Besides the bikes, there is plenty of other kit to get excited about while you're watching the Tour de France! At the highest echelons of the sport, professional riders get all of the lightest, fastest and fanciest gear to help them perform to their full capability.
But this high performance kit isn't just for the pros - we took a look at some of the essential kit which you can get your hands on whether it's for racing or the club run! Available online or in one of our eleven stores, here's some of our favourite shoes and helmets.
A high performance pair of road shoes should be lightweight and breathable with plenty of stiffness for transferring all of your effort into the pedals with the utmost efficiency. Materials vary from man-made high breathability fabrics to more classic leathers, with most pro-level shoes opting for carbon fibre soles. And - as with clothing and helmets - aero is becoming more relevant in the world of professional road cycling footwear.
Specialized offer two shoes under their top of the range S-Works moniker - the S-Works 6 and the S-Works Sub6. Used by world champion Peter Sagan, the S-Works 6 aims to provide explosive speed and superior comfort by using a Body Geometry sole and footbed alongside a FACT Powerline carbon fibre plate.
The Sub6 follows a recent shoe trend with a return to a laced closure, and Specialized claim that this is both the lightest and most aerodynamic shoe they've produced. Weighing in at 194g per shoe, the Sub6 comes with the 'Warp Sleeve' lace cover which has been wind tunnel tested to reduce drag and clean airflow over the shoe
The Giro Empire is the shoe that really kickstarted the recent return to laces for high-performance cycling shoes. The lace system provides unrivaled fit adjustment and cuts weight with the SLX version weighing in at just 175g per shoe, and is combined with an Evofibre SL upper for a snug fit and breathability. As you'd expect, the Empire comes with a carbon fibre sole for maximum power transfer.
One criticism of laces on cycling shoes is the lack of on-the-fly adjustability, and this is where Giro's Techlace system comes into its own on their Factor and Sentrie Techlace models. This system retains the comfort and adjustability of laces but uses a unique strap system and BOA dial to allow for easy adjustment on the bike.
Sidi are the shoe of choice for Team Sky leader Chris Froome, and are perhaps one of the most recognisable brands when it comes to road cycling shoes. The Italian brand design their shoes with every detail in mind to provide shoe that deivers everything you need for a brilliant ride.
The Wire Carbon Air model uses a vented Microfibre Techpro upper, a high-tech leather with water-repellency and anti-mold treatments, and closes with Sidi's Techno-3 Push dial system. The Wire Carbon Air's do, of course, come with a carbon sole.
Essential for any competitive cyclist is a correctly fitted, well-ventilated and comfortable helmet to protect your head. Gone are the days of riders in La Grand Boucle riding with just cotton caps - the new breed of road helmets are designed to provide excellent protection for the rider without inhibiting performance or style. Over recent years we've seen helmet trends shift from lightweight models, to out-and-out aerodynamic gains, and now to a point somewhere in the middle, where helmets look to balance ventilation with strong aerodynamic performance.
Kask have been a constant in the success of Team Sky over the last few years, and have developed to become one of the most desirable helmet brands for roadies. The Protone model is one of their highest performing models, and the helmet of choice for Team Sky for the majority of races.
The Protone is one of a new breed of road helmet which finds a balance between aerodynamics and ventilation. The smooth rear section is combined with large front vents which have been wind tunnel tested for maximum efficiency.
Besides shoes, Giro are also one of the leading helmet brands in cycling. Much like Kask, their range now includes dedicated lightweight and aerodynamic helmets, but arguably their most popular model - especially with pro teams - is the Synthe which, too, combines the best of both worlds for a ventilated but fast helmet.
As with most top level cycling products these days, this helmet has undergone wind tunnel testing to place the 26 vents with internal channeling which provide plenty of ventilation. The Synthe is also available with MIPS, the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System which redirects energy during crashes to keep you safer
Specialized offer the full range of accessories to accompany their bikes, topped off by their helmet range. Pro teams like Quick-Step Floors and BORA-Hansgrohe have the choice of two models - the aerodynamic Evade, and the lightweight Prevail 2.
The S-Works Evade is perhaps the most popular aerodynamic helmet on the road, with it's distinctive design and stillt he helmet of choice for sprinters liek Marcel Kittel. the Evade's advanced aerodynamics are claimed to save 46 seconds over 40km compared to a standard road helmet. The Prevail 2, on the other hand, is more likely to be seen on mountainous stages with tons of ventilation and a 5% decrease in weight over the previous iteration.