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Pro Bike: Tom Zirbel’s Pinarello TT rig

By Zack Vestal

Zirbel's Pinarello: The bike has a clean look.

Zirbel’s Pinarello: The bike has a clean look.

Photo: Don Karle

Just one day before heading out to the Amgen Tour of California, Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling) stopped by the VeloNews offices with his Pinarello FM1 time trial bike.

He was on his way out for a last day of training before joining the star-studded peloton in Sacramento for Saturday’s prologue. We got some photos and component highlights, and enjoyed a relaxed conversation with Zirbel.

For now, the 2009 FM1 shown is serving as both a training and racing bike. He’s already put it through the paces at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, where he earned second place in the stage 3 time trial. He’s hoping to get another TT bike for year-round training in Boulder, but for now, he’ll pack this one up for the flight to California.

Zirbel's Pinarello: Zirbel runs MOST bars without bar wrap, with the pads taped to the base bar for a low elbow position.

Zirbel’s Pinarello: Zirbel runs MOST bars without bar wrap, with the pads taped to the base bar for a low elbow position.

Photo: Don Karle

“Most guys don’t train at home with their TT bikes, but there’s a couple of us, that that’s our job.”

It’s early in the season, and even the top pro teams don’t always have all the sponsor-correct parts to build the bikes. Bissell is sponsored by Campagnolo, but Zirbel is using a SRAM Rival front derailleur and a Chorus rear derailleur, until team mechanics can complete his Record group.

Zirbel’s set up

Zirbel rides the largest size available (57.5cm) in Pinarello’s TT-specific FM1 model. At almost 6-foot-5, it would appear that he’s pushing the upper limit of fit, but he said he’s comfortable on the bike. “I run a fairly low saddle for my inseam, so I don’t have any troubles,” he said.

Zirbel's Pinarello: There is no mistaking who owns this FM1.

Zirbel’s Pinarello: There is no mistaking who owns this FM1.

Photo: Don Karle

Interesting to note is his setup on the aero bars. Some top TT riders have taken to “hiding behind the hands,” using a narrow elbow position and forearms tilted above horizontal.

Zirbel sticks to a longer, lower, and wider position on the bars. “That was one thing that I took away from the wind tunnel: is that a wider-position hand position seems to be faster for me. And I can breathe better this way,” he said.

Asked about the lack of bar tape, he said it feels fine without, so he’ll probably leave it that way. He also tapes his elbow pads directly to the base bar, foregoing any fixture. His set-up produces a lower position.

“I ran the pads taped to the bars like that in Argentina, and it works fine,” he said. With the stem mounted flush against the headset, Zirbel has taken his position about as low as it can realistically go.

Component highlights:

Zirbel's Pinarello: The Campy drivetrain is not completely Record ... yet.

Zirbel’s Pinarello: The Campy drivetrain is not completely Record … yet.

Photo: Don Karle

• Wheels: Easton EC70 SL (for training)
• Cranks: Campagnolo Record carbon, 177.5mm, 53/39 chainrings
• Brakes: Campagnolo Record
• Handlebar: MOST Trilite
• Stem: MOST Tigerlite team edition
• Saddle: MOST Cougar
• Brake levers: Cane Creek 200tt
• Pedals: Speedplay Zero Stainless
• Bottle cage: Elite

Watch VeloNews.com for Zirbel’s results in the prologue and the stage 6 Solvang time trial. And watch for more pro bikes from the Tour of California coming up this weekend.


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