A hot and dusty day of carnage on the cobbles left one winner and many losers in the GC battle for the 2022 Tour de France. But as we mentioned in our Roubaix stage tech preview, the mechanics are often left with the roughest end of the stick before a visit to the fabled pavé.
As predicted, though, many mechanics had a
slightly easier day than previous visits to the Department du Nord. As the ‘everyday’ team bikes become more versatile, fewer adaptions are needed for the occasional trip over the rough stuff of Northern France. Furthermore, with a comparatively short 19 km of paved today – as compared to the 50 km of Paris-Roubaix – a less exciting tech day was destined to be on the cards.
Apart from tire changes and the odd double wrap bar tape, for most riders, it was a case of ‘as you were’ on the tech front. Still, though, we spotted some interesting tech choices in the start village. Here’s a few highlights.
Tire selection and tire pressure are critical when racing across the pave. This team B&B Hotels mechanic was dropping the pressure to around 3.3 bar (~48 PSI).
Continental’s GP 5000 S TR 30mm tubeless tires were popular throughout the peloton today, even with teams not sponsored by Continental, as shown by this blacked-out logo.
Movistar is a Continental-supported squad and chose to race on 28mm Competition ProLtd tubulars.
Movistar saved the tubeless GP 5000 for the spare bikes on the roof of the car.
Every Specialized-equipped team rolled out on these grippy looking, unannounced 32 mm S-Works tires. These tires are from Peter Sagan’s bike, and were pumped to 5 bar / 72 PSI.
The new tire features a slick central tread and this grippy looking tread on the sides.
700×32 mm – that’s a nice width for rolling over the pave.
Most riders and teams opted for 30 mm tires, though, with the Vittoria Corsa Control proving exceptionally popular up and down the paddock.
This front wheel is from Mathieu van der Poel’s Canyon Aeroad, but Jumbo-Visma and other teams rolled out on the same tire – an interesting choice given the team relied on tubulars for Paris-Roubaix.
Still, some riders and teams stuck to the tried and tested tubular route. Mads Pedersen was one of two riders at Trek-Segafredo riding with Pirelli tubulars. Meanwhile, all the Lotto-Soudal team bikes were equipped with glued-on tires.
The other riders on Trek-Segafredo opted for 30mm Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR tires.
Cofidis opted for these exceptionally large looking tubulars from Michelin.
The tires look about 32 mm wide, but the only markings that resemble a tire size is this 23 on the hot patch. These are most certainly not 23 mm tires – presumably that’s a typo.
While most teams stuck with the same frame they had used for the four stages so far, Movistar didn’t just switch Enric Mas (and a few others) over to the Aeroad, but judging by the external cable routing also opted for last year’s pre -cockpit-fix bikes.
While not a double wrap of tape, I had to grab a picture of this tape wrapped all the way to the stem on another Team Movistar Canyon Aeroad. The cobbles are extremely rough and a bare carbon finish can be extremely tough on the hands – as such, it makes sense the mechanics wanted to offer some padding and grip where the riders most often hold the bars over the long pave sectors.
Peter Sagan and his Team TotalEnerges squad also changed bikes entirely, with their Tarmac SL7s enjoying an extra rest day as the team raced on the S-Works Roubaix.
Sagan, as he often does, opted for a mechanical Dura-Ace groupset to tackle the rough pave.
Still looks as good as the day it was new, but this is in fact an extinction groupset.
These, folks, are external cables housing steel mechanical shift cables.
Technically speaking Team DSM had a full bike swap, switching from the new Foil to the Addict frame. I say ‘technically speaking’ because this one is far from a Roubaix special given how the team was using the Addict for almost every race until the new Foil broke cover last week.
MVDP now has an MVDP Selle Italia Flite saddle.
Van der Poel’s nurtition strategy for stage five.
Canyon has added these seat post wraps to alleviate the seat post wear issues Aeroad riders experienced.
Team Arkea Samsic was also running these new headset caps which a team mechanic explained was to provide “extra strength” over the rough cobbles. Interestingly, there were none for the Alpecin-Deceuninck team.
No motors here, but note the Elite Ciussi cages for improved bottle retention.
We had expected Trek to roll out the new Domane RSL, but the team unanimously opted to stick with the new Madone.
The Domane did make an appearance on the roof of the support vehicles.
The Domanes seemed to be in full Roubaix spec with 1x chainrings and chain guides…
… while the Madones the team raced on featured 2x and a front derailleur up front. The elastic band on the top of the derailleur is to be doubly sure of no unexpected battery ejection over the rough cobbles.
Van Baarle won Roubaix with double wrap bar tape and opted not to change a winning formula. Unforunately for Van Baarle, the forumla was not so successful over the cobbles today.
Almost every team, bar UAE, had thru-axle tools mounted front and rear giving riders the option to remove wheels before the team car even gets to them or take a spare wheel from a team helper along the course.
Bora-Hansgrohe riders opted for a mix of Tarmac SL7…
And S-Works Roubaix frames.
However, it was the array of handlebars which was perhaps more interesting. From Roval Rapids…
… to Pro Vibe carbon aero bars…
… to Pro Vibe alloy classic round bars.
Many of the Team BikeExchange-Jayco riders switched from the new Giant Propel to the TCR Advanced SL. Regardless of the frame, all the BEX riders opted for 30mm tires and while clearance appeared a little closer on the Propel, clearance was unlikely to ever be an issue on such a dry day.
Primož Roglič raced with a Cervelo Caledonia 5 with Dura-Ace C50 wheels and again Vittoria’s 30mm Corsa Control tubeless tires.
Sepp Kuss, meanwhile, got Cervelo’s lower spec Cervelo Caledonia (no 5) model. Even so, it was arguably the prettiest bike in the paddock today.
Interestingly, we spotted stage winner Simon Clarke opts to race with just one bottle cage. Clarke explained he has raced with only one bottle for a few years since having to make the switch to disc brakes. He explained the disc brakes added weight to his bike and removed a bottle sheds some of the excess grams. Check out a forthcoming episode of the Nerd Alert podcast for Clarke’s full explanation.