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Pro bikes, April 13, 2008

George Hincapie's Team High Road Giant TCR Advanced Team Paris-Roubaix Special

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Photo ©: James Huang

Team High Road prepares for the worst

By James Huang in Compiègne, France

Will this be Hincapie's year?
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Hincapie's carbon frame resembles Giant's OCR
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There isn't nearly as much reinforcement
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The fork is supposedly borrowed from Giant's 'cross frameset.
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Hincapie's machine features an aluminum steerer tube.
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The fork crown is somewhat ungainly in appearance
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George Hincapie is gearing up for yet another edition of Paris-Roubaix and Team High Road sponsor Giant is making sure that the big man from Greenville, South Carolina, is ready for whatever Sunday's weather brings as he seeks that elusive win.

The word in the pits was that Hincapie may very well set off from Compiègne aboard a machine not all that unlike his usual Giant TCR Advanced SL Team. However, the threatening storm clouds (and the subsequent mud) will likely put him on a far more unique build specially suited for Paris-Roubaix.

Like many bikes we spotted in the days leading up to the event, Hincapie's Paris-Roubaix special blends attributes of both road and 'cross bikes. The carbon frame strongly resembles Giant's standard TCR Composite frame but the rear end is fitted with unique dropouts that effectively yield longer chain stays. This should make for a slightly more comfortable ride that also provides a bit more stability thanks to the extended wheelbase.

The carbon-legged fork is lifted straight off of Giant's TCX 'cross frameset to provide some balance to the longer rear. Not surprisingly, the steerer tube is aluminum, not carbon fiber.

Both ends offer plenty of mud clearance and the longer fork blades also serve to raise the bottom bracket slightly. Wide-profile cantilever brakes are fitted all around, with the rear requiring custom-fitted mounts bonded and riveted to the seat stays. A simple cable hanger is inserted at the seat collar to accommodate the new routing requirements but instead of using a steerer-mounted hanger up front (Hincapie runs his stem slammed right on top of the headset), Team High Road mechanics have simply drilled straight through the stem.

The rest of the equipment largely reflects common trends among Hincapie's competition. Wheels consist of traditional aluminum box-section tubular rims laced to standard hubs (Shimano Dura-Ace, in this case) with 14g non-butted stainless steel spokes and brass nipples in a softer-riding three-cross pattern. The rear tire is a special 25mm-wide version of Schwalbe's Stelvio tubular while the front is labeled as a Schwalbe Ultremo although that's clearly not what it really is. The large 25mm-wide casing is capped with a mild tread pattern throughout but the rubber extends far further down the side of the casing than usual for increased sidewall protection and more predictable handling on uneven ground.

Gearing is also in accordance with much of the field: Hincapie's standard Dura-Ace crankarms are fitted with an aggressive 53/44T combination befitting the fast pace and relatively flat profile while an 11-23T cassette should provide him with all the gears he needs. Typical Dura-Ace derailleurs are bolted on, front and rear, and are controlled by Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control levers as usual.

What will Hincapie ultimately end up using? We'll all have to wait until Sunday morning to see.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Giant TCR Advanced Team Paris-Roubaix Special
Fork: Giant TCX

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.91m (6' 3") ; Weight: 74.8kg (165lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 510mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 570mm
Top tube length: 560mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 805mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 620mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 595mm

Front brake: Alloy wide-profile cantilever w/ BBB CrossStop pads
Rear brake: Alloy wide-profile cantilever w/ BBB CrossStop pads
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7800
Front derailleurs: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7800-F
Rear derailleurs: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7800-SS
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7800, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7801
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7800, 175mm, 53/44T
Bottom bracket: Shimano SM-FC7800


Front rim: Fir ST120 tubular
Rear rim: PRO R75T tubular
Front hub: Shimano Dura-Ace HB-7800, 32h
Rear hub: Shimano Dura-Ace FH-7800, 32h
Spokes: Sapim stainless steel, 14g, w/brass nipples
Front tyre: Schwalbe 'Ultremo' tubular, 25mm
Rear tyre: Schwalbe Stelvio tubular, 25mm

Bars: PRO Vibe 7S Anatomic OS, 44cm (c-c)
Stem: PRO PLT OS Road, 130mm x -6°
Headset: FSA integrated
Tape/grip: PRO

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Seat post: Giant formulaOne Composite
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite TT Team Edition
Bottle cages: Elite Patao
Computer: None

Total bike weight: 8.1kg (17.9lb)