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Race Tech: Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, June 22, 2007

Lessons from France

By James Huang in Geneva, Switzerland

The Astana BMC SLC01 Pro Machine
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We're pretty sure that we wouldn't want to be
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The Colnago Extreme Power
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Orbea just recently introduced a brand-new Orca
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A couple of small washers inserted in the seat tube slot
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Astana's BMC SLC01 Pro Machine frames
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Saunier Duval-Prodir rider Leonardo Piepoli
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Piepoli's lever was clearly a handbuilt prototype
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Just in case you assumed that professional riders
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Where's that climb again?
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We don't see too many of these
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Rebadged components are the norm in the ProTour
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Layback posts don’t work for everyone
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So what is a rider to do if the Mavic neutal support vehicle
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The long valve stems associated with deeper section wheels
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Saunier Duval-Prodir is sponsored by SRAM
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As we wrap up our tech coverage from this year's Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, we leave you with a gallery of images that illustrate some interesting trends. First of all, team equipment sponsors obviously pay a lot of money for the riders to use their stuff, but there is still some leeway on behalf of the teams and riders as to which of those items they prefer to use, and what they prefer to pass over.

On a related note, things are not always what they appear to be: rebadging equipment is a common practice in the pro peloton, particularly in the case of tires or any other component where a rider's personal preference would quite visibly conflict with the official supporting sponsor. Black permanent markers and electrical tape are often a team's best friend.

Equipment is also not always perfect, at least not cosmetically. While team mechanics absolutely place the rider's safety and the performance of their bicycle on the highest pedestal, the method used to get to that point is not always the prettiest (although it's always clean!). Just because something may look a bit scratched up doesn't mean it can't still go like stink. Your perfectly polished and waxed US$8000 machine may be shinier, but there's no substitute for a good pair of legs when it comes to getting to the finish line first.

And finally, a few parting words from our travels through France:

  • Cash is always good to have on hand, as plastic is not always universally accepted, including in the automated highway toll machines (not that we'd know)
  • Automatic traffic cameras designed to catch speeders do not discriminate (see above)
  • Even the tiniest of rental cars are still designed to handle fairly confidently at 160km/h (um, see above)
  • Thankfully, the local police are very friendly and helpful, especially when you're an ignorant foreigner who doesn't realize that many French towns have farmers' markets on early Sunday mornings in parking lots conveniently located across the street from your hotel (see first entry)
  • 'Fourriere' roughly translates into 'impound' in French (um, again, see above)

Au revoir!

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

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