The Tour de France hit the hallowed cobblestones of the Roubaix region Wednesday.
Team staffers were equally prepared for a day of crazy. Spare wheels were shipped from service courses and every spare staffer lined the road to support riders with extra equipment. Cobble-suitable tires were fitted, second sets of bar tape wrapped, extra blip shifters fitted, and so much more.
VeloNews was on the ground at the startline in Lille on Wednesday morning.
Here’s a look at what some of the Tour’s leading lights chose for Wednesday’s crucial stage and its 20km of cobblestone torment.
The Slovak pinned his hopes to his Specaialized Roubaix, otherwise used only at Paris-Roubaix, to deliver him a throwback victory on the pavé à la Paris-Roubaix in 2018.
Many teams have fitted something to prevent lost chains on the pavé. Sagan is using one of the leading range extra light K-Edge catchers.
Roval wheels are paired with the Specialized’s tubeless rubber, in an especially bulbous size for the cobbles.
Sagan is happy to forego a gram and use a leash to prevent him losing his head unit. The Future Shock stem provides adjustable suspension — turn it on for the cobbles sectors, and off for hammering the tarmac.
Specialized’s Roubaix range is, as the name suggests, designed for the harsher terrain of northern France and all-day comfort. That extra wide top portion of the seat tube is actually extra space that allows the seatpost to flex.
UAE Emirates came stocked to celebrate every leader’s jersey. It’s white bar tape and white Look Keo pedals for maillot jaune Tadej Pogačar — but we’re sure there’s yellow versions lying in wait.
Pogačar and UAE Emirates have the new Colnago ‘Prototipo’ bike at their disposal as well as the current flagship VR3 at the Tour de France. Pogačar is on the former today.
Remember Sagan and his chain catcher?
Pogačar is rocking a Campagnolo chain snagging system Wednesday — although UAE Emirates staff confirmed the defending champ always uses one as an insurance policy.
Pogačar keeps his cobblestone bike sweet and simple — only single-wrap tape for the Slovenian.
Several of his UAE Emirates teammates opted for double wrap to lessen the harsh shocks caused by the cobbles.
Expect to find remote blip shifters under the bar tops for easy gear changes when riding the stones.
Pogačar and his teammates chose the Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tire for its durability, rather than the faster SL.
Like many in the peloton, Pogačar will ride 30mm rubber Wednesday.
51×39 rings for churning over a pan-flat course.
Here’s a rear-view shot of favorite for the stage Mathieu van der Poel‘s custom painted Canyon Aeroad CFR.
The dynamite Dutchman will be hoping the rest of the peloton gets a similar view later in the stage Wednesday.
Many riders will have the location of the stage’s 11 cobblestone sectors mapped on their stem sticker.
Van der Poel doesn’t bother with that, cuz, well, he’s Van der Poel.
Check the detail with the water bottle, energy bar, and energy gel strategy. And intriguingly, the smiley faces … a caffeine gel? Or a slice of pizza in the musette?!?
Custom printed saddle for “MvdP.” Why not?
Here’s some more “MvdP.”
Van der Poel has partnered Canyon for many years. The German manufacturing mammoth supports Van der Poel’s ‘cross, MTB and road racing.