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Pro bikes, July 15, 2008

Andy Schleck's CSC-Saxo Bank Cervélo R3-SL

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Photo ©: James Huang

Another star from Luxembourg

By James Huang in Pau, France

A simple Sigma 1106 computer
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The R3-SL is a familiar site for CSC
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The front end is bolstered by Alpha Q's new GS-40 carbon fork.
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Cervélo's 'squoval'-shaped tubes
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Zipp has been a long-time sponsor of the CSC team
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Beefy bottom bracket areas are a regular site
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Team CSC-Saxo Bank comes into this year's Tour de France with a potent three-pronged attack that includes perennial Grand Tour contender Carlos Sastre as well as cycling's own dynamic duo, brothers Andy and Fränk Schleck. As is often the case in these situations, the true leader of the race would be determined when the riders hit the mountains.

Stage 10's tough finish up the Hautacam didn't completely resolve the issue but likely reduced the number of candidates to two as Fränk put forth a fantastic performance to finish third (and is now only one second out of the race lead behind new leader Cadel Evans) and teammate Sastre was less than two minutes behind. Andy wasn't to partake in the team's celebrations that day, though, as he had a rough day and lost over 8 1/2 minutes to stage winner Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott) by the time he crossed the line.

The younger Schleck's role in the Tour will likely change from this point but his choice of bicycle will almost certainly stay constant. Save for stage 4's individual time trial, Andy has been rolling along aboard one of CSC's now familiar-looking black-and-white Cervélos. Like veteran Sastre, though, he (and Fränk) has opted for the more conventionally-shaped (and slightly lighter) R3-SL over the SLC-SL of most of his teammates. At just 1.86kg (6' 1") and 66kg (145.5lb), the R3-SL's smaller seat stays apparently provide the lanky rider with a little more comfort as the kilometers roll on.

Andy's bike is strictly team-issue elsewhere: road sponsor Alpha Q provides its GS-40 fork, 3T supplies its Arx Team stem and Rotundo handlebar (time trial bikes are fitted with 3T's more aerodynamic Funda Pro fork), Vittoria tubulars are stretched over any number of Zipp carbon race wheels and the Prologo Scratch TR saddle is fast becoming a peloton favorite.

Long-time sponsor FSA steps in with its K-Force carbon seatpost and SL-K Light crankset, although it appeared here with K-Force Light badging (Andy apparently favors standard 130mm BCD chainrings instead of the K-Force Light's exclusively 110mm configuration).

As in the past, the rest of the bike is fitted with standard Shimano Dura-Ace componentry although we should note that there wasn't a shred of new-generation 7900 to be found among the squad. This should perhaps come as no surprise, though, since Shimano isn't actually a team sponsor. Instead, CSC-Saxo Bank prefers to purchase its Shimano bits in order to maintain its relationships with FSA and Zipp. According to team mechanic Alejandro Tullalbo, the team may switch to 7900 in the future but would have to test it first.

Tullalbo also graces Andy's bike with a few tricks from his well-traveled tool box. Ceramic bearings are fitted throughout and the derailleur housing ferrules are drilled out for smoother operation. The latter obviously has some negative impact on their longevity in wet conditions versus Shimano's sealed units but Tullalbo loads the housing with heavy oil and the cables and housing are changed frequently as it is, anyway.

This year's Tour de France still has a long way to go so it would be a mistake to write Andy off completely at this stage of the game (stranger things have happened). Even if 2008 doesn't turn out to be Andy's year, though, the burgeoning rider probably shouldn't be too disappointed. After all, he finished a brilliant second in the 2007 Giro d'Italia (his first Grand Tour) and being just 22 years of age at the time also captured the white jersey of best young rider on which Riccardo Riccò had firmly set his sights.

Moreover, Andy's gifted riding has gone well noticed among in the sport and even Fränk admits that he is the more talented of the brothers from Luxembourg. With such enormous natural potential and the guidance of his more seasoned teammates' wisdom, we've surely not seen the last of Andy Schleck


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Cervélo R3-SL
Fork: Alpha Q GS-40

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.86kg (6' 1") ; Weight: 66kg (145.5lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 485mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 535mm
Top tube length: 565mm (horizontal)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 779mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 615mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 555mm

Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7800 with Shimano carbon-specific cork pads
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7800 with Shimano carbon-specific cork pads
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7800
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7800-F
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7800-SS
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7800, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7801
Crankset: FSA SL-K Light (labeled as K-Force Light), 172.5mm, 39/53T
Bottom bracket: FSA MegaExo Ceramic


Wheelset: Zipp 404 tubular with ceramic bearings
Tyres: Vittoria Corsa EVO-CX tubular, 23mm

Bars: 3T Rotundo Team, 42cm (c-c)
Stem: 3T Arx Team, 130mm x -17°
Headset: Cane Creek integrated
Tape/grip: 3T Bar Tape Team

Pedals: Speedplay Zero Titanium
Seat post: FSA K-Force SB20
Saddle: Prologo Scratch TR
Bottle cages: Tacx Tao Carbon
Computer: Sigma 1106
Other accessories: Drilled-out housing ferrules, Morgan Blue lubricants

Total bike weight: 6.81kg (15.0lb)