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 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.