Pro bike: Sep Vanmarcke's Bianchi Oltre XR2

Classics hardman's Italian stallion

Timothy John Timothy John
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Just a handful of riders would have welcomed the unveiling of the cobbled fifth stage of the 2014 Tour de France. Belkin Pro Cycling’s Sep Vanmarcke is likely to have been among them. 

The 25-year-old is a member of an elite group of cobbled Classics specialists, who finished third at this year’s Tour of Flanders, and fourth at Paris-Roubaix. A year earlier, he missed victory in the Queen of the Classics by the narrowest of margins, having duelled with Fabian Cancellara to the finish line.

Belkin Pro Cycling needed a big result at this year’s Tour de France. The spectre of disbandment has hung over them since announcing in the middle of last month that its title sponsor would end its association at the end of the season. The team has set itself the ambitious target of raising €250,000 by July 27 (the final day of the Tour). Follow this link to support them.

Lars Boom’s victory on arguably the hardest stage of this year’s Tour will have done much to boost the team’s cause. Vanmarcke, perhaps the leading candidate for honours before the stage, did much to assist his team-mate, and applauded as he crossed the finish line.

Let’s take a closer look at Vanmarcke’s steed, which we shot before he rolled out for stage two from York to Sheffield (the Belgian and his Belkin team-mates rode the Italian brand’s Infinito CV on the cobbles of stage five).