By Lennard Zinn
Here’s a glimpse of the tools that U.S. Postal, Team Telekom, Cofidis and ONCE riders had at their disposal for the time trial to St. Amand Montrond on July 25.
Armstrong’s bike, like the other U.S. Postal time trial bikes, has a frame done in the OCLV process, rather than as a monocoque. In other words, each separate part is individually molded, and the whole thing is bonded together. Note Armstrong’s front Hed3 wheel, rear Mavic disc and Vision aero bar with little Dia-Compe-style plug-in brake levers.
All of the Trek time trial bikes on U.S. Postal have the same length top tube – 54cm. The difference is in the seat mast, which is cut down to different lengths to make the S, M, or L size. Inside the seat mast is bonded an aluminum nut insert to screw the saddle clamp into. This is Heras’s 52-cm frame; to get his bars low enough, his Vision bar clamp was cut down so that there is only one bolt, not two, holding it to the steerer. Additionally, his head tube has been cut shorter, leaving a large hole into the top tube for the cables, rather than the three discreet holes bored into a bump behind the head tube like the rest of the team’s bikes. His head tube bore has been machined back further toward the seat tube, offsetting the headset back and making an effectively shorter top tube.
Jan Ullrich’s time trial bike differs from all of the other carbon Pinarello time trial bikes in the race. His brake is on the seatstays, where he can get at it and adjust it on the starting ramp (he readjusted his front brake in the start house as well). All of the other carbon Pinarello time trial bikes used Telekom (as wello as iBanesto.com and Fassa Bortolo) have the rear brake under the chainstays behind the bottom bracket.
Ullrich’s front time trial wheel has 16 bladed spokes laced radially to a rim that looks a lot like an all-carbon Ambrosio XCarbo. The logo-less hub has tall flanges to prevent hole deformation and cracking under high spoke tension. The tall flanges provide room for the slotting of the holes necessary to feed the bladed spokes through (see the slots extending inward from each spoke head) as well as enough aluminum exterior to the spoke hole to prevent tearing out spokes.