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Tour de France Tech – July 2, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones

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Time for TTX

New Trek time trial bikes for Armstrong, Savoldelli, and Popovych

By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Nantes

Armstrong's Trek TTX
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
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Lance Armstrong and his two Discovery Channel teammates Paolo Savoldelli and Yaro Popovych will have the latest in time trial technology from Trek at this year's Tour, as all will be equipped with the new TTX bike for Stage 1's 19km TT from Fromentine to Noirmoutier le-Isle. Trek's team guy Scott Daubert told Cyclingnews that the three new TT bikes (a spare bike for Armstrong plus two more) just arrived from Trek's Waterloo, Wisconsin OCLV factory, and the riders have been testing the new bikes since they arrived in Nantes. We saw Armstrong hefting the TTX on Thursday and his comment was, "Hey, this is pretty light!"

In fact, the TTX is lighter than most TT rigs as Daubert explained, "Lance is happy with this new bike as (Trek) managed to take some weight away when we changed the tube shapes with the new designs." The original Trek Time Trial design debuted at the 2000 Tour's opening TT in Futuroscope and has helped Armstrong win four Tours among other successes. "We found that the old design was still pretty effective", explained Daubert. "We had a hard time making the TTX faster!"

Although a new TT frame had been under discussion for some time, Trek was able to fast-track the design this spring. "We looked at four key design parameters", explained Daubert. "One, aesthetics; we wanted the bike to look good. The look is evolved from the tube shapes of the Madone. Two, weight; we wanted the new time trial bike to be lighter. The previous model weighed in at about 1680 grams (without fork) but the new TTX is 230 grams (8oz) lighter. Three was stiffness; the new Madone derived top-tube shape has a more rigid contour that makes the TTX more stable and transmits more power. Last but not least was aerodynamics. This was the hardest parameter to deal with, as we were looking for big increments in the wind tunnel numbers, but it turned out that the older frame was already really fast."

Special 38mm Bontrager
Photo ©: Tim Maloney
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Like a baseball player changing bats depending on the pitcher he's facing, Saturday's 19km Stage 1 TT is a difficult challenge for material selection for Armstrong. With the strong prevailing west-northwest head and side wind, wheel selection will crucial. The wrong wheel combo can actually slow a rider down, so the configuration pictured may not be what Armstrong ends up with. Armstrong will use the same Bontrager one-off super narrow 38mm alu TT bars that he used in 2003 in the Pornic-Nantes TT to cut down wind resistance. Armstrong will use a medium TTX frame (56/58cm) with Shimano Dura Ace 175mm cranks, powering a front chainring combo of 55x39, with an 11-21 10 speed cluster in the rear.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews.com

Also see: June 16: Trek rolls out new weapons for Discovery Tour campaign