at the Tour de France

Absent the shackles of an office and desk, I opted to grab the laptop and camera, hit the road and make a visit to France to catch the start of the Tour de France, with the debut, a road stage instead of a prologue, taking place Saturday in the Brittany coast town of Brest. My mission while here: cruise the team trucks, take a look for prototypes, debuts and other soon-to-hit-the-market goods.

I found a few surprises, a few oddities and lots of new names (CSC-SaxoBank, Garmin-Chipotle, Columbia-HighRoad). I also saw some cool one-off goods (see the Berner rear derailleur on, or consider the Pearl Izumi cooling vest (co-developed with Allen Lim) with pockets to contain either ice or crystal-filled packets for the Garmin-Chipotle riders to keep them cool before the start of hot days) Moreover, however I saw some wicked things to look forward to seeing at Interbike, and beyond that, on our store shelves next year.

The lateral side of the German-made Berner lower jockey encasement, mated to a standard Shimano Dura-Ace upper

The medial side of the Berner lowers

The swoopy shape of the new Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed shifter/brake lever

The new Shimano Dura-Ace brake caliper features polished and black anodized features, as well as an enlarged cable adjust dial

Shimano's new Dura-Ace crankset.

Full groupset-sponsored teams were allotted between six and seven of the new groupsets per team for the Tour de France this year.

Slipstream's Julian Dean has a very clean cable run, thanks to Shimano's new internal cable run, ported through the Oval Concepts Aergo flat-top road bar.

An angled look at Felt's new AR1, the newest entry into the aero road bike segment.