Huge crowds lined the grand place in Ypres, awaiting the arrival of the 22 teams contesting the Tour de France.
Besides prepping the bikes, team staff need to keep all the electronics charged and ready. This set-up was spotted in the undercarriage of the Cannondale team bus.
Three of the sports greatest champions, Belgian Eddy Merckx, France’s Bernard Hinault and Bernard Thevenet, helped kick off the festivities ahead of the stage 5 start.
Europcar team bikes were outfitted with a sliver of sandpaper on the bottle cages in hopes of keeping water bottles in place during the cobblestone sections.
Like many teams, riders on the FDJ.fr squad switched from their normal race bikes to endurance models. In this case it’s the Lapiere Pulsium, which has a small elastomer in the lower rear section of the split top tube that helps soak up road vibration.
Reigning Tour de France champ Chris Froome’s Pinarello Dogma K had both a standard chain catcher and this extra stopper wedged tightly between the frame and chainrings. It wasn’t enough to keep him in the race.
Despite the increased potential for dropping his chain, Froome opted to stick with the ovalized rings he runs on his normal race bike set-up.
Garmin-Sharp mechanics were busy before the stage applying a little extra grease to thwart the effects of the wet and often dirty roads.
Normally Garmin-Sharp bikes are outfitted with full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic drivetrains, but on this day the team opted for old reliable mechanical shifting systems.
Team Katusha bikes sported these rudimentary mud flaps to help alleviate the effects of road spay.
All the FDJ.fr bikes were sporting these long-arm Shimano brakes, which provide the extra tire clearance needed to run larger tires.
Race leader Vincenzo Nibali’s Specialized Roubaix was equipped with Specialized/FMB 28c tires wrapped around Cormia Viva carbon hoops.
The largest tires spotted were these 30c tubular that were spec’d on some of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step bikes.
Stage 5 of the Tour de France was run on some of the same roads as the famed Hell of the North, which of course necessitated Paris Roubaix edition tires.
Tires on the Omega Pharma-Quick Step bikes had a little extra tread.
All riders on the three Specialized sponsored teams (Astana, OPQS and Tinkoff-Saxo) choose the Roubaix and its ride smoothing fork and seatstay Zertz inserts.
Big ride-smoothing tires were the order of the day for all 22 teams contesting the 101st edition of the Tour de France.
The Orica team’s set-up looked distinctly old school with large and supple tubulars wrapped around these unmarked carbon hoops.
Richie Porte and the rest of his Sky teammates rode the Pinarello Dogma K bike instead of their usual Dogma F8s.
In an effort to rattling at a minimum, mechanics for Sky added a small strip of electrical tape around the valve stems.
Current — and commanding — race leader Vincenzo benefited from an extra wrap of bar tape.
Riders on the Cannondale team kept informed of both the location and distance of each cobbled section, plus information on how hard each was from medium to very difficult (in French).
All riders on the Trek Factory Racing team switched over to the more compliant Domane bikes, which were dressed with FMB Paris Roubaix edition 27c tires.