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Pro bikes, May 5, 2008

Thor Hushovd's Crédit Agricole Look 585 Paris-Roubaix

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Photo ©: Kirsten Robbins

A conservative approach for the Norwegian sprinter

By James Huang

There's no tapered-and-oversized trickery here…
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…as a standard 1 1/8" steerer and head tube
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Even though there's no carbon in the wheels
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According to team mechanic Pascal Ridel
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Look still prefers tube-and-lug technology
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The bottom bracket area
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Thor Hushovd, Crédit Agricole's Norwegian strongman, has proven himself to be a potent one-day rider with prologue wins at both the Tour de France and Paris-Nice, stage wins at Le Grand Boucle and other multi-day events, and even a win at Gent-Wevelgem in 2006. Unfortunately, though, Hushovd had a disappointing showing at this year's Paris-Roubaix: the 'Viking' abandoned the race at the first feed zone after reportedly suffering a nasty crash early on.

The morning of the start brought surprisingly pleasant conditions such that specially dedicated mud machines weren't entirely necessary. Even so, Hushovd set off from Compiègne aboard a Look 585 Origin instead of his usual 595. According to head mechanic Pascal Ridel, the swap wasn't made for any durability or strength reasons; it was strictly a question of comfort. "It's a little smoother than the 595," he said.

Ridel added that Hushovd's 585 Origin was no one-off and a quick inspection seemed to support that assertion. There were no additional tire clearances at either end nor any obvious geometry adjustments (although any extra fiber plies for added stiffness would have been well camouflaged). Likewise, most of the associated equipment bore little change from his standard race setup which included Shimano Dura-Ace controls, cranks, derailleurs, cassette and chain, plus his team-issued Look KéO Carbon pedals.

Even so, the wheels, tires and gearing displayed the typical Paris-Roubaix trademarks. Hushovd swapped his usual deep-section carbon tubulars for more conventional wheels built with standard Dura-Ace hubs, straight-gauge stainless steel spokes and brass nipples laced in a traditional three-cross pattern to unmarked aluminum box-section tubular rims which Ridel said were now in their fifth year of service. The corresponding Continental Pro Limited Competition ProTection tubulars were similarly conservative what with their wider 25mm casing and extra sidewall reinforcement.

Gearing was decidedly appropriate for the flat course profile: an aggressive 11-23T cluster out back matched with 53/46T chainrings. According to Ridel, the tight chainring sizing also eliminated any need to run a chain watcher.

The latter may come as a bit of a surprise but we have little reason to question the seasoned wrench. Ridel has been with the team through its various incarnations for roughly 20 years and the 2008 Paris-Roubaix astoundingly marked his fifteenth running of the 'Hell of the North.' As expected, this invaluable experience played out in the team's support strategy for the day.

Ridel estimated the day before the start that team mechanics would be placed at no fewer than 10-12 places along the course with bikes and/or wheels to ensure that their leader wasn't caught out if a team car or neutral support vehicle was too far away to help. In total, Hushovd was prepared with five complete bikes, including one backup that was a complete carbon copy of his primary machine.

Sadly, that plan ended up being somewhat for naught after Hushovd abandoned; Crédit Agricole's highest placed rider was Jimmy Engoulvent in 38th place, 11'46" down from Tom Boonen (Quick Step). Even so, Hushovd will be back on track soon enough and the season has only just begun.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Look 585 Origin
Size: Size L
Fork: Look HSC5 SL

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.83m (6' 0") ; Weight: 81kg (179lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 512mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 542mm
Top tube length: 565mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 773mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 602mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 585mm

Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7800
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control, ST-7800
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7800 w/braze-on adapter
Rear derailleur: 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, 53/46T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-FC7800


Rims: Alloy box section tubular
Front hub: Shimano Dura-Ace HB-7800, 32h
Rear hub: Shimano Dura-Ace FH-7850, 32h
Spokes: Hoshi stainless steel, 14g w/brass nipples
Tyres: Continental Pro Limited Competition ProTection tubular, 25mm

Bars: PRO Vibe 7S Round Thor Hushovd Star Series, 44cm (c-c)
Stem: PRO Vibe 7S OS Alloy Thor Hushovd Star Series, 13cm x -6°
Headset: FSA Orbit integrated
Tape/grip: Bike Ribbon cork, double wrapped

Pedals: Look KéO Carbon
Seat post: Look Ergopost 2 Ti
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Team Edition
Bottle cages: Tacx Tao
Computer: Shimano Flight Deck wireless

Total bike weight: 7.92kg (17.46lb)