Norwegian powerhouse Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) is hoping to continue the upward trend of 2009 and 2010 with a top-step finish at this year's Paris-Roubaix. Sure to help things along is the same basic formula bike sponsors Cervélo have employed for several years to great effect, now applied to their revamped R3 chassis.
Cervélo have made some major updates to the venerable R3, including more exaggerated tube shapes throughout, a tapered 1-1/8 to 1-3/8in front end (rather than the more common 1-1/8 to 1-1/2in dimension that Cervélo say yields too harsh of a ride), carbon dropouts, and the company's clever BBright integrated bottom bracket standard. This is nearly identical to BB30 but with the non-driveside bearing pushed 11mm further out from the centerline of the frame for improved frame stiffness and axle support.
Naturally, frame weights have dropped significantly, too. Special changes to handle the cobbles and often – at least in years past – adverse weather conditions of Paris-Roubaix are surprisingly modest. Just as Cervélo have done under previous sponsored winners like Fabian Cancellara and Stuart O'Grady (2006 and 2007, both with Team CSC), chainstays have been lengthened by 10mm while a similarly massaged fork sports additional rake, longer blades and a broader crown.
The combination yields extra tire clearance all around to accommodate the 27mm-wide FMB tubulars that Hushovd plans to run on Sunday and produces a longer wheelbase for more stable handling relative to a standard R3 while still maintaining overall balance between the front and rear wheels. Cervélo say the frame is otherwise unaltered – meaning no special fiber layup schedules or additional bolstering – so the bike shouldn't feel all that different from a stock setup despite the abuse Hushovd's machine is designed to withstand.
Coming from the Cervélo TestTeam side of the recent merger with Garmin-Transitions, Hushovd will benefit from using similar componentry to years past. SRAM's new Black Red group gets a gloss black finish but is otherwise unchanged from the standard Red package, while Hushovd should also be well accustomed to Rotor's clever 3D cranks (though here it's of the '3D+' variety to work with the BBright bottom bracket and gets a stiffer outer chainring than last year).
3T are carried over as well, with Hushovd running the company's ARX Team stem and Rotundo Pro bar – the same as last year – but switching from their carbon-shafted, two-bolt Dorico seatpost to an aluminum Palladio. Though we didn't receive any reports of Hushovd having seatpost-related issues last year, the Palladio's innovative head design should virtually guarantee against saddle slippage while mechanics will be able to clamp down more tightly on the aluminum mast. Just in case, though, they've also fitted an extra clamp atop the standard binder.
Hushovd has switched from Zipp to Mavic wheels and according to team mechanic Kris Withington, the two-time podium finisher plans on using the French company's latest M40 carbon wheels and enormous 27mm-wide FMB tubular tires for his run at Paris-Roubaix. Similar in concept to the 303s Hushovd used last year, the M40 sports a medium 40mm depth but an extra-wide profile that's designed for use with wider tires. The burly carbon layup is supposedly tough enough to withstand the pounding of the pavé.
Interestingly, Hushovd was using Mavic's more conventional Cosmic Carbone SLR tubulars in the run-up to Roubaix. Withington says the SLR's new Exalith aluminum sidewalls offer a tangible advantage in braking performance – especially in the wet – and while the M40 apparently works great with wide tires, it's so broad and wraps so far up the base of the tire that the team prefers it when used with more standard-width rubber.
Other changes include a move to Shimano Dura-Ace pedals, Garmin's Edge 500 computer and Arundel stainless steel bottle cages. Gore Ride-On sealed cables are fitted throughout, too. Total bike weight has climbed relative to last year, from 7.10kg (15.65lb) to 7.62kg (16.8lb).
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Cervélo R3 Paris-Roubaix, 56cm
- Fork: Cervélo FK30 SL Paris-Roubaix, 1-1/8 to 1-3/8in tapered
- Headset: FSA Orbit integrated, 1-1/8 to 1-3/8in tapered
- Stem: 3T ARX Team, 140mm x -6°
- Handlebar: 3T Rotundo Pro, 44cm (c-c)
- Tape: 3T
- Front brake: SRAM Black Red w/ Mavic Exalith-specific pads
- Rear brake: SRAM Black Red w/ Mavic Exalith-specific pads
- Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
- Front derailleur: SRAM Black Red w/ steel cage
- Rear derailleur: SRAM Black Red
- Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
- Cassette: SRAM PG-1070, 11-26T
- Chain: SRAM PC-1091
- Crankset: Rotor 3D+, 175mm, 53/44T round chainrings
- Bottom bracket: Rotor 3D+
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7900
- Wheelset: Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR tubular w/ Exalith sidewalls
- Front tire: Veloflex Roubaix tubular, 24mm
- Rear tire: Veloflex Roubaix tubular, 24mm
- Saddle: Fi'zi:k Arione CX Twin Flex w/ K:ium rails
- Seatpost: 3T Palladio Pro
- Bottle cages: Arundel Stainless (2)
- Computer: Garmin Edge 500
- Other accessories: Gore Ride-On sealed derailleur and brake cables and housing, Rotor chain catcher
- Rider's height: 1.83m (6ft)
- Rider's weight: 83kg (183lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 781mm
- Saddle setback: 81mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 552mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 503mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 604mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 100mm
- Head tube length: 173mm
- Top tube length: 560mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.62kg (16.8lb)