During the opening round of the 2023 WorldTour, RIDE Media filmed bikes of most of teams. Click the link below to see another video from the Pro Bikes series.
In focus is the Wilier Filante SLR of Astana-Qazaqstan, with the Spanish veteran Luis Léon Sanchez offering a few comments about the bike he’s racing in his 20th season as a pro.
– Part of a Team Bike series from the 2023 Tour Down Under (photos by Rob Arnold)
When the Tour Down Under comes to town, some of the pro teams opt to utilise the services of local mechanics. For several years now, Peter Chris – who is usually on the tools at Pro Cycle Garage in Adelaide – has worked with the Astana team.
RIDE Media asked Peter about the attractive Wilier bikes that are being raced by Astana-Qazaqstan in 2023.
“They’ve come ready made from the service course in Europe,” he explained while waiting for the start of the fourth stage. “They’re basically a mixture of two bikes that each rider gets: an aero bike and a more climbing orientated bike.
“Obviously, they’re all loaded with full [Shimano] Dura-Ace and Corima wheels and the proprietary integrated stem and handlebar system with all the [internal] cabling, which is quite nice.”
The team has a history with both Campagnolo and Shimano and in 2023, Astana-Qazaqstan riders all have the new 12-speed Dura-Ace groupset. There are a few interruptions to the complete ensemble, most noticeably the oversize pulley wheels from SLF Motion (pictured below).
“The oversize pulley wheels are very easy to work with,” says Peter. “We find they tend to keep a nice tension on the chain, and it keeps the chain well positioned on both the cassette and the chainrings when in full force.
During racing at the TDU this January, there seemed to be a fairly high rate of dropped chains – certainly in the opening stages, and one in particular (on Michael Matthews’ bike in stage two) that could have impacted the final result.
While talking to Peter Chris about Astana’s bikes, I asked what he put this down to. Is that the new groupset? The new season – and adjustments being made?
“There is a combination of things going with regards to the groupset,” he replied. “Obviously, a lot of it is to do with spring tension. Teams that are running oversized jockey wheels tend to have more tension on the chain, which tends to hold it onto the chainrings better, meaning less dropped chains. But again, it is a teething thing.
“It is a newish groupset and obviously there are some trials going on, searching for little improvements. But the new 12-speed Dura-Ace is certainly more efficient than the old 11-speed. The wireless feature is very good.”
Tyre choice is significantly different in 2023 to what it was not so long ago and as already reported in this #ProBike series, several teams have gone fully tubeless, others have a mix of tubular and tubeless, while Ben O’Connor and others at AG2R Citroën Team have opted for a high-pressure arrangement.
At the TDU this January, Astana-Qazaqstan’s Wilier bikes had Vittoria Corsa tubulars fitted to Corima wheels.
“Many of the teams have gone to tubeless but this team is still very traditional with tyre choice. The riders still do prefer the tubular set-up.”
Another big change in modern cycling is the significant variation in gear selection, made possible with the 12-speed offerings from Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM, which all now have much longer derailleur hangers than ever before.
“The ranges of gearing can be anywhere from an 11-30 to an 11-34, depending on the climbing in the stage,” said Astana’s contracted mechanic for the TDU.
Watch the video to see more of the Wilier bikes and the stunning finish.
Note: In Australia, Wilier bikes are distributed by De Grandi Cycle and Sport.
– Click the link below to see the bikes of 18 pro teams in 2023. –
Stay tuned for more bike galleries and videos about equipment used at #TDU2023.
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