Tour de France tech snippets, July 20, 2006
Zipp propels Tour favourites
Wheelmaker Zipp has been having a rather good Tour de France, with CSC's
breakaway specialist Jen Voigt winning stage 13 on Zipp wheels, Phonak's
Floyd Landis in yellow for a couple of days, TT specialist Dave Zabriskie
(CSC) third in the prologue and Frank Schleck (CSC) climbing to a Zipp-supported
win on Alpe d'Huez.
For the time trials, Zabriskie and Landis have been using Zipp's go-faster
999 wheels, which pairs a dimpled Zipp rear disc with an 82mm deep dimpled
front rim for what Zipp claims is the fastest wheel pairing around without
using twin discs (or Zipp's ceramic-bearing-equipped Z99 wheels).
The 999 set is fast, but when it comes to the mountains, you need fast
and light. CSC's riders have been using 303 and 404 wheels for the road
stages, and Zipp's lightweight 202s have also made an appearance, but
for his stage-winning ascent of Alpe d'Huez in stage 15, Luxemburg's Frank
Schleck was shod with 303s.
Spruik for Floyd
Phonak's Floyd Landis has proven himself a serious contender in this
Tour, and assuming his hip surgery is successful it's a safe bet that
he will come back in 2007 even better prepared. But in the meantime, he's
not writing himself off as a podium chance, and says he's looking forward
to Saturday's time trial as his last chance for 2006 Tour glory.
Retailer Competitive Cyclist has these t-shirts for Landis fans,
playing on team sponsor Phonak's business - making hearing aids - and
having fun with the spelling.
The 'Dots' shirt is Comp Cyclist's take on a modern art design, with
Phonak's ears in a grid on the front and 'Floyd 06' on the back. The 'Funky
Floyd' shirt is the one everyone on the Cyclingnews team wanted, a black
shirt with a simple 'Floyd' on the front, but if yellow's more your colour,
there's also the 'Go Phloyd' design.
All three shirts are printed on durable Gildan tees, which Comp Cyclist
says will last for years, as long as you don't wear them for "25 straight
days in July".
More info: www.competitivecyclist.com
By Anthony Tan
Attaching the hub is the
With 194 victories to his credit, Erik Zabel is the winningest German
pro of all time. In fact, his total victories are more than any other
active rider today, and the recently-turned 36 year-old, originally from
East Berlin, is still the only rider to win the green jersey at the Tour
de France six times, safeguarding his name in cycling's hall of fame.
After 13 successful years with Team Telekom (which later became known
as T-Mobile), Zabel chose to ride for Team Milram in 2006, teaming up
with Italian super-sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. In most cases, he uses
the same equipment as his team-mates, but for wheels, CarbonSports is
his personal sponsor.
The makers of those enviable-looking Lightweight wheels, 'Ete' has access
to their full range of hoops, including this rear disc pictured. At 830
grams, CarbonSports claims their Lightweight Disc weighs less than HED's
Standard and Superlight discs, Citec's Carbotec, Zipp's 900, Campagnolo's
Ghibli, and Corima's disc wheel.
They're not the only ones who think it's a wheel worth having - even
hilly time trials. In creating the ideal bike for mountain time trials
at the Tour de France, Germany's Tour magazine, Europe's number
one cycling publication, believed Lightweight's disc together with a Lightweight
spoked wheel to be the best combination.
Speaking of time trial gear, Discovery Channel's George Hincapie used
these Bontrager prototype TT bars in the prologue and Saturday's 52km
TT. It's all one structure in carbon fibre with a wind-tunnel refined
aero shape and trick-quick internal cable routing.
Newest version of Trek Equinox TTX for Le Tour
By Tim Maloney European Editor
Trek Equinox TTX
Trek Equinox TTX rear triangle
Trek Equinox TTX aero seatpost
Bontrager's new aerobar
Trek's newest time machine is the TTX Equinox, which Cyclingnews reported
on back in May when the Discovery Channel team debuted their new time
trial rig at the Giro d'Italia. Trek has made some major changes in the
shape of their top shelf time trial bike for 2006, with a new integrated
1 1/8in headset (increased from a 1incher) and the steerer tube is now
in aluminum. Plus the TTX Equinox has a special aerodynamic seatpost configuration
designed to cut drag.
The new Bontrager fork also has some enhanced aero benefits, explained
Trek's Scott Daubert, as he told Cyclingnews that "the trailing
edge of the fork crown and the frame down tube are integrated to present
what our engineers call a virtual "continuous surface" to the wind, which
reduces aerodynamic drag at zero yaw and improves the sail effect in crosswinds.
We learned this detail in the wind tunnel testing in 2004 while researching
the first TTX created for Lance Armstrong, but we just didn't have time
to implement this new frame design for the bike he used in the 2005 Tour."
Daubert gave Cyclingnews the numbers rundown on the new Trek Equinox
TTX, saying that "this frame has improved aerodynamics and reduced weight,
with a 50% increase in lateral stiffness at the headtube for improved
handling, a 52% increase in lateral bottom bracket stiffness, a 29% increase
in lateral stiffness at rear wheel and a longer top tube for better handling
in aero position."
In talking with Daubert at Le Tour, we discovered that Discovery Channel
has two versions of the TTX Equinox. "Before the Giro d'Italia, we delivered
this production prototype version of the TTX Equinox. This frame was made
of OCLV 120 carbon fibre, but we had already decided to build a lighter
version of the TTX Equinox out of OCLV 120 carbon fibre. This will be
our production bike for 2007 and we'll add another (XL) size for 2007."
Trek delivered 4 frames in the new version of the TTX Equinox a few weeks
before the Tour and Discovery Channel's Yaroslav Popovych has been riding
the new version, about 200 grams lighter for a L size frame since the
start of the Tour De France.
More info: Trek
Descente renews with CSC
Clothing maker Descente has renewed for two years its agreement to be
the official cycling, baselayer and casual apparel sponsor to the CSC
CSC is famously - almost notoriously - demanding of its equipment suppliers
so Descente is understandably rather pleased to have Bjarne Riis saying
things like, "Descente has performed beyond our expectations for 2006
so we were very happy to renew our agreement for an additional two years.
Of course we're also happy that Descente is showing its faith in the team
given the current controversy . Above all, we're excited to be moving
forward with them for an extended time." S
The association with CSC has been a major plank in Descente's comeback
platform, and Hugh Walton, president of Descente Athletic said that continuing
the relations ship was an important element in the company's strategy
to become the leading cycling clothing maker. "In spite of the problems
the team has experienced prior to the start of the Tour de France, we're
100% behind the team," said Walton. "We have a great working relationship
and the riders love the apparel."
Gerolsteiner trials new First Endurance bar
First Endurance energy bar
The Gerolsteiner team is testing a new energy bar during the Tour from
nutrition supplier First Endurance. The new bar, which will be launched
at the Interbike show in September, contains an "ideal blend of glutamine,
branched chain amino acids, complex carbohydrates, high-glycemic sugars
antioxidants and electrolytes," tailored to athlete's need during exercise.
The Gerolsteiner and Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada teams tried prototype
bars at the Tour of California and gave the First Endurance R&D team valuable
feedback. First Endurance says the revised bar is getting raves from the
riders who arte now using it.
According to Robert Kunz, senior VP of research and development at First
Endurance, the new bar, "provides all the ingredients endurance athletes
need to maximize endurance. It provides a lot more than just the protein,
carbohydrates and fat that you find in other bars. It's the first bar
on the market to deliver all five of the key electrolytes (sodium, potassium,
chloride, magnesium and calcium) in the advanced levels that endurance
athletes require in order to prevent cramping and dehydration."
More info: First
Pro Cycling Manager - Season 2006
Finally, if you fancy yourself as the next Bjarne Riis or Johan Bruyneel,
Cyanide Studios has recently released the latest edition of its bike racing
computer game. In Pro Cycling Manager - Season 2006 you take on the day-to-day
role of the manager of a pro team, looking after contracts, transfers,
sponsors, training. Then, during the 3D real-time race sequences you manage
team tactics and control the actions of each individual rider, looking
after energy levels, feeding, placing attacks at the right moment, protecting
a team leader, sprinting for the line and so on, while all the time keeping
an eye on what the competition is up to.
Check out the playable demo at www.gamesplanet.com.