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By Lennard Zinn
Here’s a question. There was some hype about Lance’s speciallydeveloped skinsuit (Project 1 as seen on OLN) with wind tunnel testingand so forth. Special light jerseys for climbing and so on.How does that factor in when he’s in the yellow jersey? Does Nikehave to submit samples to the tour organization for approval to wear asthe yellow jersey?
Yes, Nike made the white, yellow, polka-dot and green jerseys withthe same fabrics as the Postal clothing, so the TT suit is the Swift andthe jersey for mountain days is the HC, which I described in detail in the tech coverage of the 2003 Tour. So for non-Postal riders in those jerseys, it probably constitutes a clothing upgrade.
When the riders put the yellow jersey on while on the podium, it zipsup the back. When they race, it zips up the front. Are reversingit for the podium awards or are there two different jerseys? Andhow do they have a yellow jersey for each team? Are the title sponsor’sput on by Velcro or something similar?
The podium jersey is not to be ridden, there is a different jerseyfor the actual race. The sponsors are definitely not Velcro-applied, norare they silk-screened on. They are sublimated in, like all other teamjerseys, but I am not sure how there is always one for each team, unlessthey just make them up for all of the teams before the Tour. Because sublimation is done before the jersey is sewn together, they can’t just slap it on in a truck after they see the stage results.
I don’t get it. Why add weight to a rotating part of the bicycle?The Cervélo that Basso rode was so light they had to put on the 404s tomeet the weight limit, thereby not using the lighter 202s. If I weregoing uphill I’d want the lowest rotational mass possible, so I would havestuck with the 202s and added weight elsewhere to meet the UCI regulation.What gives?
The team must have felt that the Z4s (the ultra-trick, ceramic-bearingversion of the 404) would give him an advantage by being more aerodynamic.It is still a light wheel.
Gerard Vroomen of Cervélo told me, “That the rotational weightdoesn’t matter. His velocity up the mountain is pretty constant, so theweight in the wheels is just as important as the weight in the rest ofthe bike. Now if it was a crit, it would be a different story.”
Having seen studies of how actually un-smooth even the smoothest pedalersgo up a mountain, I am not sure I agree, however. An OTC study with Sampsononce showed that a superlight pedal could make a significant differencein a flat 40K over a heavier one (where you would think that there wouldbe no difference once the bike was up to speed). That is because the angularfoot speed is slower at the top and bottom of the stroke, so the bike isconstantly being accelerated and decelerated, putting a premium on weight,particularly the rotating kind. I think it cost Basso over the Z2s, butprobably not much.
Looking at liberty Seguros’ bikes, it seems to me that they are ridingrebranded Giant frames. What do you think?
Liberty Seguros’ director sportif Manolo Saiz clearly was enamoredwith the performance and low weight of the Giant TCR Advanced, which wasunder development with him and his ONCE team. The Liberty Seguros BH roadframes are patterned after the Giants, including the integrated seat mast.A small difference is that the saddle rail clamp is bonded inside of theend of the seat mast, rather than clamped onto it, but the clamp shapeand shims for varying the seat height look the same.
BH was under the gun to get these frames done and was only able to createa single mold in time, so the team has only one road frame size for allof its riders in the Tour. The finish is a bit rough on them as well, butthe beautiful paint job disguises it well.
The golden time trial bikes appear to be last year’s Giants with BHlogos on them. They sport little U-brakes behind the forks and many gold-anodized Campagnolo parts (and black-anodized chainrings with ONCE logos engraved in them on Campagnolo cranks with FSA stickers on them).
What’s that I see under Jens Voigt’s saddle, a seat bag? Whatin the world would he be carrying in that thing? Since this is apretty difficult mountain stage (Stage 13) and he is not known as a climber,you would think that he would do anything possible to carry the lightestload over those cols. What’s next, a tubular crossed over his shouldersand a drag on a smoke prior to making the next ascent?
That is not a spare tire in that bag; it’s an SRM mobile transmittingunit. You can watch Voigt’s power, speed, heart rate, cadence and speedlive during the Tour stages on www.livebiodata.de and I believe on theARD site as well. During the Tour, you can now see exactly how hard heand some of the riders are pedaling. This is due to special agreementsbetween SRM, ARD, and the CSC, Saeco and T-Mobile teams.
Even though many riders would like to use SRMs in more races, it isoften not possible due to it conflicting with their crank sponsor. Furthermore,the SRM cranks are not as light, and not as stiff as the latest oversizedhollow cranks, so riders are reluctant to take that step backward. Butnow SRM’s Ulrich Schoberer has built his system into a Cannondale HollowgramSI cranks for Saeco and into Dura-Ace 10-speed cranks for T-Mobile, CSCand US Postal (although Postal has none using it in the Tour). The crankperformance is the same and the weight gain is slight.
Schoberer says that the sending unit under the saddle adds 80 grams,and the additional weight in the crank is 60 grams. The handlebar computeris 60 grams, but that is offset by replacing a computer that the riderwould otherwise have. So bikes can still be built to the UCI weight limitwith this system installed.
The power, cadence, speed and heart rate of Gerrit Glomser and perhapsother Saeco riders in the Tour, are viewable on www.cannondale.comand on www.2peak.comlive. Matthias Kessler, who crashed out so dramatically intoa signpost on a descent in the first mountain stage that is constantlyreplayed on OLN, was one of two T-Mobile riders with the setup. The otheris Rolf Aldag.