Orica-GreenEDGE delivered on their tag as favourites to win the opening team time trial of the 2015 Giro d’Italia – and this is the Scott Plasma 5 on which Simon Gerrans claimed the first maglia rosa of the race.
Gerrans led his Orica-GreenEDGE squad over the line in San Remo as the Australian team registered the fastest time on the 17.6km course.
That put the 34-year-old into the leader’s jersey, ending a nightmare start to the season which saw Gerrans suffer a broken collarbone in January and a fractured elbow in his first race back, Strade Bianche. Gerrans then crashed twice during the defence of his Liege-Bastogne-Liege title and abandoned, but escaped serious injury.
The Plasma 5 is the latest edition of Scott’s time trial/triathlon bike, launched in July last year. We stopped by the Orica-GreenEDGE team bus after the team time trial to run the rule over Gerrans’ bike.
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Simon Gerrans' Scott Plasma 5
Simon Gerrans, who joined Orica-GreenEDGE from Team Sky back in 2012, has endured a nightmare start to 2015 but bounced back with his team-mates to win the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia on this Scott Plasma 5.
We found Gerrans' bike, complete with flowers, propped up against the team bus just after the Australian had returned from the podium where he pulled on the first maglia rosa of the 2015 Giro.
The Plasma 5 was unveiled in July 2014, replacing the Plasma 3. The Plasma 5's bottom bracket is, quite simply, enormous, and contributes to a claimed 47 per cent improvement in stiffness over the Plasma 3.
Hidden from view
The bottom bracket junction also hides the direct mount Shimano Dura-Ace brake. If you were wandering what happened to the Plasma 4, it was launched alongside the 5 as a more affordable version of the frame and without the integrated front-end.
The Plasma 3 was already an aggressive looking bike but the Plasma 5 takes that to a new level. Scott say it offers a seven per cent reduction in drag over the old bike. UK-based aerodynamics expert Simon Smart worked with Scott to develop the Plasma 5's radical tube profiles.
Keepin' it wide
25mm tyres are now standard for the majority of teams through the peloton on road stages and Orica-GreenEDGE also use the wider rubber on their TT bikes - but you could barely slip a sheet of paper between the Continental Competition Pro Ltd tyre and the frame.
Profile Design developed the Plasma 5's aero extensions with a view to offering plenty of adjustment without sacrificing aerodynamics. Gerrans likes his extensions pointing fairly high in the air. All cables are hidden from view at the front end of the Plasma 5, while the proprietary front brake is integrated into the fork. Not the patriotic electrical tape used by the Australian team's mechanics.
Gerrans uses a K-Edge mount to hold his SRM power meter computer. Note the grippy finish on the padding where Gerrans rests his arms.
The Giro's opening time trial may only have been 17.6km but it was still long enough for a water bottle on a warm day in northern Italy. Of course, it's an aero design, with Gerrans' using the Elite Crono CX bottle and accompanying cage. The bottle has a slim profile to hide it from the wind and a dimpled surface to minimise the disruption of air flow. In the background you can see Gerrans' Shimano Dura-Ace pedals.
Gerrans sits on a Fizik Ares saddle during time trials. The TT-specific saddle has a carbon-reinforced nylon shell, K:ium rails and weighs a claimed 199g. The sticky surface helps lock Gerrans in position when he's putting the power down.
The brains of the operation
Orica-GreenEDGE are one of 13 WorldTour teams sponsored by Shimano and the Dura-Ace Di2 junction box, normally strapped below the stem on a road bike, is hidden underneath Gerrans' saddle on the Plasma 5, with the wires feeding into the seattube. That can't make life easy for the team mechanics.
Bigger is better
The team time trial followed a largely flat route along the coast in Liguria and that saw the majority of riders use bigger chainrings than the conventional 53-39t road setup. Gerrans opted for a 54-44t combination, but the biggest we saw was a 58t outer chainring on the bike of Gerrans' team-mate, Brett Lancaster. You read that right... 58 teeth. Ouch.
One for the road
As well as a bunch of flowers, Gerrans (and the rest of his team-mates) earned a bottle of Prosecco for his victory. Orica-GreenEDGE went into the stage as favourites and had some pink handlebar tape lined up ready to wrap onto Gerrans' road bike in the event of winning.
Speaking of Gerrans' road machine, his Scott Foil was also parked outside the team bus (no pink tape yet). The Foil is a machine which helped set the benchmark for aero road bikes, combining truncated airfoil tube profiles with a low claimed weight of 830g.
While Gerrans' team-mates ride blue bikes, the three-time Tour de France stage winner gets a custom machine, which has an outline of the Australian flag and the Melbourne-born rider's personal logo on the toptube. Gerrans' time in the Giro's leader's jersey would be short-lived, but the maglia rosa was passed on to team-mate and compatriot Michael Matthews after stage two's bunch sprint, in which the 24-year-old finished seventh behind Team Sky's Elia Viviani.