The coveted white jersey of ‘best young rider’ has become a familiar sight to burgeoning 22-year-old talent Robert Gesink (Rabobank), and now he has a shiny new white bike to match.
Giant replace Colnago as the official Rabobank team sponsor this year, and conveniently for Gesink and his teammates, the change brings with it a new version of Giant’s long-running TCR carbon road racer, the TCR Advanced SL.
Gesink’s gleaming white TCR Advanced SL is a marked visual departure from his classic-looking lugged carbon Colnago with its far bigger tube profiles, sweeping curves and smooth lines.
Though the old TCR was no slouch in the weight and stiffness departments, Giant say this new one is a big leap forward.
In addition to the more oversized cross-sections, Giant have graced their new flagship with a tapered 1 1/8in-to-1 1/4in steerer tube surrounded by an enormous head tube, an 86mm-wide bottom bracket shell with press-fit bearing cups, and a similarly wide rectangular-profile down tube to match.
According to Giant, the new bike is 42 percent stiffer overall and provides better braking performance thanks to the stouter front end.
Yet this new iteration is also lighter by roughly 200g and is claimed to be more comfortable owing to the slimmer seatstays and the integrated seatmast’s tuned flex pattern. Despite the gifted Dutch climber’s lanky 1.87m (6ft 1in) build, his bike is just barely UCI-legal at 6.83kg (15.06lb).
Shimano and its PRO subsidiary continue on as Rabobank sponsors. For 2009, Gesink has upgraded to the latest Dura-Ace 7900 group and carbon tubulars, as well as the ubiquitous SPD-SL pedals.
In contrast to many pros, Gesink not only opts for a carbon bar and stem but a minimally taped integrated setup that presumably adds a bit of stiffness but also limits adjustability.
Team mechanic Joost Hoetelmans says Gesink has no particular setup requests, and we would have to agree judging by the bike’s appearance. Save for the massive amount of bar drop, Gesink’s bike is decidedly standard looking.
Gesink won this year’s best young rider competition at the Tour of California by a comfortable 1:03 but will have to look to bigger things next year because he turns 23 in May.
Judging by this year’s showing, the race leader’s jersey may well be within reach – Gesink finished 8th overall, just 1:54 behind 3-time winner Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and ahead of such notable riders as George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream), Floyd Landis (OUCH) and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank). Best keep your eyes on this one.
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- Frame: Giant TCR Advanced SL, size M/L
- Fork: Giant TCR Advanced SL
- Headset: FSA integrated
- Stem: PRO Stealth Evo integrated, 120mm x -6º
- Handlebars: PRO Stealth Evo integrated, 42cm (c-c)
- Tape/grips: PRO cork
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900-F
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900-SS
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace Hollowtech II FC-7900, 175mm, 53/39T
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-FC7900
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7850-C24-TU
- Front tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo-CX tubular, 21mm
- Rear tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo-CX tubular, 21mm
- Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Team Edition
- Seatpost: Integrated
- Bottle cages: Tacx Tao Carbon
- Computer: Suunto
- Rider's height: 1.89m (6ft 2in)
- Rider's weight: 69kg (152lb)
- Seat tube length, c-c: 500mm
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 835mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 640mm
- C of front wheel to top of bars (next to stem): 602mm
- Top tube length: 570mm
- Total bicycle weight: 6.83kg (15.06lb)