On his stem this message was taped: “Be the one who wants it the most.”
Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal) certainly wanted it on Wednesday at Dwars door Vlaanderen, and he optimized his bike and body to go for a solo win. He made it into the day’s winning move, and attacked and attacked his breakaway companions in the final kilometers, including on a fast downhill stretch.
It was not to be, however, and Campenaerts settled for fourth after his final attack was caught and countered by winner Mathieu van der Poel and second-place Tiesj Benoot. Tom Pidcock was third.
Here’s a look at Campenaerts’ Ridley Noah Fast Disc, which was customized for the day with a massive 58-tooth chainring, a waxed chain, and 28mm Continental Grand Prix 5000S TR tubeless tires, which were blacked out as the team is sponsored by Vittoria.
VeloNews lab-tested 15 classics tires at Wheel Energy in Finland, including the Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL (the predecessor to the 5000s TR) and the Vittoria Corsa Control Graphene 2.0, which is what Lotto races on. Can you guess which tire tested faster? And the new Continental tubeless tire is even faster, Continental claims.
For Dwars door Vlanderen, where he attacked and attacked, Victor Campenaerts used a 58t chain ring on his Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 power-meter crank. The Vision logo is tapped over out of deference to the team sponsor.
Campenaerts did everything he could to get clear after making the day’s key selection. Each of his attacks were brought back, though.
With the supertuck now banned, riders can no longer sit on their top tubes for maximum speed on steep downhills. Campenaerts’ solution? Get as low as you can, and pedal a huge gear.
Campenaerts uses bars that are 36cm wide at the tops, and he rotates his levers inward to keep his hands and arms narrow.
Wax isn’t as long lasting as oil, but it’s faster — meaning that there is less frictional losses for wax so more of a rider’s power goes into speed. It’s a small but measurable difference.
Campenaerts — the world hour record holder as well as a former European and Belgian time trial champion — knows how to get slippery in the wind.
Campenaerts used 28mm Continental Grand Prix 5000s TR tubeless tires instead of the team’s Vittoria Corsa Controls.
Campenaerts’ back tire was blacked out a bit more effectively.
Campenaerts attacked and attacked his breakaway companions, including on a downhill. Mathieu van der Poel, however, proved to be a problem.
‘Be the one that wants it the most.’
Campenaerts may well have been that one today, but alas, that is not how races are decided.