Jani’s bike mysteriously shows up at Sacramento hotel.

By Zack Vestal

AToC Tech Notes: Sick! Cancellara in the special Oakleys on Saturday.

AToC Tech Notes: Sick! Cancellara in the special Oakleys on Saturday.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Cancellara’s eyewear

A sharp-eyed reader pointed out that Fabian Cancellara won the prologue while wearing Oakley Radar glasses with a unique look. Steve Blick, sports marketing guru at Oakley, explained what we were seeing.

“Cancellara was wearing a polished gold frame and the lens was black Iridium on clear (lens),” he said. He added that the clear lenses are available to consumers, but not with the black Iridium coating. “We like to do something special for the top guys, and the black Iridium gives it a really cool, misty look, with a little edge, a little attitude,” he said.

AToC Tech Notes: Oakley Jawbone glasses with pro-only black Iridium on clear lenses.

AToC Tech Notes: Oakley Jawbone glasses with pro-only black Iridium on clear lenses.

Photo: Zack Vestal

The model itself was the Radar XL, which has taller nose pads and lens to accommodate use during a time trial or other efforts with the head down. The taller lens accommodates a rider looking up at the road ahead. Cancellara’s gold Radar frames were created by Oakley in honor of his Olympic success, and there are no plans to take a custom frame color like this to production, Blick said.

For Tuesday’s stage, Blick was delivering new Jawbone models to Columbia-Highroad riders George Hincapie and Mark Cavendish. Cavendish’s glasses were fitted with the special black Iridium on clear lenses, and it would seem the option has been popular, given the dark, rainy weather.

Look for Oakley to do a full launch and a rundown of some cool features on the Jawbone model this Friday.

A missing Astana bike reappears

As reported Monday, four bikes were stolen from the Astana team truck parked outside a downtown Sacramento Marriott hotel. Among them were three team road bikes and the custom Trek Livestrong 1274 time trial bike of Lance Armstrong.

In an odd turn of events, Janez Brajkovic’s road bike has reappeared at the hotel. Police phoned the team this morning to alert them to the discovery.

Representatives of the team are not certain if the bike was taken in the same Sunday night incident, or in a separate theft, but hypothesized that media attention might have frightened perpetrators into returning the bike. “It’s one less bike we’re having to build tonight,” said team liason Ben Coates.

SRAM 1090 R2C time trial shifters

AToC Tech Notes: The new shifter is not as light as the 900 series, but is more aerodynamic.

AToC Tech Notes: The new shifter is not as light as the 900 series, but is more aerodynamic.

Photo: Zack Vestal

Monday’s heist of the Lance Armstrong’s Trek TTX deprived us of the chance to check out some trick new time trial shifters from SRAM. The second generation prototype R2C (return to center) shifters on the bike were specifically requested by Armstrong for this race. They are spring loaded and return to an adjustable center position after the gear shift, for maximum aerodynamics.

Fortunately, SRAM brought five sets to California two weeks ago. According to SRAM’s Alex Wassmann, one set was on the missing TTX, another set is on Armstrong’s spare bike, and a third is on Alberto Contador’s TT bike. (Contador is not at the Tour of California). A fourth pair was destined for Levi Leipheimer, but in current form, they turned out to be incompatible with his position.

Because Leiphiemer is not using them, this spare set will be available in the (likely) event that Trek creates a replacement for Armstrong’s missing bike. The fifth and final set of R2C shifters is being held by SRAM, and we got a couple photos of the svelte left shifter.

As to Armstrong’s missing Trek time trial bike? He’s already got a spare TTX ready for Friday (in stock team white paint), and there’s high probability that Trek will have a special creation ready in time for the stage.

Pat McQuaid to attend press conference

Evidently in response to rumors regarding enforcement of a new UCI rule, UCI president Pat McQuaid is scheduled to attend the post-race ToC press conference Wednesday. Hopefully he will clarify both the new rule, and plans to enforce it.

The rule essentially redefines acceptable dimensions for frames and components that have a streamlined or aerodynamic shape. Enforcement of the January 1 rule change, which was assumed would not take effect until 2010, could potentially throw the race into chaos as teams scramble to find acceptable replacement parts. A significant number of components and even frames are unlikely to pass the new standard.

We’ll know more tomorrow …

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