Ingezonden

BMC’s new GranFondo GF01 made its debut at Paris-Roubaix but it couldn’t help Alessandro Ballan improve on his third place at the Tour of Flanders (James Huang/Future Publishing )

Mother Nature constantly threatened rain at
this year’s Paris-Roubaix but the windy – but mostly dry – conditions
kept both the riders and bikes relatively clean and definitely mud-free
at the end of the day. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won his
fourth title aboard Specialized’s new S-Works Roubaix, Europcar captain
Sebastien Turgot sprinted for second on a Colnago Cross Prestige, and Alessandro
Ballan (BMC) came in third after starting in Compiègne on his
brand-new BMC GranFondo GF01.

Turgot – all of Europcar, in fact – and Rabobank’s Lars Boom
were the only riders we noticed at Paris-Roubaix on ‘cross bikes in contrast to
some other years where the machines were frequently a little more radical.
Obviously there was no reason for shouldering here – the main goal was tire
clearance.

Europcar riders used Colnago’s Cross Prestige chassis for Paris-Roubaix

The hot setup looked to be 27mm-wide Paris-Roubaix tubulars,
used by Boonen, Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky), and countless others. Boom’s Giant
TCX Advanced SL ‘cross bike, however, allowed for even bigger 30mm FMBs inflated
to just 60psi or so.

Otherwise, most of the key teams and riders rode bikes that
are virtually tailor-made for such conditions stock or after only just a few
modifications. Sky went with Pinarello Dogma Ks, Garmin-Barracuda on the very
well proven modified Cervélo R3, Lotto-Belisol on Ridley Heliums with different
forks, and Argos-Shimano on tweaked Felt F1s.

One notable exception was Liquigas-Cannondale’s disc
brake-equipped Cannondale SuperX ‘cross bike. It seems this was mostly just for
show, though, as it wasn’t really equipped for Paris-Roubaix with its Mavic
C29ssmax mountain bike wheelset, 23mm-wide clincher tires, and standard 53/39T
gearing. Nonetheless, if the point was to draw a crowd, it worked – there were
definitely lots of people checking it out.

Liquigas-Cannondale had this disc-equipped Cannondale SuperX mounted atop the team car but it seemed like more of a publicity stunt than a proper spare bike for Paris-Roubaix. Don’t forget that the UCI has apparently already banned the technology for the 2012 road season

Take a look at our image gallery for a closer look at most of the remaining bikes at Paris-Roubaix that we didn’t cover yesterday. We’re not done yet though – there’s still plenty more to come tomorrow.

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