A storming ride on Saturday’s queen stage of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift saw Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar Team) take the yellow jersey by over three minutes over Demo Vollering (Team SD Worx). Naturally, befitting any yellow jersey wearer, at the start of the following day’s final stage from Lure to La Super Planche des Belles Filles, her bike sponsor Canyon rolled out a brand new bike decked out in yellow everything.
Interestingly, for a stage that finished atop a gravel climb at the top of a mountain, Canyon provided Van Vleuten with its aero bike, the Aeroad CFR, rather than the brand new lightweight Ultimate CFR we spotted just last month at the Critérium du Dauphiné. But of course, the Aeroad is no porker. For my own Canyon Aeroad review, I weighed it at 7.3kg in size L with tubeless wheels, so Van Vleuten’s size XS frame with tubular Zipp 303 tubular wheels would surely be knocking on that 6.8kg limit… wouldn’t it?
In the first 60km of Sunday’s stage, Van Vleuten was spotted changing bikes four times, and according to reports by Cycling Weekly, the reasons pertained primarily to weight.
Movistar’s team press officer, Dani Sánchez, explained that the extra coats of yellow paint added grams, and that was enough to put the Dutch team leader off using the bike for the ascent of La Super Planche des Belles Filles. It’s unconfirmed exactly how many grams would be added for this particular coat of paint, but estimates range from 80 to 150 grams. For those same reasons, she rides an unpainted version of the Aeroad while her teammates use a black and blue team-edition colourway.
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According to Sánchez, the plan was set that at a predetermined point, Van Vleuten would switch to her usual, unpainted bike. However, shortly after, an untimely mechanical meant the leader was forced onto a teammate’s bike, which didn’t fit, so was then forced back onto the yellow bike. Once the lighter-weight unpainted bike had been fixed, she repeated the original swap onto the unpainted Aeroad, now complete with odd Zipp wheels – one black, and one yellow.
It would appear that all the effort was worth it, for the Dutchwoman went on to win the stage ahead of her closest rival Vollering by 30 seconds to cement her place atop the general classification.