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Pro bikes, Febuary 1, 2007

Linus Gerdemann's T-Mobile Giant TCR Advanced Team ISP

Photo ©: Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews.com

By Shane Stokes

Linus Gerdemann at the T-Mobile training camp, Majorca, January 07.
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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The elegant lines of the integrated seat post.
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The cockpit; bars and stem by PRO, data by SRM.
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Dura-Ace calipers and Conti tyres.
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The Dura-Ace rear mech and sprockets offer reliable shifting performance.
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The PRO PLT stem…
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SRM is once again measuring power output.
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The T-Mobile team has been riding Giant bikes ever since it switched from Pinarello at the end of 2003, and in that time the partnership has only continued to grow stronger. While the past few months have seen many changes to both riders and management, the relationship with the Taiwanese manufacturer continues to develop. In fact, the two agreed last September to a four-year extension on their existing sponsorship agreement, which now runs until 2010.

This year, T-Mobile is emphasizing two philosophies for its ProTour set-up. The first is the importance of teamwork, and this is underlined by the printing in bold letters of the words 'Die Mannschaft' ('The Team') on the top tubes of the frames. Whether intentional or not, the credo's positioning near the stem means that when things really start to get tough in races and heads begin to drop, the fatiguing riders will have a visual reminder that they are part of a hard-working unit.

The second principle that was underlined at the recent team training camp in Majorca is that of clean competition. The fallout from Operación Puerto and the resulting scandal involving previous T-Mobile star Jan Ullrich have seen the management introduce strict anti-doping tests, along with the associated guidelines of only signing those riders who were willing to subscribe to this tougher ethos.

Perhaps it's entirely unconnected, but the new-look colour scheme also seems to fit with this new concept of purity. In the past, the T-Mobile bikes were a rather garish pink; last year this changed to black with only a minimal amount of magenta remaining. The revision was, according to a team mechanic at the 2006 camp, something which was introduced in order to ensure that the frames appealed to more people, thus boosting sales.

The colours have been modified once again in 2007. The team's Giant TCR Advanced Team ISP is now predominantly white and, while that is somewhat unexpected following years of stronger tones, it's a look which quickly grows on you.

Other changes for the new season lie beneath the surface. According to Giant the frame and fork are constructed from a high-grade carbon fiber using a proprietary "formulaOne" process, and team feedback from last year has yielded a modified fiber layup schedule for 2007. As a result, the new frame is stiffer than previous models, even though it doesn't weigh any more than last year's steed, plus it is also claimed to be more aerodynamic.

According to T-Mobile team mechanic Nick Vandecauter, "Overall I think it is a very good bike. The riders tell us that the bike is a lot better than last year, due to the stiffness of the frame. It is better turning and pedaling." Vandecauter was particularly happy with the frame's robustness, and even suggested that the race to build featherweight frames can be counterproductive. "Perhaps manufacturers were trying too hard to make bikes lighter. They wanted to bring the weight lower and lower and lower but if you don't do it in the right way, you lose stiffness. I think the weight limit of 6.8 kilos is good; my belief is that the UCI should not go lower than this as it is ensures the safety of the rider."

Among the riders piloting the new bike for 2007 for T-Mobile is one of Germany's most promising up and coming riders, 24 year-old Linus Gerdemann. In 2005 he won a stage of the Tour de Suisse, placed third overall in the Bayern-Rundfahrt and fifth overall in the Four Days of Dunkirk. Last season he repeated his good performances in Switzerland, taking second on a stage and finishing seventh overall, and in addition, placed second on stages of both the Deutschland Tour and the Sachsen Tour.

Gerdemann is likely to make his team's selection for the 2007 Tour de France, and while the likely team leaders are Mick Rogers and Patrik Sinkewitz, the young German has shown enough ability to suggest that he could well be a contender in future years.

Other than the new paint scheme on Gerdemann's bike, the most noticeable feature of his Giant is the integrated seatpost. These are cut to size by one of the team mechanics, with small adjustments available through the use of special spacers and the repositioning of the seat post clamp. However the limitations on fine tuning obviously require careful measurement before the mechanic lets loose with the hacksaw. Still, the idea is to save weight and increase stiffness, and the integrated seatpost design achieves both goals handily. As a bonus, the setup is also aesthetically pleasing and works in concert with the tidy integrated headset to produce a sleek-looking machine.

Above the clamp, Gerdemann uses a Selle Italia's Flite TT Team Edition, also used by several of his teammates. T-Mobile's version is white with a diagonal red stripe on the nose and thus has a distinctive - and, more importantly, easily identifiable and marketable - appearance. The saddles certainly look great, but the mechanics from several teams have pointed out that the red dye tends to run slightly after washing. Selle Italia is presumably looking at ways to stop this from happening.

In terms of groupset, Giant is once again outfitting the bikes with Shimano parts. T-Mobile switched from Campagnolo prior to the 2004 season and the Japanese group has remained a fixture since then. Cranks, bottom bracket, chain, front and rear derailleurs, brakes, levers and rear sprockets are all Dura-Ace, and Gerdemann has elected to complete the ensemble with Dura-Ace pedals as well.

This year, PRO has replaced Deda as the official suppliers of handlebars and stems, and will also provide the setups on T-Mobile's time trial bikes. The road version features the alloy PLT models, although it is entirely possible that the riders will use the carbon versions in races such as the Tour de France. The Shimano-owned company is also supplying ProTour stablemates Rabobank, Crédit Agricole and Française des Jeux, as well as the UCI Pro Continental teams Skil-Shimano and Agritubel.

Looking elsewhere on the bike, Elite is taking care of the water bottles and cages once again. Like many other riders, Gerdemann is using a SRM power meter in preparing for the new season. This adds slightly to the weight but that's not much of a consideration at this time of the year.

Gerdemann's Giant is equipped with a rather normal wheelset for training, which consists of Dura-Ace hubs built onto 32 hole PRO R-50 Classic rims wrapped with Continental GP4000 clinchers. As is usually the case, though, the team has race-specific wheels at the ready when the need arises.

"Once racing, we will use Shimano carbon wheels," said Vandecauter. "They have built new wheels and we have already done some testing with them; they are very good. For the Tour, we will keep the same frames. If it is good, there is no need to change it. But we may put some light components on the bike and perhaps use ceramic bearings too."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Giant TCR Advanced Team ISP
Fork: Giant formulaOne full composite, 1 1/8"
Colour: Black and white
Available sizes: XS-XL

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.82m (6'0")
Rider's weight: 70kg (154lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 500mm
Seat tube length, c-t: n/a
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 761mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 570mm
C of front wheel to top of bars: 523mm
Top tube length: 555mm (horizontal)

Cranks: SRM Training System - DuraAce compatible Standard, 172.5mm, 53/39T rings
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7801
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7800
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7800-SS
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7800
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7800
Rear sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7800, 11-23T


Rim: PRO R-50 Classic
Tyres: Continental GP4000 700x23c clincher

Bar: PRO PLT, 42cm (c-c)
Stem: PRO PLT, 12.5cm (c-c)
Headset: Integrated
Tape/grips: PRO

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Seat post: Integrated
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite TT Team Edition
Bottle cages: Elite Patao
Cycle computer: SRM
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-FC7800

Total bike weight: --