HTC-Columbia star Mark Cavendish raced his first Tour of Flanders last Sunday aboard a carbon fibre Scott Addict. It wasn't his normal racing machine though; it was tweaked to better handle the rough cobbles and often treacherously slick conditions typical of the Belgian spring classic.
Dimensional changes are subtle, amounting to just a few millimetres of additional wheelbase for stability and a touch more tyre clearance at either end to accommodate the relatively fat 25mm Continental Pro Limited ProTection tubulars. Subbing in for the usual integrated seatmast is a softer-riding PRO Vibe conventional telescoping carbon post.
In addition, team-only one-piece dropouts with a non-replaceable derailleur hanger are fitted to the rear end and Scott's HMF carbon fibre blend is used instead of the stiffer HMX mix usually used on Cavendish's standard road bike. That means this one is heavier, but also likely more damage tolerant as well.
Space under the crown for the bigger-than-typical 25mm-wide Continental tubulars
Several of the component choices are unique to Cavendish's Flanders bike relative to those of his teammates. For one, he continues to use the standard Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 group instead of the electronic Di2 version used by most of the HTC-Columbia team. According to the team mechanics, Cavendish and the other sprinters on the squad prefer the feel and tactile feedback of the mechanical levers and are thus willing to forego some of the convenient Di2 niceties such as the recently introduced top-mounted remote shifters.
Cavendish was also running deep-section HED carbon tubular wheels while most of the other riders ran the Ambrosio box-section aluminium rims typical of the harsher cobbled races.
Shimano's latest carbon-specific brake blocks are still in prototype form but are found here
Other component highlights include aluminium-bodied Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals and the company's prototype carbon-specific brake blocks, the SRM power meter with updated 7900-compatible chainring spider, a fi'zi:k Arione CX Carbon saddle, and familiar finishing kit from PRO with Cavendish's trademark massive Vibe Track stem and anatomic-bend Vibe 7S aluminium bar.
Like most pros, Cavendish prefers his stem almost as low as possible
Cav's position has changed slightly from previous seasons, too. While the saddle height and bar positions are virtual matches from the end of last season, the explosive sprinter now sits ever so slightly further forward with a setback decreased from 46mm to 41mm.
In the end, Cavendish didn't officially finish his first Ronde, although he did complete the distance. He crashed and ruined his rear mech after 160km, then ran out of energy, which put him completely out of contention. But after the finish, he vowed: "I'll come back again and hopefully my winter will be a little better."
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Scott Addict team-only edition with longer stays, non-replaceable hanger and HMF carbon fibre blend
- Fork: Scott Addict team-only edition with additional tyre clearance
- Headset: Ritchey WCS press-fit
- Stem: PRO Vibe Track, 13cm x -10°
- Handlebars: PRO Vibe 7S, 42cm (c-c)
- Tape/grips: PRO Smart-Silicon
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 with prototype carbon-specific blocks
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 with prototype carbon-specific blocks
- 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, 11-25T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
- Crankset: SRM Wireless PowerMeter Dura-Ace 7900 Compatible
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace press-fit SMI-FC7900
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
- Wheelset: HED Stinger 60 Flamme Rouge tubular
- Front tyre: Continental Pro Limited Competition ProTection tubular, 25mm
- Rear tyre: Continental Pro Limited Competition ProTection tubular, 25mm
- Saddle: fi'zi:k Arione CX Carbon braided
- Seat post: PRO Vibe
- Bottle cages: Elite Ciussi Gel
- Computer: SRM PowerControl VI
- Other accessories: custom carbon fibre number plate holder
- Rider's height: 1.75m (5' 9")
- Rider's weight: 69kg (152lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 698mm
- Saddle setback: 41mm
- Seat tube length, c-t: 527mm
- Seat tube length, c-c: 460mm
- Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 550mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 70mm
- Head tube length: 120mm
- Top tube length: 535mm (horizontal)
- Total bicycle weight: 7.57kg (16.69lb)