Tour de France tech gallery: A look at the bikes used on the stage 3 cobbles
By Zack VestalPublished Updated
In terms of both potential GC shakeup and equipment selection, Tuesday’s stage 3 was perhaps the most heavily anticipated first week stage in recent memory. The 13 kilometers of cobbles, divided among seven sectors, provided plenty of opportunity for action.
On the morning of the stage, we checked around with as many teams as time permitted to see how they prepared the bikes. Some teams brought special bikes, others just fitted fatter tires, but they all made sure their rigs were ready for the stony roads ahead.
Lance Armstrong’s Trek-sponsored team didn’t dig into the service course for special classics bikes. The team used their standard 2011 6-Series Madone SSL road bikes bikes. (We’ve got the full scoop on the new 2011 Trek Madone series. Look for a story in the days to come.) The team rides SRAM Red and Bontrager components. For stage 3, the mechanics had fitted Aeolus 5.0 carbon wheels and large, 26c Hutchinson tires.
“Some bigger tubulars, and plastic bottle cages,” said team liaison Ben Coates, describing the extent of the team’s special preparations. “You can actually heat them up and close the arms to make them tighter fitting,” he explained about the Bontrager bottle cages. The Batwing cages fitted on Armstrong’s bike are no longer available, but the team prefers them because of this trick for tightening their hold on the water bottles.
Ivan Basso’s Liquigas team all started the day on Cannondale Synapse road bikes. But Basso himself waited until about 110km to go before changing bikes from his lightweight SuperSix Hi-Mod to one of the team’s Synapses. The Synapses were assembled with larger, 44-tooth inner chainrings.
Wheel choice on the Mavic-sponsored team ranged from Ksyrium SL tubular to 32-hole Reflex rims laced to Campagnolo hubs. The team uses Schwalbe Ultremo tubular tires.
Team leader Alberto Contador started the day on his normal Specialized Tarmac SL3 road bike (look for a photo gallery in the days to come). Like Basso, he changed to a new 2011 Specialized Roubaix at around 110km before the finish.
Fabian Cancellara, the Schleck brothers, and the entire Saxo Bank team began the race on Specialized’s new 2011 Roubaix bikes. Their bikes were fitted with 44-tooth small chainrings and Zipp 303 wheels with fat, FMB tubular tires. Speedplay’s special, pro-only classics road pedals were installed on Andy Schleck’s bike.
Mark Cavendish and his colleagues rode their new Scott F01 road bikes. From what we could see, all the bikes were fitted with oversized Continental tubular tires and what looked like Hed Stinger 6 rims laced to Shimano hubs.