This year's Paris-Roubaix saw little more than a few spritzes of rain on the course and yet at least two of the top ten ran full-on 'cross frames instead of road bikes: second-place finisher Sebastien Turgot (Europcar) and Rabobank rider Lars Boom in sixth.
Boom is a two-time UCI world cyclo-cross champion and is obviously well accustomed to riding such a beast. Mud wasn't an issue for this year's running but even so, Boom says he preferred the handling and feel of his Giant TCX Advanced SL on the cobbles over the Defy Advanced SL the rest of the team was riding – the same bike he rode at last year's Paris-Roubaix.
"It feels good so why should I change it?" he told BikeRadar at the team hotel in Compiègne the day before the start.
Overall, the geometry of the two bikes is similar with identical head and seat tube angles and the same top tube lengths. The TCX chain stays are one centimeter longer, though, and the wheelbase is a substantial 3.5cm longer for extra stability. Giant doesn't publish bottom bracket drops on its web site but we know the TCX measures an unusually tall 55mm – the Defy is almost certainly significantly lower.
Boom says the other major factor in his decision was tire size. While the rest of the team was using 27mm-wide tubulars over the cobbles, Boom was running even bigger 30mm casings with tons of room to spare on account of the more generous frame and fork spacing and Giant's own team-only machined aluminum cantilever brakes.
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Video: Lars Boom's Giant TCX Advanced SL Paris-Roubaix
Boom wouldn't disclose what air pressure he was running – "I'm not going to say!" he told BikeRadar– but it was especially low even as compared to other bikes at Paris-Roubaix. We estimated approximately 4 bar (60psi) front and rear.
Boom did, however, start on his Defy Advanced SL in Compiègne "to save some energy." Boom says he and the team chose a good location about 80km into the race to make the swap and he rode the TCX into the velodrome later in the day.
Build kit on both bikes was similar aside from the tires and brakes. As did nearly all of the Rabobank team, Boom switched to a mechanical Dura-Ace drivetrain instead of his usual electronic group and 35mm-deep Dura-Ace carbon wheels were the norm. Boom opted for an all-aluminum cockpit from team sponsor PRO his saddle of choice was fi'zi:k's Antares k:ium.
175mm-long Shimano Dura-Ace crankarms with 53/44T chainrings for Rabobank rider Lars Boom
Total weight for Boom's TCX Advanced SL was an impressive 7.49kg (16.51lb) without bottles.
- Frame: Giant TCX Advanced SL, size L
- Fork: Giant TCX Advanced SL
- Headset: FSA Orbit ZS tapered, 1 1/8-to-1 1/4"
- Stem: PRO Vibe 7s, 115mm x -6°
- Handlebars: PRO Vibe 7s Anatomic, 42cm (c-c)
- Tape/grips: PRO
- Front brake: Giant custom cantilevers for Rabobank
- Rear brake: Giant custom cantilevers for Rabobank
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900
- 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 FC-7900, 175mm, 53/44T
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace press-fit SM-FC7900P
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU
- Front tire: 30mm tubulars (Veloflex?)
- Rear tire: 30mm tubulars (Veloflex?)
- Saddle: fi'zi:k Antares k:ium
- Seat post: Giant TCX Advanced SL integrated
- Bottle cages: Tacx Tao (2)
- Computer: n/a
- Rider's height: 1.91 m (6' 3")
- Rider's weight: 75kg (170lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 814mm
- Saddle setback (ask mechanic): 92mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 547mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 537mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 605mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 140mm
- Head tube length: 175mm
- Top tube length: 575mm (horizontal) (indicate actual/horizontal)
- Total bicycle weight: 7.49kg (16.51lb)