VN tech ticker: Specialized cotton clinchers, custom Canyon Aeroad CFR in the pro ranks

What's making tech headlines on Monday, April 5.

Photo: Billy Lebelge

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Tour of Flanders won on clinchers

Kasper Asgreen won the 2021 Tour of Flanders riding on clinchers, with latex tubes. Tubulars have long been the tire type of choice among pros: They can be ridden when flat while waiting for a spare wheel, and compared with tubeless or clincher tires, with tubulars there is relatively less chance of slipping a tire while riding when flat.

But teams riding Specialized tires — notably Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quick-Step — are starting to reach for cotton clincher tires made to be ridden with tubes.

Asgreen won racing Specialized Turbo Cotton Hell of the North clinchers ($80). According to Specialized, Asgreen is the first rider in more than 100 years to win on a tire that was not a tubular.

“It’s the first monument won with clinchers. We’re really proud. It’s about using the best — Specialized has the best — and we just execute. It’s unbelievable, Kasper is such a bike rider and he did it. The team was once again tremendous,” said Deceuninck-Quick-Step technical and development manager Ricardo Scheidecker. “In Flanders, you don’t win by luck. We should all be proud and when I say ‘we’ I mean the team and Specialized. They are part of the victory big time.”

While Julian Alaphilippe used the Specialized S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2Bliss Ready tires with tubes at Strade Bianche, the demands of the cobbles for the Tour of Flanders posed different challenges, and so different tires were selected by the entire Deceuninck-Quick-Step squad.

“Why can’t the clincher tires we ride every day be better than the tubulars that have been raced for over 100 years?” asked Specialized founder and CEO Mike Sinyard. “It was a long road to get here, with our engineers working in partnership with our amazing teams, developing wheels and tires that work together to deliver this performance. We’ve delivered a lot of innovation over the years, and shared in many incredible victories, but this one is truly special.”

The tires selected were 28mm (claimed) external width, with a 320TPI casing. When matched with the Roval Rapide CLX wheels, riders may experience as much as a 15 percent improvement in aerodynamics and a 20 percent decrease in rolling resistance compared with the previous tire/wheel combination.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step notes that not a single rider suffered a flat at the 2021 Tour of Flanders using this traditionally tubed tire.

Movistar women at the team presentation for the 2021 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Note that some bikes have internal cabling at the headtube, while others do not. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images
Annemiek Van Vleuten (left) and Kasia Niewiadoma are both riding Canyon Aeroads with external cabling. Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

Custom Canyons

If you’ve an eye for detail, you’ve noticed that teams racing on the Canyon Aeroad CFR have not heeded the stop-riding warning following Mathieu van der Poel’s catastrophic handlebar mishap at Le Samyn.

Tour of Flanders women’s winner Annemiek van Vleuten, and Mathieu van der Poel — second place in the men’s race — were both on modified Canyon Aeroad CFR bikes, but these bikes were not the exact the same ones used earlier this season.

Instead of abandoning their bikes, teams have installed a different fork and cockpit, while mechanics made the required customizations to allow for semi-external cabling for brakes, and Shimano E-tube wiring.

Currently, there are four teams using the Canyon Aeroad CFR: Movistar Team, Arkéa-Samsic, Canyon-SRAM, and Alepcin-Fenix. Rider bike selection is individual, and while one rider may favor a particular model, another may opt for a different bike in the team’s arsenal.

As VeloNews previously reported, Canyon is working on a replacement solution for those who own an Aeroroad, but there is no change in the official stop-riding request.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.