|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum
By Tim Maloney
A athlete who loves his equipment, Lance Armstrong used the Trek Madone 5.9 to propel himself to a fifth consecutive Tour de France victory in 2003. This July, the leader of the US Postal Service-Berry Floor team wll be using something decidedly different; Trek's Madone SL is a work-in-progress of the machine Armstrong will use as he attempts to create a league of his own.
Lance actually named the bike himself after the Col de la Madone in Menton, France, where Armstrong tested himself in training. "The Col de la Madone is a 12km climb that starts in the French village of Menton. It rises from close to sea level to 927 meters. Cyclists have long used it to test themselves. Having lived in Nice for four years, I rode it many times as well. The record of 31:30 stood for many years, until in 1999 when I broke it with a 30:47. For me, the Madone is the ultimate test. It always tells me if I'm ready - ready to ride fast and ultimately, win the Tour de France. It never fails."
Trek introduced their Madone 5.9 last spring, where Armstrong debuted the new rig in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and used it during the Centenary Tour de France. Late last year, Armstrong began using a variation on a theme, the Madone SL. Sources at Trek told Cyclingnews that this bike is just another pre-tour prototype for Armstrong to see what works and doesn't. The Madone SL is basically a different style Madone, which uses the same top tube and rear triangle as the Madone 5.9, but with what appears to be the down tube and seat tube of the Trek 5900 Superlight; this substitution most likely saves some weight over the standard Madone 5.9.
Armstrong's test rig has a Trek "Project One" paint-job and is nicknamed "Madone JB" by some USPS-Berry Floor team wrenchers, since team director Johan Bruyneel has had a lot of input in this version of the Madone. What's the next step? Trek and USPS wouldn't say, although we've heard it will a super-light climbing version of the Madone SL, to be unveiled at the Dauphiné Libéré next June, where Armstrong will challenge Le Mont Ventoux in an individual "contre-le-montre en cote" - the race of truth... so stay tuned for further developments.
Images by Tim Maloney/Cyclingnews
Frame: Trek Madone SL prototype (OCLV 110 carbon-fibre)
Cranks: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7800, 175mm
Rim: Bontrager Race X-lite Aero tubular, 1710g/pair
Stem: Deda Newton 110mm, 125g
Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace PD-7800, 277g