Luke Evans is a cycling journalist, author and former editor of Cycle Sport magazine. In his spare time, he pilots top cycling photographer Graham Watson at the races. Currently, he’s taking Graham around the Giro d’Italia. You can see Graham’s photos in our gallery section.

Stage 17, Chieti-Blockhaus, 83km

It’s a bit pointless looking for light climbing bikes when every rig in the peloton weighs around the UCI minimum of 6.8kg.

Some riders, like Damiano Cunego for instance, actually prefer a slightly heavier bike. Cunego’s DS, the South African Brent Copeland, told us the other day that Cunego likes his bikes to weigh 7kg.

He does not feel comfortable on lighter bikes on the fast descents and wanted a heavier fork too. Cunego’s Wilier is pretty special as the carbon frame has an extra long top tube to accommodate his long torso.

Yesterday was the rest day and we went off in search of light bikes for today’s ramp-up to Blockhhaus.

Nothing doing at Astana, where Brit mechanic Alan Butler cheerfully told us you can buy lighter bikes in the shops, below the UCI limit, than anything the pros can ride.

If the UCI weigh a bike at the finish of a stage and it’s under the limit the rider could be DQ’d so the teams make sure the bikes are not underweight.

Levi Leipheimer’s Trek was under the other day so they had to add a few grams. We saw three of Lance Armstrong’s Treks (all the same model and kit) for the Giro.

The yellow one with Italo-Da Vinci code black graphics is the heaviest thanks to the amount of paint and lacquer. It looks good close up but the detailing is too fine from the middle distance.

The white Trek with silver and yellow stickers looks great and will probably be the bike he rides today. It has non carbon bottle cages so is probably on the UCI limit.

Lance’s third Trek is the white and black Livestrong model which we have not seen him riding much at all.

Just got to the Rabobank bus in time to grab Denis Menchov’s bike from a helpful mechanic.

These days most of the spannermen are, if not exactly eager, quite willing to let you take pictures of their team bikes. Everyone does their bit for PR in cycling now.

Menchov’s Giant is exactly the same as all the others on the team. Sorry to disappoint, it doesn’t even have pink bar tape. As if it needed repeating, the Russian is a no-thrills rider.

Luke

PREVIOUS BLOGS FROM THE GIRO
Part six: Cav, Cipo, Stannard’s thighs and Bombay Gin
Part four and five: Luke remembers fellow moto pilot Fabio Saccani
Part three: Luke and Graham were first on the scene when Pedro Horrillo crashed
Part two: The bike has a problem on stage six
Part one: Kicking off the 2009 Giro