Start line tech gallery from Paris-Roubaix
By James Huang, tech ed, in France | Sunday, April 8, 2012 4.30pm
BMC's new GranFondo GF01 made its debut at Paris-Roubaix but it couldn't help Alessandro Ballan improve on his third place at the Tour of Flanders James Huang/Future Publishing
Mother Nature constantly threatened rain at this year's Paris-Roubaix but the windy – but mostly dry – conditions kept both the riders and bikes relatively clean and definitely mud-free at the end of the day. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won his fourth title aboard Specialized's new S-Works Roubaix, Europcar captain Sebastien Turgot sprinted for second on a Colnago Cross Prestige, and Alessandro Ballan (BMC) came in third after starting in Compiègne on his brand-new BMC GranFondo GF01.
Turgot – all of Europcar, in fact – and Rabobank's Lars Boom were the only riders we noticed at Paris-Roubaix on 'cross bikes in contrast to some other years where the machines were frequently a little more radical. Obviously there was no reason for shouldering here – the main goal was tire clearance.
Europcar riders used Colnago's Cross Prestige chassis for Paris-Roubaix
The hot setup looked to be 27mm-wide Paris-Roubaix tubulars, used by Boonen, Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky), and countless others. Boom's Giant TCX Advanced SL 'cross bike, however, allowed for even bigger 30mm FMBs inflated to just 60psi or so.
Otherwise, most of the key teams and riders rode bikes that are virtually tailor-made for such conditions stock or after only just a few modifications. Sky went with Pinarello Dogma Ks, Garmin-Barracuda on the very well proven modified Cervélo R3, Lotto-Belisol on Ridley Heliums with different forks, and Argos-Shimano on tweaked Felt F1s.
One notable exception was Liquigas-Cannondale's disc brake-equipped Cannondale SuperX 'cross bike. It seems this was mostly just for show, though, as it wasn't really equipped for Paris-Roubaix with its Mavic C29ssmax mountain bike wheelset, 23mm-wide clincher tires, and standard 53/39T gearing. Nonetheless, if the point was to draw a crowd, it worked – there were definitely lots of people checking it out.
Liquigas-Cannondale had this disc-equipped Cannondale SuperX mounted atop the team car but it seemed like more of a publicity stunt than a proper spare bike for Paris-Roubaix. Don't forget that the UCI has apparently already banned the technology for the 2012 road season
Take a look at our image gallery for a closer look at most of the remaining bikes at Paris-Roubaix that we didn't cover yesterday. We're not done yet though - there's still plenty more to come tomorrow.
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