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Bikes of the Tour: Andriy Grivko's Team Milram & Michael Rasmussen's Rabobank Colnago TT bikes, July 12, 2006

A tale of two Colnagos

Anthony Tan & Tim Maloney take a look at two distinctively different time trial bikes from the same manufacturer.

Michael Rasmussen's Rabobank Colango TT bike
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Andriy Grivko's Team Milram Colnago
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At this year's Tour de France, Colnago-sponsored teams Milram and Rabobank have two different time machines for the critical races against the clock.

Man and machine.
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Milram is riding the C-50 Crono, with aero carbon fibre tubes and a low profile position. Meanwhile, Rabobank has a new Colnago TT rig that looks a lot like Giant's sleek TCR Advanced time trial bike with its shaped seat tube, flat seat stays and integrated seat mast instead of a adjustable seatpost like the C50. But Cyclingnews couldn't get anyone at Rabobank or Colnago to confirm which bike this is.

A smile and a firm handshake got Cyclingnews into Team Milram's fenced-off area in Saint-Grégoire last Saturday, where we reacquainted ourselves with their head wrencher Geert Rombauts.

Asked which members of the team were expected to do well, the friendly Belgian replied: "Well, Grivko and Maxim Iglinskiy are our guys for the general classification, and with Grivko national time trial champion of Ukraine, we hope to see him do well today."

With bars almost at 45 degrees
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Speaking about their time trial bikes being used at the Tour, the Belgian said this year's Colnago TT frames are all carbon, whereas last year the team's riders were using aluminium. "But the shape and geometry stays the same," he said.

"Also, more riders are using straight rather than curved bars this year. Grivko has been using these for a while, but Iglinskiy has done the same - probably because he wants to be like Iglinskiy," smiled Rombauts.

A little more noticeable though different from the rest was the quad-spoke front wheel from Dutch brand PRO on the Ukrainian's bike. "He's the only one [on the team] with this new wheel; he used it in the prologue and really likes it."

The cutaway seat-tube.
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Prototype quad-spoke
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Head tube cluster
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Panracer's special edition tyres
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A massive airfoil-shaped downtube.
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Cyclingnews spied this new Colnago TT bike
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As things turned out, Grivko posted a solid but not spectacular performance against the clock, his 31st place three and a quarter minutes behind countryman and stage winner Serguei Gonchar. However, being just 22 years old - a massive fourteen years younger than Gonchar - he's got plenty of time to improve.

We first previewed Michael Rasmussen's latest time machine at this year's Giro d'Italia, where the Chicken had recently changed his position in an effort to improve his aerodynamics, power and stability in the chrono.

Interestingly, his handlebar position is not too dissimilar to that of Floyd Landis. Each have their elbows bent at 45 degrees and hands almost in front of their faces, but wind tunnel testing has shown this is the most effective position for both of them, as their head and arms break the air's resistance simultaneously.

However, out of the two, only Landis has proven himself to be effective so far in this position, most recently finishing second to Serguei Gonchar last Saturday in the Tour's opening time test. At the Giro, Rasmussen finished tenth-last before pulling out with back problems a few days later, and in Rennes, he ended up 114th, six and a half minutes down on Gonchar.

No doubt, the Chicken will need to fly the coup once more if he's to match his fourth place overall at the Tour last year.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews

Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews

  • Cyclingnews spied this new Colnago TT bike near the Milram truck before the mechanic whisked it away, saying 'no photo'. Too bad, because we got off with one shot; this bike is halfway between the Colnago C50 Crono and the TT prototype that Rabobank is riding.