Tour Tech: All Things Yellow And Beyond From Pit Row

July 5, 2009
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Monaco Sees Yellow

Giro’s New TT Lid
“Based on extensive wind tunnel and ride testing, we can report that the new Giro TT helmet that will debuted on Giro riders in Monaco is the fastest TT helmet in the world. The helmet is considerably faster than any other helmet in zero degree yaw situations, and remarkably faster in 5, 10, and 15-degree yaw situations. The helmet represents a paradigm shift in aerodynamic helmet technology.

Watch the Giro video clip.

SRAM Yellow/Red

When we ran into SRAM’s chief PR honch Mike Zellman yesterday, he of course wanted to talk about the most pressing topic of the day….his recent performance at the Illinois state crit championships where he tooled all the Masters for a commanding win. (And to help him celebrate, later that night I had a ‘Illinois’ pie at the local pizzeria (ham, artichoke, & capers and just like MZ, it was full of taste!)

Beyond his own tale of victory, MZ also had a bag of tricks with him that included a new SRAM drivetrain dubbed SRAM Yellow/Red. Basically, the new parts are standard Red pieces, but that now run special Tour de France yellow graphics. The design/marketing ploy is of course two-fold: a just in case set of yellow parts for Tex to use on any one of the four (differently designed) Livestrong Trek Madone’s he has with him for the race, or to run on any of the other team bikes that SRAM sponsors in case they happen to be in yellow…yes, people from Illinois can be that crafty!!!

Among the Yellow/Red parts that Lance will use that are special, for the TT today he’ll be using some proto SRAM R2C bullet shifters mounted on his Zipp Vuka TT extensions ? a first for Lance to be off his usual full Bontrager developed TT bar assembly. Zellman also showed off a new black and white graphic kit that is to be used by Contador.

The one thing that MZ did show that was of a truly exotic quality was the Sram Black Box TT chainring which was milled on on the inside surface to shave off 25 grams (165-140 grams). Mike made the case that with the UCI weight limits what they are, there is still some flexibility among most current bikes to shave some weight and with the Monaco TT course in mind (that has a fair bit of climbing) the 25-grams was an easy place to start. The Black Box name got it’s start with mountain bike suspension company Rock Shox back in the mid-90’s and following SRAM’s purchase of them, the name and mission ? to build and develop cutting edge racing parts for the ‘elite of the elite’ riders that they sponsor ? has carried on. Before he ran off to accost the next unsuspecting journo, Michael did add, ‘There might still be one more special thing that we’ll have for the race.’

New Pearl Duds

In addition to the world of TT inspired aero designs infiltrating the road bike market, apparently the same can now be said about cycling clothing. Pearl Izumi’s Cache Mundy shows off the newest item in the clothing maker’s elite level line of gear….a road jersey that now incorporates many design and fabric features that originated with their TT skin suits. Cache said it’s fast ad will be available sometime within the year sans team graphic.

Besides the soft goods, Pearl has also been putting a lot of continued effort into the performance shoe line. The new Octane (l) utilizes their latest ‘1:1′ design features which include a full carbon sole from toe to heel with concave shaping and a low 7-millimeter stack height. Redesigned straps and heel cup are also new on the claimed 205g shoe. The Pro model uses a strap and buckle combo for closure and will have a less expensive price to it.
Which One Is Belushi?

The ProLogo guys were showing-off these very cool custom saddles for the Schleck brothers.

Chasing Legends:

While hanging in the press room I ran into an old friend from my mountain bike days, Ken Bell who is part of the Gripped Films collective. Last time we met he was working on film following the exploits of 24 hour solo world champ Chris Eatough. Now he and his co-worker Jason are on the road filming a documentary around the Columbia/HTC Highroad team and the 2009 Tour. You can check out a short clip at Gripped Films.

Here’s the pit row photo gallery…


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