash because Tom didn't even cross the finish line with it and he didn't start Stage 2 with it.

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