The addition of sports director Allan Pieper to BMC has given the team newfound focus this season. The more finely honed single-leader strategy during races has already paid dividends in the early season but according to team mechanic Ian Sherburne, the sharp Aussie has also instilled a more methodical approach to equipment testing, as evidenced on the bike of Greg Van Avermaet.
Pieper clued BikeRadar in on two pieces of equipment insight gleaned during off-season testing. For one, Shimano's 50mm-deep Dura-Ace carbon wheels actually absorb more road imperfections than its 35mm option – and in most wind conditions, they're appreciably faster, too. Secondly, while average endurance-type riders might prize the softer ride that the stock BMC CompliancePost carbon seatpost provides, the unforgivingly harsh Paris-Roubaix cobbles prompted the team to instead add 50g of material to better deal with the big hits.
Speaking of which, Van Avermaet's BMC GranFondo GF01 frameset also mimics that more performance-driven ride characteristic. Unlike many bikes of its ilk, the GF01 doesn't deliver the creamy ride that some might expect – and in fact, its massive lower half can sometimes feel surprisingly stout. That said, its flex pattern is tuned more for faster and more intense bumps in the road – just as would have been the case last Sunday.
Pieper says that the GF01's modified geometry relative to the team's standard SLR01 model also makes it a smarter choice for Paris-Roubaix. The longer wheelbase and slightly relaxed front end makes for a more stable platform that can better handle the bumps. According to Pieper, it's also more forgiving toward the end of the race when the totally shelled riders might find a typical race bike a little too twitchy.
More importantly, there's room in the GF01 for the huge 27mm-wide handmade cotton tubular tires used by Van Avermaet and his teammates, with fine file treads that wrap nearly all the way down the sidewalls. While BMC is sponsored by Continental, the ones used at Paris-Roubaix clearly didn't come out of Germany. We can't identify for certain the manufacturer – and of course, the team wouldn't talk about it – but given the tread pattern and the 'Made in Thailand' lettering molded into the rubber, Challenge seems like a reasonably safe bet.
The rest of Van Avermaet's setup closely followed that of many other top Paris-Roubaix contenders, including the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 electronic group with a full complement of satellite shifter buttons and big gears tailor-made for the flat course. Other component highlights include an SRM power meter, a 3T forged aluminum stem and single-wrapped traditional-bend carbon bar, a fi'zi:k Antares with carbon rails, Elite Sior Mio cages, and Dura-Ace carbon-bodied SPD-SL pedals.
Total weight with the SRM PowerControl 7 computer head (but no water bottles) is 7.54kg (16.62lb).
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: BMC GranFondo GF01, 54cm
- Fork: BMC ComplianceFork
- Headset: Integrated, 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in tapered
- Stem: 3T ARX II Team, 130mm x -6°
- Handlebar: 3T Rotundo Team, 44cm (c-c)
- Tape: fi'zi:k, double wrapped
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-9000 w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-9000 w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-9070
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-9070 with SW-R600 and SW-R610 supplemental shift buttons
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-9000, 11-25T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-9000
- Crankset: SRM PowerMeter Shimano 11-speed, 172.5mm, 53/46T
- Bottom bracket: Shimano PF86
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-9000
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-9000-C50-TU
- Front tire: 'Continental' tubular, 27mm
- Rear tire: 'Continental' tubular, 27mm
- Saddle: fi'zi:k Antares w/ braided carbon rails and carbon fiber shell
- Seatpost: BMC CompliancePost, 18mm setback, w/ custom additional reinforcement
- Bottle cages: Elite Sior Mio with additional grip tape (2)
- Other accessories: SRM PowerControl 7 computer
- Rider's height: 1.81m (5ft 11in)
- Rider's weight: 74kg (163lb)
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 768mm
- Saddle setback: 67mm
- Seat tube length (c-t): 495mm
- Seat tube length (c-c): 465mm
- Tip of saddle nose to center of bars (next to stem): 598mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop: 130mm
- Head tube length: 159mm
- Top tube length (effective): 542mm
- Weight: 7.54kg (16.62lb, with computer)