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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Pro bikes, May 13, 2009

Lance Armstrong's Astana Trek Madone

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Photo ©: James Huang

Another custom finish for Armstrong

By James Huang

Bontrager carbon-specific cork brake blocks are fitted
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Even the rims are treated to match…
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This small detail perhaps provides a little more of a clue as to Armstrong's intentions this season:
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The SRAM Red crankset is slightly tweaked
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Armstrong's familiar Selle San Marco Concor Lite saddle
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Custom painted bikes have become the norm for Lance Armstrong (Astana) as he makes his return to professional cycling this year and his latest Trek Madone is quite possibly his most ornate to date.

To commemorate Armstrong's first appearance at the Giro, contemporary artist Shepard Fairey - the man behind the famous Barack Obama 'Hope' poster - designed an intricate pattern that is said to pay homage to classic Italian architecture. The graphics aren't hand painted but are rather die-cut decals carefully applied over a solid yellow base coat at Trek's in-house paint facility.

Whether or not the design appeals to you, the finish work is absolutely superb. In spite of the frame's complex curves and limited real estate, one has to look incredibly hard to locate any seams whatsoever - no coffee in the workshop that day.

The Italian job

What do you think of Lance's latest paint job? Vote in the Cyclingnews forum.

In addition to Armstrong's usual 'Livestrong' and '1274' graphics, one other bit caught our eye. Tucked beneath the down tube near the bottom bracket in letters just a few millimeters high was the phrase 'WNW 2009' as in, 'winners, not wankers, 2009' - a possible nod towards Armstrong's work in cancer research and awareness in support of the afflicted but more likely a sign of his sporting intentions for the year.

Aside from the fancy visual treatment, the rest of the bike is rather standard fare for an Astana team bike. Bolted up is a complete SRAM Red group with 53/39T chainrings, an 11-23T cassette, and a few minor tweaks: gold-anodized alloy chainring bolts are fitted to the crank, Bontrager carbon-specific cork pads are fitted to the brake calipers, a stiffer Force steel cage is spliced on to the Red front derailleur, and a Shimano Dura-Ace 7801 chain stands in for the usual PC-1090 unit.

The Bontrager name is also liberally applied throughout the rest of the build from the finished-to-match Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 carbon tubular wheels (wrapped with Hutchinson tubulars) and Race XXX Lite carbon stem to the Race XXX Lite carbon bar with the variable radius bend that Armstrong himself supposedly prodded Trek to develop. Pedals are Armstrong's usual Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810 model.

Trek also provides the Bontrager Race XXX Lite bottle cages and Incite 9i wireless computer and the whole thing is topped with Armstrong's trademark Selle San Marco Concor Lite saddle. Total weight as pictured is 7.26kg (16.01lb).

Armstrong has yet to show his hand in this year's Giro and a recent collarbone break calls into question just how prepared he is at the moment. He certainly looks fit at the moment, though, and the public is certainly aware of the Texan's disdain for losing. We predict a high finish for sure - possibly even a support role for teammate Levi Leipheimer.

If nothing else, the Giro will provide good final preparation for the Tour de France though don't bother looking for this particular machine on the road come July as Armstrong is certain to have yet another special machine ready to go by then.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: Trek Madone OCLV Red Series, 58cm
Fork: Bontrager Race X Lite E2

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 177 cm (5' 10") ; Weight: 73kg (161lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 500mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 520mm
Saddle setback: 75mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 753mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 580mm
Handlebar drop: 80mm
Head tube length: 160mm
Top tube length: 572mm

Front brake: SRAM Red w/ Bontrager carbon pads
Rear brake: SRAM Red w/ Bontrager carbon pads
Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
Front derailleur: SRAM Red w/ Force steel cage
Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
Cassette: SRAM OG-1090, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7801
Crankset: SRAM Red, 175mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: Trek Madone integrated

Wheelset: Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 tubular
Front tyre: Hutchinson tubular
Rear tyre: Hutchinson tubular

Bars: Bontrager Race XXX Lite, 44cm (c-c)
Stem: Bontrager Race XXX Lite, 120mm x -7º
Headset: Cane Creek E2
Tape/grip: Bontrager Race Lite Grippy tape

Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Seat post: Trek Madone integrated, 20mm setback
Saddle: Selle San Marco Concor Lite
Bottle cages: Bontrager Race XXX Lite
Computer: Trek Incite 9i
Other accessories: SRAM Professional System by Gore cables

Total bike weight: 7.26kg (16.01lb)