Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) came oh-so-close to victory in this month’s stunning Paris-Roubaix finale, desperately chasing – but not quite able to catch – a fleeing Tom Boonen (Quick Step) after a dramatic series of late crashes found the Belgian star soloing into the Roubaix velodrome for victory for a third time.
Still, Pozzato’s second place finish was a superb result for the new Katusha team along with their Belgian sponsor, Ridley, who built a special Damocles Pi just for the Italian rider. Unlike some other custom machines in the Paris-Roubaix peloton that typically sported generous tyre clearances, longer wheelbases and the like, this was no dedicated cobbles bike.
In fact, at least as far as the frameset is concerned, Pozzato’s Damocles Pi features not a single concession to Paris-Roubaix’s brutal pavé and the custom geometry reads more like that of a typical road racer: the head tube is shorter than usual for a lower and more aggressive position; the top tube is longer – and also level in contrast to the stock version’s sloping orientation – so that he can stretch out more; and the seat tube has a slightly slacker angle to better accommodate his generous 10.5cm of saddle setback.
Otherwise, the usual Damocles features are still included such as the tapered and oversized 1 1/8in-to-1 1/2in front end – something Ridley adopted several years earlier than most – CNC-machined aluminium one-piece dropouts that offer a stiffer mounting platform for the rear derailleur yet are still easily replaceable, and distinctive character lines.
Clearances are decidedly tight all around in seeming defiance to Paris-Roubaix’s often nasty conditions and according to Ridley PR manager Jan Geudens, Pozzato’s frame is built with the same levels of stiffness as on the stock Damocles.
Even the build kit isn’t far off from usual. In addition to the complete Campagnolo Record 11 group – not even a second place finisher at Paris-Roubaix gets Super Record – Pozzato ran low-profile Campagnolo Hyperon Ultra carbon tubular wheels and special 23mm-wide Vredestein tubulars shod with a deep file tread to provide a little extra purchase on the cobbles.
The usual 53/39T chainrings were swapped for a more appropriate matched 53/46T set recently developed by Campagnolo just for the Spring Classics and an 11-25T cassette was used out back.
Pozzato’s bike does at least sport a simple chain watcher clamped around the seat tube plus a sealed Gore derailleur cable and housing set but that’s about it. Even the bars are just single-wrapped.
Completing the build are an aluminium Newton Shallow bar and Zero 100 stem from Deda, a Prologo Nago Evo saddle, Look KeO Carbon pedals, Elite bottle cages and a Polar CS600 computer.
Though it may not be a dedicated pavé bike, Pozzato’s Ridley was certainly lighter than most on that day and appeared to have survived to the end of the race just fine anyway. Total bike weight is more Grand Tour feather than Spring Classics battleship at just 7.19kg (15.85kg) – over a kilo lighter than Boonen’s custom Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL2 – but even that wasn’t enough in the end to bridge the gap when all was said and done.
- Frame: Ridley Damocles Pi, custom geometry
- Fork: Ridley Damocles
- Headset: FSA Orbit integrated
- Stem: Deda Zero 100, 140mm x -6°
- Handlebars: Deda Newton Shallow, 44cm (c-c)
- Tape/grips: Prologo Pro Touch
- Front brake: Campagnolo Record D-Skeleton
- Rear brake: Campagnolo Record D-Skeleton
- Brake levers: Campagnolo Record 11s Ergopower Ultra-Shift
- Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record 11s
- Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record 11s
- Shift levers: Campagnolo Record 11s Ergopower Ultra-Shift
- Cassette: Campagnolo Record 11s, 11-25T
- Chain: Campagnolo Record 11s
- Crankset: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque ST 11s, 172.5mm, 53/46T
- Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque
- Pedals: Look KeO Carbon
- Wheelset: Campagnolo Hyperon Ultra tubular
- Front tyre: Vredestein 23mm tubular
- Rear tyre: Vredestein 23mm tubular
- Saddle: Prologo Nago Evo
- Seatpost: Integrated
- Bottle cages: Elite Custom
- Computer: Polar CS600
- Other accessories: Gore sealed derailleur cable and housing
- Rider's height: 1.83m (6ft)
- Rider's weight: 73kg (160lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 807mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 640mm
- Handlebar drop: 140mm
- Head tube length: 165mm
- Top tube length: 575mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.19kg (15.85kg)