Flanders tech: Tear sheets, tire counts, and a women’s saddle

Before the 267km Tour of Flanders, we visited each of the 25 teams to find out their gear selection, their tire choices and pressures, and their novel solutions.

Big numbers are the thing this spring.

At the Tour of Flanders, 15 of the 25 teams raced 28mm tubulars, a width that, until recently, had been reserved for only Paris-Roubaix. Big rings were common, with many riders choosing a 54T, including world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). And big cassettes are also in vogue, with 11-30T Shimano and Campagnolo models in wide use — plus the 10-33T models on SRAM eTap AXS bikes.

After winning Gent-Wevelgem on 28mm tubeless tires, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) took the Flanders start aboard the same set-up, running 0.5bar/7psi lower pressure than he does with tubulars.

For saddles, Specialized was the story, with Power models under non-sponsored riders and the new Mimic women’s saddle under Bora’s Marcus Burghardt.

Scroll through the gallery below for a close look at the special bikes of Peter Sagan, 2018 winner Niki Terpstra, and Mathieu van der Poel, plus other cobbles tech from the start of De Ronde van Vlaanderen in Antwerp, Belgium.