By Lennard Zinn
I came down to Trieste the afternoon prior to the Giro d’Italia stage13 time trial in Trieste last Saturday to watch a skeleton crew of mechanicssetting up bikes and equipment while their teams and other support staffwere out on the road racing to Treviso toward Alessandro Petacchi’s sixth sprint victory.
For me, it was a good time to talk to mechanics, as they were workingalone or in pairs, and were free from fulfilling the panicked requests ofriders, coaches and other mechanics.
One mechanic working alone on his team’s time trial bikes was SaunierDuval’s David Fernandes. The truck that Fernandes was working out of inTrieste has a beautiful yellow paint job to show off the new Saunier Duvalteam and its sponsors. The paint job makes it look new, but like the otherteam trucks surrounding it parked in front of the Teatro Romano along thewharf in Trieste, it is far from new. There is continual recycling of teambuses and trucks, and this one is no exception.
This truck is the smaller of the team’s rigs – the one that it uses for mostof its travel outside of Spain, save for the Tour de France, where it alsouses its bigger Spain-based truck. The bigger one back in Spain was procuredfrom Mapei after the end of that team’s long run in the pro peloton.
This truck came from the Bianchi team, with which Jan Ullrich reemergedin the 2003 Tour. However, Bianchi was just the latest owner that criss-crossedEurope with it, adding some of the more than 600,000 kilometers it has logged.The PDM team was the first to use this truck, who then passed it on toLotus, then Lotus/Festina, then Festina, then COAST, Jan Ullrich’s Bianchiand now Saunier Duval. The Spanish team figured it was time to drop in a new engine over the winter.
Fernandes spent an entire week bringing the body down to bare metalbefore painting it. Given that mechanics generally work year-round, yetare only at races from around February to the end of October, they do morein the winter than just assemble the new team bikes. They also spend a lot of time preparing the team vehicles as well. Scraping the giant decals and the associated sticky adhesive off so that the big swaths of it won’t gum up the power sander every few seconds is a big project in and of itself, to say nothing of the sanding down to bare metal to get this truck to once again properly show off the logos of a new sponsor.
Magnesium time trial bikes
Saunier Duval races on Scott USA carbon bikes in the road stages. However, the team’s time trial bikes are made of magnesium. Fernandes is particularly proud of the TT rigs.
Don’t block that gap!
The Sigma Sport front wheel sensor on the Saeco Cannondale Slice time trial bikes is designed to fit on the fork, like most sensors.
However, the Oval time trial forks of the team depend on a small, 9mm wide gap between separate aero’ shaped struts forming each fork blade.
These pass the requirements of the UCI, yet are designed to improve the aerodynamics not only of the fork but also of the front wheel by accelerating air through the gap, forming a sheet of air directed past the wheel.
Unfortunately, the Sigma Sport sensor and its wire have to go somewhere, and they partially block that gap.
This one won’t block any gap
Mavic’s new cycling computer has a wireless front wheel sensor builtright into the front quick-release lever. Besides making it very fast andsimple to set up, it would eliminate the above problem of affecting thefront fork’s aerodynamics by attaching a sensor to it.
Not quite Body Geometry
Some saddle companies are more successful than others at convincingall members of their sponsored teams to use their saddles, but almost allriders develop saddle preferences possibly even bordering on superstitionthroughout their careers and are loath to switch.
That appears to be the case with several of the Domina Vacanze riders. The saddles do have Specialized Body Geometry covers on them, but you can see that Nadusz’s saddle is a Selle San Marco Regal, and that Mario Scirea’s is a Selle San Marco Rolls.
You can also see that not all of the riders are using Specialized’s shock-damping Pavé post, although they are all using carbon posts.
A V-brake on a time trial bike?
Check out Olaf Pollack’s time trial bike. While it certainly is painted like a Wilier Triestina, it sure looks like one of the FES carbon bikes that the East German team regularly terrorized western teams with on the track and team time trial. Nice how the head tube comes to a point and wraps around the lower headset cup, eh?
Pollack’s handlebar is probably not a carbon prototype from the team’shandlebar sponsor, Ritchey, either, but more likely the fruits of furtherFES labor. But particularly interesting on his bike is the little cantileverstuds on the trailing edges of his aero’ fork blades with little V-brakearms mounted behind the fork. It makes the fork very clean in front andjust adds a single cable coming in the side.
Cees Beers, maker of ADA wheels, and his family made the trek fromHolland down to Trieste to meet with prologue winner Bradley McGee. Beers and McGee spent the time discussing wheels for the Athens Olympics. One is this ADA prototype disc wheel that is incredibly rigid laterally; it is literally as stiff as a board when you lean on it on the axle ends. Beers has a lot of other tricks up his sleeve for Athens, but he wouldn’t let us talk about them quite yet.