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Pro Bikes, August 1, 2007

Bradley Wiggins' Cofidis Time VXRS Ulteam World Team

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James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

A smooth ride (but a bumpy journey) for the World Pursuit Champion

By James Huang

Fulcrum uses twice as many driveside spokes
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Time was one of the first framemakers
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Campagnolo prefers to use a single-pivot rear brake
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The VXRS Ulteam foregoes monocoque
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A cleanly executed wishbone-style seat stay assembly
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Time also supplies the carbon stem
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While most riders in the Tour de France were heading for this year's prologue in London, Cofidis rider Bradley Wiggins was simply returning home. Wiggins had high expectations for this year's prologue as the course passed directly through well-familiar stomping grounds, and the short 7.9km length and flat parcours seemed ideally suited to the current World and Olympic World Champion.

Wiggins blazed past Buckingham Palace just three spots shy of his ultimate goal, but still among the top finishers in fourth position. Two weeks later in the significantly longer and hillier Stage 13 time trial in Albi, he posted an early best time in the decidedly dicey conditions and looked to hold on for the win, but steadily improving conditions thwarted his morning efforts. While he confirmed his solid form, Wiggins ended up with another top-five placing instead of the win.

As with the sprinters, time trial specialists such as Wiggins still have to drag themselves up and over the mountains after the Tour's flat first week and French team sponsor Time complements his RXR TT rig with the decidedly more versatile VXRS Ulteam World Star. Time was one of the first companies to adopt the integrated seat post design and it continues to champion the concept with this latest iteration, which the company claims weighs just 1605g for the complete 'module', including the frame, fork, seatpost 'stub', headset, stem, and bottle cage.

Although on the cutting edge in terms of the integrated configuration, Time continues to utilize the more conventional-looking full-carbon tube-and-lug construction which it feels offers better control over ride quality than monocoque or so-called 'semi-monocoque' methods. Indeed, Time promises a comfortable ride with its 'Fluid Ride' technology, yet the tapered seat and down tubes and asymmetrical chain stays supposedly help to ensure efficient power transfer.

Wiggins' French frameset is almost completely rounded out with contributions from nearby Italy. Campagnolo provides its Record transmission and drivetrain, while sister company Fulcrum outfits the team with its line of carbon wheelsets. Like many riders in the ProTour, Wiggins prefers a traditionally-shaped saddle, this time in the form of a Selle Italia Flite TT Team Edition with its now-characteristic red-and-white cover.

Wiggins certainly managed to make it through the Alps and the Pyrenees within the time limits, but sadly enough was not able to make an attempt to improve on those previous time trial placings in the decisive Stage 19 time trial: a non-negative test for testosterone by teammate Cristian Moreni resulted in the departure of the entire team at the request of the team's title sponsor.

As expected, the Cofidis rider was notably angered by the situation as his untimely departure from the TdF came about through no fault of his own. Wiggins won't make a return to next year's Tour preferring to concentrate on his preparation for the Beijing Olympics, but he remains optimistic about the overall state of cycling. While the recent doping scandals are certainly a stain on an otherwise-fantastic TdF this year, they are likely indicative of the system's increasing effectiveness and Wiggins is confident that the sport will recover and persevere.


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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Time VXRS Ulteam World Star with 'Racing Fibre Matrix' carbon tubes and carbon lugs
Fork: Time Ulteam Safe+, multi-diameter Kevlar-reinforced steerer tube with carbon dropouts

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.89m (6'2"); Weight: 76kg (168lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 530mm
Top tube length: 570mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 828mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 612mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 578mm

Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque
Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque, 175mm, 39/53T
Chain: Campagnolo Record Ultra Narrow
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record QS
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record
Brakes: Campagnolo Record D-Skeleton
Brake levers: Campagnolo Record QS Ergopower
Shift levers: Campagnolo Record QS Ergopower
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record UD steel/titanium, 11-23T


Wheelset: Fulcrum RacingSpeed
Tyres: Vittoria Corsa Evo CX tubular, 21c

Bars: FSA Energy anatomic, 42cm (c-c)
Stem: Time Monolink Ulteam Ti carbon, 130mm x -10°
Headset: Time Quickset
Tape/grip: Time cork

Pedals: Time RXS Ulteam Ti Carbon
Seat post: Integrated
Selle Italia Flite TT Team Edition
Bottle cages: Elite Custom Macia
Computer: Sigma 1106

Total bike weight: 7.23kg (15.9lb)