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Pro bikes, March 15, 2007

Laurent Lefevre's Bouygues Telecom Time VXR Proteam

Photo ©: Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com

The Bouygues workhorse

By Anthony Tan

A golden oldie
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Campy's '07 group
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Time's Monolink HM stem.
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A very common name
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Sigma Sport's cyclo-computer
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The front hub
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Used as a working prototype last year by riders like Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini, Time's new-for-2007 model VXR Proteam weighs around 70 grams more than the flagship VXRS Ulteam, but is designed to be a little more robust. Time claims the new frame is still sub-1kg (985 grams +/- 5 percent), and for Laurent Lefevre and the rest of his Bouygues Telecom équipe, that is still light enough to qualify the VXR Proteam as a second race-worthy bike to be used alongside the VXRS Ulteam.

Time integrates a polyamide fibre braid it calls Vibraser into the top and bottom of the carbon tubes, the leading and trailing edges of the fork blades, the top and bottom of the stem, and front and back of the seat post. According to Time, this allows for controlled flex in one direction and engineered rigidity in the other. The aim is to produce an entire 'module' (consisting of the frame, fork, seat post, and stem) remain incredibly stiff laterally but compliant along the plane of the bike.

According to this, the bike should stay rigid when climbing or sprinting, but much of the vibration coming up from the road's surface is designed to be absorbed. Similarly, when descending or riding over rough surfaces, the handling characteristics of the machine should not be compromised, and Time claims that the VXR Proteam is stable and stiff over any terrain. Time also says that it is the only manufacturer in the industry (frame or otherwise) to use 'RTM Technology' (Resin Transfer Moulding), a technique that is said to give the builder more freedom to shape a tube depending on function.

Lefevre finished eighth overall at last year's Tour de Langkawi, and arrived in Malaysia in better condition in hopes of a better result at the 2007 edition. However, the winner of a tough stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré in 2003 faltered on the day to Cameron Highlands, the race's first real test. Lefevre finished 12 minutes down to countryman Anthony Charteau from Crédit Agricole, who would eventually go on to win overall.

Lefevre's teammates, Yoann Le Boulanger and Thomas Voeckler, fared much better that day with third and fourth place finishes, respectively. Four days later, however, the Bouygues Telecom trio succumbed to the mighty climb of Genting Highlands. By the time the race finished in the capital of Kuala Lumpur, Le Boulanger was the team's best-placed finisher at 12th overall.

At 30 years old, Lefevre is still in his prime, but must use all his experience and strength developed after a decade as a professional if he is to realise his career ambition: to don the red, white and blue jersey of French national champion.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com

Full specification

Frame: 2007 Time VXR Proteam
Fork: Time carbon

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.80m (5'11") Rider's weight: 67kg (148lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 503mm
Seat tube length, c-t:
Saddle height, from BB center to top: 753mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars:
C of front wheel to top of bars:
Top tube length:

Crankset: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque, 175mm, 53/39T
Chain: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Narrow
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Chorus QS 9s/10s
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record
Brakes: Campagnolo Record
Levers: Campagnolo Record QS Ergopower 10s
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque


Wheelset: Campagnolo Neutron Ultra clincher (22/24 spokes F/R)
Tyres: Michelin Pro Squared Race clincher, 700x23c

Handle bars: FSA Energy, 42cm (o-o)
Stem: Time Monolink, 115mm
Headset: Time
Tape: Time

Pedals: Time RXS Carbon
Seat post: Time carbon
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite, team edition
Bottle cages: Elite carbon
Computer: Sigma 1600L

Total bike weight: 7.32kg (16.14lb)