A gleaming white bike for a white jersey winner
By James Huang
The huge rectangular down
tube runs nearly the full width
The lengthy integrated
seatmast is topped
The slender seat stays
meld together before joining the seat tube.
Gesink and Rabobank have
switched to Shimano Dura-Ace 7900
The asymmetrical chain
looks like this on the driveside…
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
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
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