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Tour de France Tech – July 11, 2005

Edited by John Stevenson

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Peter Wrolich's Specialized   Thor Hushovd's Look  Tom Boonen's Time   Stuart O'Grady's Wilier   Robbie McEwen's Ridley

The bikes of the sprinters: The Boonen-mobile

Tom Boonen's Time machine
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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Time, bike sponsor of the Quick.Step team, would prefer not to sell you just an plain, standalone frame. Instead, Time makes 'modules', combinations of frame, fork, stem and seat post all designed to work well together and to look all of a piece. Tom Boonen and the boys ride Time's VXRS model, the most distinctive feature of which is the extended seat tube which passes up through the seat lug and ends in a clamp just below the saddle. That clamp takes a very short seat post, which is really little more than a carrier for the saddle.

Campagnolo Record cranks in aluminium
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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The advantage of the design is that Time can save weight by using a large-diameter, thin-walled carbon tube all the way to the saddle, instead of a thinner seat post. It's a design that especially makes sense for big bikes such as Boonen's.

Apart from size, Tom Boonen's Time VXRS is the same bike as every other member of his Quick.Step team, the main difference being his white Selle San Marco replica saddle.

Now that's one long stem.
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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For Friday's rainy stage six to Karlsruhe, no modifications were made, the double TdF stage winner continuing to go with the deep-rimmed Fulcrum wheels both front and rear, glued to Hutchison's 23mm tubulars.

And while he may have aspirations on the green jersey here en France, Boonen is a Classics man at heart. One feature that's common with such riders is the upturned handlebars that allow one's hands to sit high on the hoods, which is generally the most comfortable position to be in when pelting over the Belgian cobbles.

An eye-catching feature
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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Campagnolo supplies Quick.Step's running gear and Boonen goes for the aluminium version of the Record crank, because, according to Campagnolo, he uses 177.5mm cranks which are not available in the carbon version. Pedals are Time, of course, and again Boonen has slight retro tendencies, with the metal-bodied Impact pedals.


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Images by Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com

  • Tom Boonen's Time machine is built around Time's VXRS 'module'. Time doesn't just make frames, but designs the whole package of frame, fork, post and stem to hang together.
  • Campagnolo's Record group graces the Quick.Step bikes. This is the rear, single-pivot brake which saves weight over a dual pivot design. The more powerful dual-pivot brake is kept up front where it can do most good.
  • An eye-catching feature of Boonen's bike is his white Selle San Marco Racing Replica saddle. The clamp immediately under the saddle joins a very short 'seat post' to an extended seat tube.
  • Now that's one long stem. Like his Italian counterpart Alessandro Petacchi, Boonen is a tall guy who goes for a long stem to get a stretched, aerodynamic position for that last 70km/h dash to the line.
  • Time Avant Safe fork - then you're shoulder to shoulder with Robbie McEwen, a 'safe' fork must be reassuring. Time includes vibration-damping Vectran fibers in this fork's carbon monocoque construction.
  • Boonen's hoods sit high to provide a comfortable position for cruising along in the bunch waiting to unleash his finish.
  • Time Monolink Titan Carbon stem is clamped to Deda's Newton bar.
  • If you had any doubts who was the leader on the team look no further than this number. Boonen's ability to deliver stage and Classics wins has made him the leader of the pack both at Quick.Step and at home in Belgium.
  • Campagnolo Record cranks in aluminium - some sprinters still prefer the rigidity of aluminium cranks. Boonen also uses Time's Impact pedals.