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Pro bikes, May 13, 2008

Staf Scheirlinckx' Cofidis Time VXS Paris-Roubaix

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Photo ©: James Huang

Cofidis follows the 'almost standard' theme for Paris-Roubaix

By James Huang

There are no fancy carbon wheels to be found here
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Mavic's Reflex tubular rim was a popular choice
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A tight 11-21T cluster out back
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Just in case you weren't sure what bars Scheirlinckx was using
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The Time Ulteam Ti Carbon stem
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Like many of the riders in this year's Paris-Roubaix, Cofidis' Staf Scheirlinckx set off from the start in Compiègne aboard what looked to be a reasonably stock-looking machine. As we've all now come to realize, though, Scheirlinckx' Time VXS bore a few visually subtle modifications intended to ease the 259.5km (161.2mi) journey into the Roubaix velodrome.

A little extra room was added at both ends to provide a slightly longer wheelbase for stability while the bottom bracket height was supposedly raised just a bit for ground clearance over the unforgiving cobbles. The stock VXS Translink's semi-integrated seatpost was swapped in favor of a more conventional setup and Scheirlinckx' fork was fitted with an alloy steerer instead of the usual carbon one. Given the fork's telltale fade-type paint (and the relatively hefty 8.0kg (17.6lb) complete bike weight), we're guessing the crown was alloy as well.

Scheirlinckx's componentry choices also reflected a number of popular Paris-Roubaix trends. The traditionally built wheels utilized Mavic Reflex aluminum tubular rims laced with 14g stainless steel spokes to standard Campagnolo Record hubs. The associated tires were giant 27mm-wide Vittoria Pavé tubulars.

Gearing was decidedly flat land-friendly: Scheirlinckx' long 177.5mm Record crankarms were fitted with a 53/48T combination and the rear cassette was similarly tight at 11-21T. Given the close spacing up front, no supplemental chain watcher was necessary. Most of the rest of the bike was also Record-equipped, including the team edition Ergopower levers, brake calipers and rear derailleur (Scheirlinckx used a Chorus front derailleur).

The appearance of standard Record componentry wouldn't normally catch our attention (after all, the Italian company is the official team sponsor) were it not for the fact that Scheirlinckx and other teammates have regularly been seen on other occasions with prototype versions of Campagnolo's electronic groups. As was the theme for the day, Cofidis apparently opted for the conservative route and equipped each of the bikes we saw with standard mechanical bits.

After so many years of real world testing (we've seen the Campagnolo electronic stuff as early as 2003) we'd honestly be surprised if the still-unreleased package had any remaining bugs but as always with Paris-Roubaix, it's better to be safe than sorry.

As it turns out, that conservative approach appeared to work out quite well: Scheirlinckx arrived at the Roubaix velodrome in the first major chase group with George Hincapie and finished 15th on the day, just 5' 12" down.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Time VXS Paris-Roubaix special
Fork: Time carbon with alloy steerer

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.93m (6' 4") ; Weight: 77kg (170lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 542mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 594mm
Top tube length: 595mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 829mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 675mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 590mm

Brakes: Campagnolo Record D-Skeleton
Levers: Campagnolo Ergopower QS 10s 'Red' team edition
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Chorus 10s
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record
Cassette: Campagnolo Record UD 10s steel+titanium, 11-21T
Chain: Campagnolo Record Ultra Narrow
Crankset: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque Carbon 10s, 177.5mm, 53/48T (with Spécialités TA inner ring)
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque

 

Rims: Mavic Reflex tubular, 32h
Hubs: Campagnolo Record, 32h
Spokes: Stainless steel, 14g
Tyres: Vittoria Special Pavé TT tubular, 27mm

Bars: FSA Energy T, 44cm (c-c)
Stem: Time Ulteam Ti Carbon, 140mm x -10°
Headset: Time Quickset
Tape/grip: Time cork (single wrapped)

Pedals: Time RXS Carbon
Seat post: Time Stiff+
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Team Edition
Bottle cages: Zéfal Alu 126
Computer: BBB BCP-03

Total bike weight: 8.0kg (17.6lb)