While Bianchi launched the super-light Specialissima in June, the Oltre XR2 remains LottoNL-Jumbo’s primary bike at the Tour de France.
The Oltre XR 2, launched in 2013, is Bianchi’s all-rounder combining a low frame weight with a handful of aerodynamic features, including subtly aero-profiled tube profiles and an integrated seatpost clamp.
This is the Bianchi Oltre XR2 of LottoNL-Jumbo Dutchman Laurens Ten Dam. Let’s delve in for a closer look.
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Laurens Ten Dam's Bianchi Oltre XR2
Laurens Ten Dam enjoyed a breakthrough Tour de France in 2014, finishing ninth in Paris, but the Dutch rider crashed heavily on stage three of this year's race, dislocating his shoulder. Despite that, Ten Dam has soldiered on but is more than one hour behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the general classification.
The Bianchi Oltre XR2 was launched in 2013 and is something of an all-rounder, combining a low frame weight of 895g (claimed) with a handful of aero features. It's not a full-blooded aero bike, but details like this integrated seatpost clamp are designed to offer a little free speed.
Same goes for the fork, headtube and downtube junction. It's a beefy, semi-integrated affair which places more material at the fork crown and this has a dual purpose: one, to smooth air flow around this key second of the bike, and two, improve front-end stiffness.
Every rider at the Tour de France will have at least two race bikes (and that's before you think about time trial bikes and cobbles bikes): one on which they start each stage and one which goes on the team car. A small sticker on the wishbone seatstays marks this out at Ten Dam's main machine.
Bianchi are sponsored by Shimano and Ten Dam is running a complete Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset. The Oltre XR2 has internal cable (or, rather, wire) routing and the Di2 wire exits the chainstays before being fed into the rear derailleur. A simple zip-tie secures the loose cable to the chainstay.
Consumer electronic giant Pioneer entered the cycling market a couple of years back with the introduction of a power meter. The crankset-spider based unit can measure left and right leg power via six strain gauges, three on either crank.
An integrated chain catcher keeps watch, ready to push Ten Dam's chain back on to the small ring in the event of a potential derailment.
A single 5mm spacer props up Ten Dam's stem, an aluminium unit wrapped in carbon fibre. Team LottoNL-Jumbo's mechanics have wrapped the rear brake cable and Di2 wire together to keep things neat at the front end.
One careful owner
Ten Dam uses a team issue Selle San Marco Concor saddle, which sits on the Oltre XR2's aero-profiled seatpost. Not all equipment used at the Tour is in mint condition, which obvious crash damage to Ten Dam's much-loved perch.
Like the vast majority of Shimano-sponsored teams, LottoNL-Jumbo also use Shimano wheels,, wrapped here in Vittoria Corsa SC tubular tyres.
The Specialissima was launched in June as Bianchi's super-light climbing bike but only LottoNL-Jumbo's team leader, Robert Gesink, has had the 780g frame, which also uses Bianchi's comfort-boosting Countervail technology, at his disposal at the Tour, using it on the first mountain stage in the Pyrenees to record a strong result by finishing fourth on the day. This is Gesink in action.