This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com
It’s January and that means that the WorldTour descends on Adelaide for the Tour Down Under. The racing itself doesn’t get underway until Sunday, but as the riders begin to trickle in so does a boatload of new gear.
WorldTour riders are obligated to wear 2017 sponsor gear up until 31 December, even if they've transferred to a new team, so the Tour Down Under is often the first time we see riders in their new kit.
We’ve been in the pits with our eyes peeled and cameras ready, and have spotted a few interesting bits of tech so far.
Helmets, helmets and more helmets
Dimension Data and Katusha-Alpecin have swapped to Oakley lids for 2018, and Lotto-Soudal have changed from Lazer to HJC.
Based in France, HJC has been making motorsports helmets since 1971 and have three cycling lids in its catalogue. The helmet adorned by Lotto-Soudal is yet to appear on the company's website, but features similar design elements to the Giro Synthe.
A few riders from Bora-Hansgrohe are wearing a previously unseen model, which appears to be an update to the Evade, with a smaller profile and snub tail that has proven to be the fastest design in the past few years.
Movistar has updated its colours for 2018 and has outfitted its TDU team with the latest Abus Aventor, which was launched back in October.
When it comes to seating arrangements, every rider has their own preference, and this is the place where mechanics are typically forced to utilise the most magic marker to make things sponsor-correct.
It seems quite a few riders are big fans of short, wide saddles like the Specialized Power, with riders from FDJ sporting the new Prologo Dimension seats. Mitchelton-Scott’s bikes are adorned with a previously unseen Syncros saddle.
Among Dimension Data's new sponsors for 2018, the team has partnered with Italian saddle maker Astute, known for using tri-density memory foam in its perches.
LottoNL-Jumbo have swapped from San Marco to Fizik saddles for 2018 and many of the riders are on the new Arione and Antares Open, which feature plastic bumpers on the edges that so often get ripped and slightly updated shapes.
Of those, all but Team Sky and Mitchelton-Scott were sporting the Shimano meters. Sky were still running Stages power meters on Shimano R9100 cranks while Mitchelton-Scott were running Dura-Ace R9000 SRM meters paired with PC8 computers — it does appear that Mitchelton-Scott are riding last year's bikes though, because the Orica logo still appears on the fork.
Spotted for the first time was the ultra Gucci SRM Origin power meter which was paired with Shimano’s R9100 chainring on the Bahrain-Merida bikes. AG2R-La Mondiale are still running Dura-Ace R9000 chainrings with the same SRM meters.
House brand components
Mitchelton-Scott is running Syncros components and saddles with Shimano Dura-Ace wheels.