After delaying the start of his road season due to lingering problems with his back injury from crashing in the Olympic mountain bike race, van der Poel came back with a fury. He was in the key selection at his first race back, Milan-San Remo, and then won Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders.
His Canyon Aeroad CFR has a few notable changes from its normal configuration for the Hell of the North, including double bar tape, 30mm tubeless tires, and extra-secure bottle cages.
Canyon issued a stop-ride notice to all pros and consumers for the latest Aeroad CFR after van der Poel broke the integrated handlebar on his in 2021. While van der Poel and many consumers have a post-recall version, some of his teammates are still riding the previously generation with external routing.
While some teams opt for endurance bikes, van der Poel is going the aero route for the flat Paris-Roubaix parcours, instead of using Canyon’s Endurace.
This is van der Poel’s primary bike, designated with the “A” next to his name.
The region has not seen rain in a week, and temperatures have been warm, further drying the asphalt and pavé. So, the dust flies from riders’ wheels no matter if they ride the gutter or the crown of the cobbled sectors.
Van der Poel weighs about 75kg, and his tires deform as he blasts over the cobbles. How much tires absorb vibration can be adjusted through tire inflation. At Roubaix, riders seek to balance ideal tire pressure for the hours of pavement with the ideal tire pressure for the hour or so of cobbles.
Alpecin-Fenix races on both tubeless and tubular Shimano carbon wheels.
A team mechanic told VeloNews photographer James Startt that these Vittoria Corsa Control tubeless tires may be inflated to 4 bar (58psi) for van der Poel’s rear tire, and 3.8 (55psi) bar for his front tire, and perhaps lowered to as little as 3.5 bar (50psi) for race day.
Alpecin-Fenix switched to an older style Elite Ciusi Gel bottle cages for Roubaix. They are not light at 81g, but they have a strong grip.
Some riders may consider going without gloves or tape on their bars, but van der Poel has doubled down on the tape.
The Canyon Aeroad CFR is built specifically for Canyon’s quill-style integrated cockpit, which is why riders had to stop using the frame with the cockpit broke instead of just swapping in a new bar/stem combination.
Come race day, that stem will have a list of sectors with their respective length, and where they are featured in the route. Van der Poel might even have indicators of where his feeds will be available.
On this bike, van der Poel is one of the very few WorldTour riders ot have the Shimano Dura-Ace 9250 crank with a power meter. Most Shimano-sponsored riders have full 9250 12-speed groups but are using the 9150 11-speed power-meter crank.
With Shimano Di2, riders can see which gear they’re in on their computer.
The Canyon Aeroad has an aero seat post. There’s not too much unsual about this, other than the doubled-up gasket to prevent dirt ingress into frame.
The Selle Italia saddle has ample padding, and a pressure-relief design, for 55km of pavé over roughly a half-dozen hours of racing.
Another contact point where van der Poel has ample padding is his handlebars, which have been doubled up with two layers of tape.