Benefits of wearing the yellow jersey? Fame, usually fortune, and whole bunch of yellow kit and gear. The first recipient of such bounty at this year’s Tour de France was German sprinter Marcel Kittel, who snagged the opening stage and 2014’s first maillot jaune. Awaiting Kittel the morning of stage 2 was this nifty number from team sponsor Giant. Alas, Kittel was nowhere near the front of the race at the end of stage 2, so this bike will have to go back in the closet for the time being.
Kittel’s weapon of choice is the Giant Propel Advanced SL, a wind cheating aero road machine dressed with lots of yellow touches.
The integrated seatmast saves a claimed 45 grams over a standard set-up, improves ride feel, and enhances aerodynamic performance.
Career Tour de France stage wins are noted on each rider’s number plate. Kittel upped his number to five on the first day of the race. That also earned him a yellow colored SRM display to mount on his bars. Apparently he prefers not to see his watts while racing.
Being on a team co-sponsored by Shimano means access to all the Japanese company’s offerings, including top-tier Dura-Ace C50 carbon hoops.
Kittel’s set-up is decidedly sprinter’centric. He’s uses a massive 135mm Pro Sprint stem and Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting with sprinter buttons so he can switch gears while in the drops.
No mistaking whose bike it is. Cable and electronic shifting wires are neatly routed internally to further enhance aero performance.
Stock set-up on the Propel are composite integrated brakes front and rear. But because top-end stopping power is so important, and the composite models are less-than-perfect, the team uses these custom alloy versions.
For at least one morning Kittel was big man on race. The yellow jersey has since been passed on, but expect the burly German to feature prominently in every sprinter-friendly stage between here and the finale in Paris.