Tech gallery: Schizophrenic Scheldeprijs

Deep wheels and bar-top brake levers mingle at sprinter’s race before Paris-Roubiax

At the pancake-flat Scheldeprijs Wednesday, aero bikes with deep wheels mingled with endurance bikes with Paris-Roubaix-style modifications, revealing the mixed objectives of riders at the sprinter’s race in northern Belgium. Some were there for the win; others to fine-tune their Roubaix set-ups ahead of the Hell of the North.

For riders and teams eager to contest the sprint finish, 50mm wheels were the minimum, with 60, 70 and even 80mm rims in regular use. Similarly, aero frames and aero road helmets were plentiful.

For others, getting a few more races miles on endurance frames with modified cockpits and gearing were the priority.

Europcar’s Yohann Gene set out from Antwerp with old-cyclocross-style bar-top brake levers on his Colnago CX Zero.

For a little extra insurance, Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins had grip tape on the Elite bottle cages mounted on his new Pinarello Dogma F8-S. 

Lotto-Soudal’s Lars Bak rode a prototype Ridley Fenix, a future update to the Belgian brand’s endurance platform. His inner chainring was a huge 46t, put on in advance of Paris-Roubaix. Other riders had 53/44t and even 54/44t chainrings installed. On the other end of the spectrum, Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Frederique Robert had a semi-compact 52/38t mounted. "He hasn't been feeling well," his mechanic said.

One Paris-Roubaix modification notably absent from all teams at Scheldeprijs, of course, is tubular selection. Teams will be breaking out the 28 and even 30mm tubulars for Roubaix on Sunday. At Scheldeprijs, 25mm tubulars were the norm.

For a close look at the unique blend of bikes and gear at the midweek race, check out the gallery above.

Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team, Trek Boone 5, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4, Marinoni fixed gear, Santa Cruz Roadster TT bike
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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