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Pro bikes, February 24, 2009

Robert Gesink's Rabobank Giant TCR Advanced SL

(Click for larger image)
Photo ©: James Huang

A gleaming white bike for a white jersey winner

By James Huang

The huge rectangular down tube runs nearly the full width
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The lengthy integrated seatmast is topped
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The slender seat stays meld together before joining the seat tube.
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Gesink and Rabobank have switched to Shimano Dura-Ace 7900
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The asymmetrical chain looks like this on the driveside…
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The Tour of California has always been good to burgeoning 22 year-old talent Robert Gesink (Rabobank), who has now won the coveted white jersey of 'best young rider' for three years running. Gesink's white jersey is perhaps becoming a familiar sight to him these days, but this year's win fittingly came aboard a brand new bike.

Giant replaces Colnago as the official Rabobank team sponsor this year and conveniently for Gesink and his teammates, the change also brings with it a brand-new iteration of Giant's long-running TCR carbon road racer, the TCR Advanced SL.

Gesink's gleaming white TCR Advanced SL is a marked visual departure from his rather classic-looking lugged carbon Colnago with its far bigger tube profiles, sweeping curves and smooth lines. Though the old TCR was already no slouch in the weight and stiffness departments, Giant says this new one is a big leap forward.

In addition to the more oversized cross-sections, Giant has also graced its new flagship with a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/4" steerer tube surrounded by an enormous head tube, an 86mm-wide bottom bracket shell with press-fit bearing cups, and a similarly wide rectangular-profile down tube to match. According to Giant, the new bike is 42 percent stiffer overall and also provides better braking performance thanks to the stouter front end.

Yet this new iteration is also lighter by roughly 200g as compared to last year's TCR and also claimed to be more comfortable owing to the slimmer seat stays. In spite of Gesink's lanky 1.87m (6' 1") build, his complete bike is just barely UCI-legal at 6.83kg (15.06lb). Giant also claims its more comfortable thanks to the integrated seat mast's tuned flex pattern.

Shimano and its PRO subsidiary continue on as Rabobank sponsors and Gesink's bike is fully equipped as usual. For 2009, the gifted Dutch climber has upgraded to the latest Dura-Ace 7900 group and carbon tubulars, as well as the ubiquitous SPD-SL pedals. In contrast to many pros, Gesink not only opts for a carbon bar and stem but a minimally taped integrated setup that presumably adds a bit of stiffness but also limits adjustability.

Team mechanic Joost Hoetelmans says Gesink has no particular setup requests and we would have to agree judging by the bike's appearance. Save for the massive amount of bar drop, Gesink's bike is decidedly standard looking.

Gesink won this year's best young rider competition by a comfortable 1:03 but will have to look to bigger things next year since he turns 23 in May. Judging by this year's showing, the race leader's jersey may well be within reach: Gesink finished 8th overall, just 1:54 behind three-time winner Levi Leipheimer (Astana) and ahead of such notable riders as George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad), Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream), Floyd Landis (OUCH) and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank).

Best keep your eyes on this one.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Giant TCR Advanced SL, size M/L
Fork: Giant TCR Advanced SL

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.89m (6' 2") ; Weight: 69kg (152lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 500mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 835mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 640mm
C of front wheel to top of bars (next to stem): 602mm
Top tube length: 570mm

Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900-F
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900-SS
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace Hollowtech II FC-7900, 175mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-FC7900

Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7850-C24-TU
Front tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo-CX tubular, 21mm
Rear tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo-CX tubular, 21mm

Bars: PRO Stealth Evo integrated, 42cm (c-c)
Stem: PRO Stealth Evo integrated, 120mm x -6º
Headset: FSA integrated
Tape/grip: PRO cork

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Seat post: Integrated
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Team Edition
Bottle cages: Tacx Tao Carbon
Computer: Suunto

Total bike weight: 6.83kg (15.06lb)