Why was Filippo Ganna’s Tirreno-Adriatico team car stacked with spare bikes?

Monday’s opening time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, a no-frills, pan-flat run up and down Lido di Camaiore’s coastal road, passed largely without surprise on the results sheet. World time trial champion Filippo Ganna romped to victory, finishing 11 seconds clear of Remco Evenepoel and a further seven ahead of Tadej Pogačar, the week’s GC battle left poised in the Italian’s wake.

However, looking beyond the power and precision of the Italian’s 17th career time trial victory, some eagle-eyed viewers spotted something amiss – an abundance of spare bikes stacked atop the team car following him during the stage.

Ganna’s Ineos Grenadiers team weren’t preparing for a Michael Rasmussen-esque calamity on the 13.9-kilometre course, though – instead they were simply optimising their star rider’s aerodynamics.

QuickStep-AlphaVinyl did the same in the car behind Evenepoel, too, while the car following fourth-placed Kasper Asgreen had five bikes on the roof. Meanwhile, the cars of Pogačar and fifth-placed Dowsett held only a standard single spare bike.

The exploit is not against UCI regulations – which don’t legislate for the number of spare bikes atop a team car – and is also seemingly not a brand new one conjured up by Ineos’ newly added aero expert Dan Bigham. Cyclingnews has pored through photo and video archives and found that, since the final stage of the 2021 Giro d’Italia onwards, Ganna has made the switch from one or two spare bikes to the plethora seen on Monday.

In fact, he has had a bike-laden team car following him at three out of the four time trials he has raced for Ineos since – at the Etoile de Bessèges, the Tour de la Provence, and on Monday.

 

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