By Anthony Tan
Ryan Cox's Barloworld Cannondale
The change in management at Team Barloworld in 2006 not only brought
about a new team manager in Claudio Corti, but also a change in bike
from De Rosa to Cannondale. For those of you who don't know, Corti used
to be the team manager of Lampre-Cafitta and before that Saeco, which
first saw the American mark on a first division team in Europe, and
it's quite obvious his continued good relations with Cannondale has
seen their bikes back in the fold with Barloworld.
We took a close look at Ryan
Cox's De Rosa King X-Light around this time last year, which he
used to great effect at the Tour de Langkawi, claiming the overall classification
ahead of Venezuelan revelation Jose Rujano and team-mate Tiaan Kannemeyer,
with his squad also taking out the teams classification. So it was only
apt that Cyclingnews sneaked a peek at the defending champ's
machine when we came back for the '06 race.
Although Barloworld didn't send a team to Malaysia, the South Africans
have long been supporters of the Tour de Langkawi, keen to use their
form honed over the European winter in a racing environment. Consequently,
a national team of sorts was composed by national selector Tony Harding
and spearheaded by Cox and David George, who would go on to win the
Mavic's Ksyrium SLs
FSA's very modern-looking,
Both the top and down tubes
A closer look at the aluminium
Hollowgram Si cranks
The 2006 Six13 takes a
leaf out of the Cannondale CAAD8 book
The Fi'zi:k Arione has
a very flat profile
Before the race began, Cox told Cyclingnews he'd only done half
as many miles in training compared to last year - though it wasn't because
of the bike: "I am really getting into my new Six13 and am feeling quite
comfortable on it in the past few weeks," he said. "I must say being
a climber I do prefer a down sloping bike, but that is my personal preference.
The thing is from the De Rosa to the Cannondale is like changing form
a BMW to a Mercedes - not really much of a change, as they are both
such good bikes to ride."
Rather, the 26 year-old said after winning the event last year, he
was aiming to peak later in the season, with his focus directed towards
earning a spot on the team at the 2006 Giro d'Italia - that's if his
team is selected.
Arriving at the bike tent a day before the race kicked off in KL, we
found South African national team mechanic Melvin 'Melly' Claasen busily
working on Cox's Six13, who, by default, also works as the Barloworld
mechanic when the team's in South Africa.
"Fifteen years on the road. That's a long road!" Melly laughs when
I ask him how long he's been in the business.
Last year saw some notable - but maybe not so noticeable - changes
to the original Six13: a single-butted aluminium alloy seat tube instead
of carbon, but sticking with carbon top and down tubes (along with a
hint of boron thrown in the latter, the material claimed to be stiffer
under compression); CAAD8 style drop-outs, saving 30 grams; and semi-compact
geometry (2cm of top tube slope for sizes 55cm-63cm, and 3cm for sizes
48cm-54cm), designed to save weight and increase stand-over height.
The result: a claimed frame weight of 1,190 grams, and when weighed,
a total bike weight of 7.51 kilos.
"The specs on this and the De Rosa are quite different. He feels very
comfortable on this bike," says Claasen, reiterating Cox's earlier statement.
"He says it feels much lighter and more responsive."
Affirms Cox: "The Cannondale is much smoother with it's laidback angles,
so it gives a very smooth and soft ride, where the De Rosa is quite
steep and harder on the road."
This is interesting. Looking at the specs on their respective Web sites,
the De Rosa King X-Light states a seat tube angle of 73 degrees for
a 56cm frame (going off the effective top tube measurement), while the
Cannondale Six13 lists a 73.5 degreee seat tube angle for the equivalent
size frame. Whether the difference then lies in the head tube angle
is hard to know, as De Rosa does not list that spec (for the Six13,
it's 73 degrees), and there's only a millimetre of difference when comparing
chainstay length and bottom bracket height - but front-centre distance
(measured from the centre of the bottom bracket to the centre of the
front wheel axle) is almost a centimetre shorter on the De Rosa (58.7cm
vs. 59.5cm), which could explain Cox's feeling of a cushier ride on
Melly adds Cox hasn't made any changes to his critical measurements
(although there were differences of a few millimetres when we measured
it), with the familiarity of Campagnolo's Record group also there. However,
instead of the Campy/Michelin wheel and tyre combo, this year the team
will be riding on Mavic wheels complemented by Hutchison hoops. Although
it's too early to say how well the rubber rolls, Langkawi being the
first race the team are using Hutchisons, the former Ryan is still in
two minds about.
"The Mavic wheels are very nice for the flat roads but once again as
I'm a climber, I felt the Campag Boras where better on the climbs and
very light and stiff," he said.
If anybody thought Cox was being picky, Claasen dispels the notion
with his last statement: "These guys are professionals - they don't
care what they ride. So long as everything works," he remarks on the
typical pro rider's indifference towards their equipment.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Frame: Cannondale Six13
Fork: Cannondale Slice Premium +
Colour: Team Barloworld
Rider's height: 180cm/ 5'11"
Rider's weight: 63kg/ 139lbs
C of BB to C of seat tube: 516mm
C of BB to T of seat tube: 560mm
C of BB to T of seat: 756mm
Top tube length: 545mm (C-C)
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 579mm
C of front wheel to top of bars: 553mm
Cranks: Cannondale Hollowgram Si, 172.5mm, 39/53
Chain: Campagnolo Record
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record titanium
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record titanium
Brakes: Campagnolo Record
Levers: Campagnolo Record
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record, 11-23
Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium SL tubular
Tyres: Hutchison Pro Lite tubular, 23mm (racing); Hutchison Team
Series, 23mm (training)
Bar: FSA RD200, 31.8, 44cm (O-O)
Stem: FSA OS115, 31.8, 125mm
Headset: Campagnolo Record 1'1/8"
Pedals: Time Impact Ti
Seat post: Campagnolo Record carbon
Saddle: Fi'zi:k Arione, Team Barloworld colours
Bottle cages: Elite carbon
Cycle computer: Sigma Sport 1606L
Total bike weight: 7.51kg/ 16.5lbs