- Igor Anton's Euskaltel Orbea Orca GDi2. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Not the most elegant Di2 routing I've ever seen, but it gets the job done. Oddly, the Orca is actually set up for internal routing through the chainstay (you can see the small exit port near the dropout). Why the mechanic didn't use the intended routing is a mystery he wouldn't shed any light on. Photo: Caley Fretz
- The seat post maintains an aerodynamic profile, and uses a Selle Italia head that can be swapped to accept the company's Monolink saddles. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Anton has been using Shimano's C35 carbon tubulars for the rolling and flat stages of this year's Giro, opting for the shallower (and lighter) C24 for the big mountain days. Photo: Caley Fretz
- The Orca's seatpost clamp is slick. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Anton prefers a deep, classic bend on his FSA bars. Photo: Caley Fretz
- The Orca's seat stays are designed to hug the wheel for as long as possible, which Orbea says improves aerodynamics. Photo: Caley Fretz
- A teardrop-shaped seat tube and rear wheel cutout help smooth airflow. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Head tube and downtube are both shaped to be slippery against the wind. Note the watch mount on Anton's bars - he only rides with heart rate, no power. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Igor Anton sits in 10th overall after Tuesday's uphill time trial. Photo: Caley Fretz
- The Orca's head tube is hourglass shaped to improve aerodynamics, and the fork blades get a shape that's similar to the seat stays, keeping the blades close to the wheel. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Mechanics use this nifty custom-shaped carbon clasp to hold Anton's number on. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Orbea Orca seat stays. Photo: Caley Fretz
- Orbea mounts the Di2 battery under the left chainstay, with cables routed internally up to the shifters. Photo: Caley Fretz
Igor Anton’s Orbea Orca GDi2 took him to victory in the Giro’s queen stage to Mont Zoncolan, a climb often described as the most difficult in pro cycling. After riding as high as third on GC after the Zoncolan, Anton slipped down to 11th at 10:58 behind Contador by stage 17. Nearly eight minutes of that deficit was lost on stage 15, where his effort up the Zoncolan the previous day clearly showed.
Despite the Euskaltel-Euskadi squad’s love of the climbs, the Orca isn’t designed as a pure climbing machine. Rather, Orbea engineers intended for the frame to be a solid all-rounder, just as comfortable off the front on a flat stage as on the Giro’s highest peaks.
The latest Orca spent plenty of time in the San Diego wind tunnel during the design phase, and uses a number of features also found on the company’s Ordu time trial frame. The result is a claimed decrease of 64 grams of drag compared to the old Orca, translatable to about 6 watts saved at 30mph, or a bit over 0.6 seconds per kilometer at the same speed (using the same approximate linear equation we used in our April issue aero road bike review).
Those 64g of drag come from small tweaks all over the frame. According to Orbea, the wild-looking rear triangle drops 14g, the slick seat post clamp 17g, the hour-glass shaped headset and heavily shaped fork save 15g, the teardrop shaped seat tube and seatpost drop 10g, and the pointed downtube 8g.
The total isn’t exactly huge, but 6 watts is 6 watts. Every little bit counts, and Orbea says ride quality and stiffness haven’t been compromised.
Beyond the Orca frame, Anton and the rest of his Euskaltel-Euskadi squad are on FSA cockpits and Shimano Di2 drivetrains and wheels. Anton has favored the C35 tubular for most rolling and flat stages, but won the Zoncolan stage on the lighter and shallower C24s. The team rolls on Vittoria Corsa EVO service course tubulars with tan cotton sidewalls.