The search for marginal gains in professional cycling is nothing new. However, Jumbo-Visma was forced to look long and seriously for ways to reduce the weight of its Bianchi Oltre XR4 bikes, which came out in 2016, are no longer as thin as they were when they launched. Enter the “unnamed” wheels, used primarily on the team’s climbing machines.
The wheels are in fact the WS + tubulars from Corima. The reason for Jumbo-Visma’s stealthy approach? The team is under contract to drive Shimano wheels. In some ways, the lack of branding made the wheels more noticeable; particularly contrasted with the beige-walled Vittoria Corsa rubber they use. With Roglič, Wout van Aert and Sepp Kuss leading the race and taking up a lot of screen time, the wheels became a topic of discussion.
Corima wheels are lighter than all Shimano offerings, including its Dura-Ace C24 carbon model. It’s a matter of grams; the WS + are around 10 grams lighter than the C24s, but are significantly lighter than the Dura-Ace C40 wheels that Jumbo-Visma has fitted in previous races. Roglič and Tom Dumoulin have been seen pairing a Corima front wheel with a deeper Dura-Ace rear wheel, while some riders like Robert Gesink and George Bennett have opted for unbranded Corima wheels up front and down. the back. The wheels used with a few other weight reduction choices are starting to add up.
On stages that were characterized by many climbs, Jumbo-Visma matched the black wheels with an eye-catching black colourway on their Bianchi frames. The reason for the departure of the emblematic Celeste? Black paint is in fact a “unique paint system”.
According to Bianchi, it “significantly reduces the molecular weight of the coating”. Sources say the saving is around 80 grams. Add that to the fact that Jumbo-Visma also uses the rim brake version of the Ultra XR4. The rim brake frame is 60g lighter than the disc version. Additionally, the rim-brake version of the Dura-Ace Di2 groupset used by the team is over 300 grams lighter than the disc equivalent.
The first signs are that the team is reaping the rewards. When Roglič pulled away from his rivals in the final 150 meters of stage four to take the first finish at the top of the race, he did so in style aboard a black Bianchi.