Scheldeprijs tech gallery: the narrow, the aero and the power (or Power)

Pro teams break out the aero gear for sprinters' classic, plus some surprises

Handlebars just 32cm wide, negative stems at least 150mm long, single-ring bikes and Power or power-look-alike saddles were among the tech highlights of the 2018 Scheldeprijs — the windswept, midweek sprinters' classic that falls between the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Put on by the organizers of the Tour of Flanders, the Wednesday race has historically showcased a bizarre blend of bike gear as some teams go all aero for the sprint win, while others use the event for last-minute race testing of cobbles gear ahead of Paris-Roubaix.

It isn't Paris-Roubiax quite, yet... but it's coming
It isn't Paris-Roubiax quite, yet... but it's coming

This year, the race began in Holland, and featured an extra helping of crosswinds across the ocean-facing dykes, but only one cobbled section on the finishing circuits near Schoten, Belgium. 

BikeRadar visited each team at the start to see who was riding what. You'll have to click through the gallery for the full picture, but let us give you a few highlights here. 

Team Sky was on Stages power meters. The British super squad was provided meters by both Shimano and Stages at the beginning of the season, but all the riders at Scheldeprijs were on Stages LR meters. 

1x chainrings and disc brakes

Aqua Blue Sport rolled up to the start as the one squad on 1x drivetrains. Most riders used a 54t big ring with an 11-36 cassette, but some had a 44t ring and 3T's cassette that features a 9t small cog.

Mixed braking systems in the peloton had raised some concerns from riders in regard to safety
Mixed braking systems in the peloton had raised some concerns from riders in regard to safety

EF Education First-Drapac riders raced on Cannondale's unannounced aero disc bikes, rumoured to be called the SystemSix. The SystemSix features internal cable routing through the head tube, a disc brake-only design and all the expected features of an aero road frame, including truncated tubing and lowered seatstays.

At last weekend's Tour of Flanders, notably not a single rider competed in the race with disc brakes, to our knowledge. For Scheldeprijs, alongside Aqua Blue Sport who raced aboard its disc-only 3T Strada and EF-Drapac's new Cannondales, Quick-Step Floors had a mix of disc-equipped Specialized Tarmac and Venge framesets.

Final dress rehearsal

Zdenek Stybar had additional brake levers on the tops of his handlebars, branded as Specialized
Zdenek Stybar had additional brake levers on the tops of his handlebars, branded as Specialized

Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) were among several riders to race on what appeared to be their final, or close-to, Paris-Roubaix specced bikes.

Adaptations included additional brake levers on the handlebar tops, electronic rear suspension and a rim brake S-Works Roubaix, which is not available as a consumer model.

At Scheldeprijs, riders used a mix of bikes, from aero to endurance. Ian Stannard has a Dogma K-10 with suspension
At Scheldeprijs, riders used a mix of bikes, from aero to endurance. Ian Stannard has a Dogma K-10 with suspension

We also spotted the pro peloton's narrowest handlebars, Jan-Willem van Schip's 32cm alloy wonder bars.

Click or swipe through the gallery above for the full look at gear put into action at the 2018 Scheldeprijs.

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 Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • 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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