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Bikes at the Front: 2016 AToC

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America’s race in the sunshine state provides no lack of bikes to feast your eyes on – from Sagan’s glistening, rainbow drizzled Specialized S-Works Tarmac to Wiggins’ murdered out Pinarello Dogma F8 with super secret hubs (more details on those tomorrow), the options are endless. After three days of racing under grueling sun and through misty coastal fog, a few bikes of the bunch have stood out to us here at the #PelotonServiceCourse. Although you can never have too many choices in your stable, we found these four to be of particular interest because of their varied successes during ATOC’s SoCal swing.

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Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 LTD

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Still unavailable for purchase in the United States, the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX is being ridden for the first time on California soil at this week’s ATOC by the Russian based Team Katusha. Although Canyon has produced bikes for a decade and been ridden in the past by other WorldTour teams like Movistar, the manufacturer has yet to set up the much anticipated distribution channel in the United States. One of the more striking features of the Aeroad is the integrated bar/stem combination, or Aerocockpit, helping to stabilize the front end and increase the aerodynamics of this striking bike. Alexander Kristoff rode his Aeroroad CF SLX to a bunch sprint win and 3rd overall on Monday’s stage 2 behind the breakaway, as well as an astounding 19 wins in 2015 and seven victories already this season. Look for him to challenge Sagan and Cavendish on the final stage of ATOC during the Sacramento circuit race aboard the sleek sprinting Aeroad CF SLX. Additionally, the newly formed women’s CANYON//SRAM Racing team will be aboard the sister bike, the Ultimate CF SLX 9.0 WMN Team CSR, when their race kicks off on Thursday with a challenging loop around Lake Tahoe.

Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod

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Ben King rode the feathery SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod in the break all day on Monday’s Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 into Santa Clarita. He survived a late push by Katusha to hold off the peloton and out sprint Rally’s Evan Hoffman for his first win since stage 1 at the Criterium International last March. He did this all aboard the completely unassuming and redesigned top of the line Cannondale that we saw released last summer in Austria. Although the wins atop the new SuperSix EVO have been few and far between in the last year, this week Ben and his bike deserves some press. He rode nearly the entire 150 km stage in the breakaway, sprinting for KOM and green jersey points along the twisty, technical and bumpy highways of the Angeles National Forest proving the versatility of the SuperSix EVO over any type of terrain. As Ben and his breakaway compatriot approached the finish, he was able to conserve energy and launch one final attack to the line securing the win and his first ever ATOC yellow jersey aboard Cannondale’s flagship WorldTour bike. Let’s not forget Stage 1 in San Diego, the team’s dedicated sprinter Wouter Wippert, nearly bested world champion Peter Sagan to the line in a vicious sprint proving the all-around capabilities of the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod.

RELATED: Check out our report from the launch of the SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod. 

Pinarello Dogma F8

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Being ridden by two British squads, Team Sky and Team Wiggins in the 11th annual ATOC this year, the Pinarello Dogma F8’s style and curvaceous tube shapes have long been the envy of many top-end bike enthusiasts. We spent time investigating the build of Sir Bradley Wiggins Dogma F8 (more to come later this week) and the paint scheme the Wiggin’s team has chosen no doubt catches the eye. The asymmetric frame is aerodynamic, yet responsive and comfortable for long, WorldTour stages, week in and week out. It is no wonder Team Sky has ridden the Dogma to over 130 victories over the course of their six-year relationship with Pinarello, including seven national road race championships and two Tour de France victories. Team Wiggins rider Daniel Patten rode his Dogma F8 in the break, lasting until nearly 4 km to go, during stage 1 in San Diego. With the aggressive nature of the young British squad and the wealth of experience represented on Team Sky we’d be surprised not to see the Pinarello Dogma F8 on the podium before the week’s end in Northern California.

RELATED: Check out our review of the F8 from last spring.

Bianchi Oltre XR.2

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Founded in Italy in 1885, Bianchi is the world’s oldest bicycle frame manufacturer and for 2016 Team LottoNL – Jumbo continues to be the only WorldTour squad piloting Bianchi’s turquoise race machine, the Oltre XR.2. The young Dutchman, Dylan Groenewegen, came to the finish line oh-so-close to Sagan and Wippert on stage 1, Sunday afternoon, and found himself standing on the podium in his first appearance at the Amgen Tour of California. A combination of aero qualities found in the seat post and sculpted seat tube combined with paper thin seat stays to create a compliant, yet ridged, power platform for GC contenders and sprinters alike. Just yesterday, George Bennett hit the slopes of Santa Barbara’s famed Gibraltar Road climb and snagged the last podium slot on the Oltre, proving its climbing prowess on one of the toughest climbs in North America. We’ve seen the young riders of Team LottoNL – Jumbo in the breakaway each day and expect their aggressive riding to pay off in the upcoming puncheur stages that await the riders as they travel north. The overall versatility of the Oltre XR2 should suit the riders well as they attempt to join early moves in hopes of getting one to stick all the way to the finish, where the oversized BB386 technology can translate into a powerful final kick to the line and a place atop the podium.

Words: Jeffrey Stern