- Swift's front wheel used a HED Stinger 4 rim. Photo: Nick Legan
- They're hard to get, but Shimano does produce custom drilled hubs, 18-hole in this case. Photo: Nick Legan
- Swift wasn't alone riding custom wheels. Several of his teammates had them too. Photo: Nick Legan
- Almost all of the stickers are removed from the Team Sky wheels, but these small ones give away the rim manufacturer. Swift used an S7 rear rim and races on Veloflex tubulars. Photo: Nick Legan
- With the blustery conditions on stage 3, Swift stayed with a shallower wheel on the front of his Pinarello. Swift also rides Speedplay pedals unlike most of his teammates who use Shimano SPD-SLs. Photo: Nick Legan
- Team Sky's young sprinter Ben Swift is on a roll this season. Photo: Nick Legan
- It takes strength, experience and confidence to pilot a front wheel this deep in windy conditions. Photo: Nick Legan
MODESTO, Calif. (VN) — Team Sky does what it takes when it comes to getting what they feel is the best material for their riders. We saw this at Roubaix when the team purchased several different manufacturers’ tires in search of the perfect tire.
Well, Sky’s policy of buying non-sponsor material also extends to wheels, pedals and saddles in some cases. Ben Swift lined up Tuesday on a pair of custom wheels that use Shimano Dura-Ace hubs laced to HED rims, an S4 on the front and an S7 on the rear.
Team officials don’t make a big point of hiding the fact that they use material from manufacturers other than official team sponsors. Several riders weren’t on Prologo saddles and Ben Swift doesn’t ride Shimano pedals, preferring Speedplay.
Team mechanic Filip Tisma explained that riders are allowed to use special material if they have a medical reason to do so. He also added that some riders take advantage a little bit by saying that, “they’re too old to try something new!”
That certainly isn’t the case for the recently turned 24-year old Swift, who after stage 3 is in second place, tied on overall time with leader Greg Henderson, also of Team Sky.