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Tour de France Tech – July 23, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

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Alejandro Valverde's Illes Balears Opera FP.
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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Alejandro Valverde's Iles Balears-Caisse d'Epargne Opera Leonardo FP

The 2005 Tour de France was a race of success and disaster for multi-talented Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde. The success came as Valverde sprinted past Lance Armstrong as they approached the stage ten finish line in Courchevel, powering to victory aboard his Opera Leonardo FP.

Nice curves.
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But disaster struck just a few days later as the rider praised by Lance Armstrong as possibly "the future of cycling" succumbed to the pain of a knee injury and climbed into the sag wagon during stage 13.

Valverde is a brave and talented rider who will undoubtedly be back as one of the contenders for next year's Tour, and meanwhile his bike sponsor Fausto Pinarello is delighted to be associated with the young Spaniard.

The bottom bracket cluster.
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"Valverde is something else", Pinarello told Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney. "He is a special rider and we're happy that he brought us the first Tour stage win for our Opera brand."

Pinarello looks after two ProTour teams, Valverde's Iles Balears-Caisse d'Epargne with Opera, and the Fassa Bortolo team with the bikes that bear the family name. "Opera is not a
second brand for us, but a high performance bike that enables us to do something different that we can do with Pinarello," said Pinarello. "We have Opera models in carbon fibre, titanium, hydroformed aluminium and steel, and all the models are inspired by and named after a great Italian artist."

Deda Newton bars
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The artist in this case is of course Leonardo Da Vinci, and as befits a bike named after an inventive genius, the Leonardo FP is perhaps the most technologically advanced bike in the Pinarello and Opera ranges. The main frame is a carbon fiber monocoque (made in a surprising nine sizes, three or four than most carbon monocoque frames), carbon fiber Opus stays, and the frame incorporates Pinarello's M.O.st bottom bracket, which puts the rider's choice of axle into an oversized bottom bracket shell for increased drivetrain stiffness. Up front, Valverde's bike boasts the new Onda FP fork.

Shapely seatstays.
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Along with all this Italian-designed engineering goodness is a an almost completely Italian set of running gear. Campagnolo provides go and stop in the form of the Record Carbon component set, with 175mm cranks on Valverde's 53 cm frame (with 54.5cm top tube).

More Italian gear up front with Deda's Newton bar and stem, and the theme continues with Vittoria tubulars glued to Campagnolo Bora carbon wheels.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com