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TT bikes of the 2006 Giro: Bert Roesems' Davitamon-Lotto Ridley, May 5, 2006

Before the 89th edition of the Giro d'Italia kicks off tomorrow in Seraing, it was only natural for Anthony Tan to take a squizz at a few of the bikes set up for success against the clock, beginning with someone who should feel right at home.

Going for a very good result

Standing 1.96 metres tall,
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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Four centimetres shy of the two metre mark, Davitamon-Lotto's Bert Roesems is a bloody tall guy for a bike rider. But that long, lithe frame of his allows him a significant amount of leverage in his favoured discipline: the time trial.

Belgian time trial champion in 2004, the 33 year-old also has the ability to do very well in one day and stage races. The same year he won his national TT stripes, Roesems took out the overall classification in the Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt, and this spring, a great win in the Nokere Koerse semi-classic was followed by an impressive eighth place in Paris-Roubaix.

He's also won the prologue in the Tour of Belgium, so one would assume thoughts of taking the maglia rosa tomorrow in Seraing aren't too far away from the top of his mind.

And the bike that could potentially take him to victory is a newbie for 2006. "Last year, almost everyone had aluminium," said head mechanic Bert Leysin to Cyclingnews, "but this one is carbon. That's the only major difference; a little bit lighter, a little bit more aerodynamic, that's the main reason [for the change]."

Angles are more or less the same compared to last year's TT frames and each one is mass-produced rather than custom-built. Although no one's complained so far: each rider has chosen to stick with their carbon TT frame, preferring it over its aluminium predecessor, Leysin says. Apparently, there's also a new frame to be unveiled come the high mountains... hopefully, we can come back to you later on that.

Prologues are invariably won by the barest of margins, where saving seconds or fractions of a second can mean the difference between standing on the podium or swearing in the showers. So we asked if Roesems has requested for anything in particular to give him that winning edge.

Leysin pauses for a moment, thinking. "The only thing he uses is the SRM [Powermeter]. That's the only difference... wait - he also uses lighter singles. They are really light, almost half [the weight] of the standard ones."

They must be expensive, then, no?

"For us, no," smiles Leysin, "but our supplier, Vredestein, hand-makes these specifically for the time trial. We only give it to guys who want to go for a good result, a very good result."


A custom modification for the pros only,
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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A diamond-shaped aero top tube,
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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Chunky, replaceable dropouts.
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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Crank Brothers' dual-entry pedals.
Photo ©: Anthony Tan
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Images by Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews