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Race tech: Summer Olympic Games, August 18, 2008
Gunning for gold
Edited by James Huang
New Cervélo hits the road in Beijing
Cervélo says that over forty athletes are aboard its bikes at this year's Olympics but a handful of lucky road racers, including men's road race bronze medallist Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), used a brand-new model that will be introduced later this year, the S3. The S3 resembles the current SLC-SL and Soloist Carbon with its slippery deep-section tubing but new chain stays and seat stays are said to offer a more comfortable ride than current versions while being more aerodynamic as well.
The S3 will also boast the currently en vogue style of internal cable routing where the lines enter the frame behind the stem. However, instead of running full housing through the frame, Cervélo equips the S3 with internal housing stops that are said to both save weight and reduce friction for smoother shifts. Small removable 'ports' on the down tube will ease cable installation.
According to Cervélo, the S3 will supplement its current carbon models though it seems likely to us that it might ultimately replace the existing SLC-SL as it's apparently even speedier, more comfortable and only 80g heavier. The S3 will also be comparably priced to the SLC-SL at US$4,500 (including a 3T Funda Pro fork, FSA integrated headset and aero carbon post).
New Boardman machine for gold medallist Nicole Cooke
By Ben Atkins
Women's Olympic road race gold medallist Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) has received a bit of abuse in recent months what with her decidedly average (for a top-level sponsored athlete, that is) aluminium-and-carbon Boardman road machine. Just in time for the Beijing games though, Cooke received an all-new rig that was certainly more befitting her status as one of the world's top female cyclists.
Cooke and fellow Halfords-Bikehut rider Sharon Laws' new full-carbon frame is apparently both lighter and stiffer with its sub-1kg weight and larger box-section chain stays. Relatively slender curved seat stays allow some vertical compliance as well. As is increasingly common, the matching unidirectional carbon fork features a newly tapered steerer tube, widening from 1 1/2" at the stem to 1 1/2" at the crown to maximise stiffness at the front of the bike.
Built with a SRAM Red groupset, Cooke's complete bike supposedly weighed in at a claimed 6.2kg (13.66lb), a whopping 1.36kg (3.01lb) lighter than her previous machine and 600g below the UCI's minimum weigh limit (Laws rode the Beijing road race with Shimano Dura-Ace so hers was likely slightly heavier). Presumably the Great Britain team must have done something to bring the bike up to weight to make it legal for the race.
"We wanted to give Nicole and Sharon something extra special for the road race in Beijing," said Chris Boardman of the latest addition to his eponymous range. "British road race champions Nicole and Rob Hayles have been using the '08 bikes all year with great success and have provided some great development feedback. We've used this information to build on the success of last year's range with some exciting results. Nicole's new bike is a preview of what is to come from the 2009 range of bikes."
Cannondale equips its Olympians with 19lb Scalpel
Cannondale has outfitted Cannondale-Vredestein team riders Roel Paulissen (Belgium), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) and Kashi Leuchs (New Zealand) with a special superlight Olympic Edition Scalpel claimed to weigh just 8.8kg (19.4lb).
The 'Zero Pivot'-equipped Scalpel chassis is already light as is but Cannondale has augmented the special machines with higher modulus carbon fibers (which allow for a lighter frame with comparable rigidity) and a raw finish with minimal decaling (because paint is surprisingly heavy). Likewise, the 'ride tuned and race optimized' Headshok Lefty has been pared down as well although we're not exactly sure how other than with the unorthodox rubber sleeve which replaces the stock accordion boot.
We can't confirm the spec on Fuglsang and Leuchs' bikes but Paulissen's machine is definitely tricked out in terms of componentry (Christoph Sauser would be proud). Mavic and Vredestein have provided prototype carbon-spoked Crossmax tubulars and matching Black Panther rubber, rear suspension duties are handled by DT Swiss' ultralight carbon-bodied shock, and Cannondale fits the bottom bracket with ceramic bearings and a 2x9 spider.
That chainring spider is fitted with a carbon-and-titanium Carbon-Ti outer ring though (and controlled with a SRAM Force road front derailleur), and the German exotica continues with the ultralight carbon post (which appears to be an AX-Lightness) and aluminium-and-carbon FRM stem. The rest of the running gear is fairly standard, including the SRAM X.0 rear derailleur and twist shifters, Avid Juicy Ultimate hydraulic disc brakes (with stainless steel rotors front and rear), KMC X9SL chain, Cannondale aluminium bar ends, a fi'zi:k Arione CX saddle, an FSA K-Force carbon flat bar, and Crankbrothers Egg Beater 4Ti pedals. Yowza.
RockShox supplies athletes with custom SID World Cup
The Olympic mountain bike cross-country event is still a ways off but viewers should keep a close eye out for RockShox-sponsored riders tearing around the revised course on a specially finished SID World Cup.
According to SRAM MTB PR manager Eric Schutt, the Beijing-edition SID features no actual performance upgrades but the Chinese dragon festooned on the driveside leg should at least make so-equipped riders feel a little faster. Other details include 'SID Beijing' badging on the arch and a bit of traditional graphic work on the side which will presumably straddle each rider's respective national flag.
At least for now, the only way to get one of RockShox’ Beijing-edition SIDs is to have qualified for the Olympics. Good luck with that one.