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Tour de France Tech Round-Up – The Last Of It

July 27, 2010
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Wow, nothing like waking up at the crack of dawn with nothing to watch on the tellie. Talk about going through Tour de France withdrawals! Alas, it was the day after the Tour ended and so it was back to the normal morning ritual; a tall cup-o-Peet’s, a bowl of yogurt & granola and the fine editorial page of the NYT to keep me company. I think everyone should write a quick note of thanks to the Versus Channel for both the investment and the great effort they put forward once again to bring the Tour de France into our living rooms daily.

The 2010 running of the Tour was an exceptional one to be sure. How about that winning sprint by Mark Cavendish up the Champs-Elysees in Paris – wow! So, to mark the end of the 97th running of the Tour de France, here’s my final installment of all the tech and culture that I witnessed during my annual French outing.

But First, Who Was Supposed to Win The Tour de France?
This according to the RBA survey that ran through the month of July. Did You vote?
Lance Armstrong – 19%
Fabian Cancellara – 2%
Alberto Contador – 37%
Cadel Evans – 7%
Levi Leipheimer – 2%
Tony Martin – 0%
Denis Menchov – 1%
Andy Schleck – 31%
Bradley Wiggins – 1%

The harbor in Rotterdam had a far cry different atmosphere to it than last year’s opening stage in Monaco.

Still, the city went all out to host the Tour de France and it was cool to be there to witness a quarter-final win by the Dutch team at the World Cup.

It was cool to see a mocked up road sign in the Village Depart indicating just how much further it was to Paris.

The Cofidis team rolled out a fleet of 2011 Look 695s that will be available in both standard and a super rigid versions. The bike uses their latest incarnation of the one piece, carbon Zed crank.

The resident TdF artist saw fit to celebrate Greg LeMond at stage four in Cambrai although back in 1989 Greg won his ’89 world championship title in Chamberry which was the start city for stage ten.

Once the Tour arrived in Belgium, it was all about Eddy Merckx, all the time.

Here’s the man, the myth, the legend himself – Eddy Merckx. He’s probably still a stronger rider than 90% of you reading this caption.

Garmin’s new Edge 500 is a marvel of cycling information now brought to you in an even smaller package than the previous Edge 700. Choose between silver or the Garmin team inspired blue/orange theme. www.garmin.com

With Nike’s official dissolution of their cycling shoe effort, you know you have to be pretty special to be on their short list of riders who still run the swoosh cycling shoe.

Specialized made custom S-Works shoes for a handful of athletes in the Tour. The Irish flag motif should be the best hint as to who these shoes belong to…Nicholas Roche. www.specialized.com

I remember being wowed by David Millar’s hi-boy socks from Pearlizumi last year…and this year they just got a whole lot better.

While Contador did the deed with his standard Sidi Genius 6.6 Carbon Lites, how about these jewel encrusted Sidi’s worn by Milram rider Thomas Rohregger? www.sidisport.com

Oh yeah, well even without the jewels, how about the sweet three stripes that got me through France?

Okay, there’s been no official word yet, but the biggest rumor on the street has it that you can expect (in the winter) to see some new cycling shoes from a particularly fashionable cycling brand with strong Italian roots. I’m not saying who, but it probably rhymes with Fizik.

When it wasn’t about Eddy Merckx in Belgium, it could just as easily be all about his son Axel.

The morning sign-in is THE place to be whether you’re officially with the Tour or not.

Cervelo Test Team runs with 3T stem and handlebars with a CycleOps computer.

Here’s the the steering system used by Cadel Evans: Easton handlebar & stem, Campagnolo shifters and a CycleOps computer. Stem spacers? What are they?!

Contador’s steering system revolves around a FSA handlebar, Specialized stem, Sram levers, and an SRM computer.

If you were an AG2R rider, you’d be looking down on some Deda hard parts along with an SRM computer.

Speaking of SRM, they and google teamed up with had a handful of riders who were racing with these computer packs that sent all of the individual riders’ power info to a satellite that could be downloaded by the public.

The Orbea TT bikes were running their Shimano Di2 battery packs on the chainstays.

This was another rental car that Chris and I missed out on.

Speaking of Chris, here we are enjoying another fine gourmet dinner as we plot the following day’s route in the TdF road book – frittes & beer – after we got back to hotel after the kitchen was closed.

And this is it – The Book – we’d be lost without it as it shows all the shortcuts, team hotels, petrol stops and virtually everything else you need to know to follow the Tour. And no, it is not available to the public. 

And when the RadioShack driver isn’t studying the road book, he’s of course reading the latest issue of Road Bike Action.

However, making up for the lousy dinner was the various provincial tidbits we could scrounge the next day at the Village Depart. The free food is one of the key reasons so many people (especially the free-loading journos) flock to the Village each morning.

This guy did good in this year’s race. The fine folks from Look would also want you to know that he was among many riders who used their new KeO Blade Ti  pedal with a carbon spring. The others?

The Green Points Jersey ( Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre-Farnese Vini), Most Combative Rider (Sylvan Chavanel of Quick Step), and the Best Team Classification (Team RadioShack).
The KeO Blade Ti pedals amassed an impressive seven stage wins.
July 4, Stage 1: Rotterdam – Brussels 223.5km – Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre)
July 5, Stage 2: Brussels – Spa 201km – Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step)
July 7, Stage 4: Cambrai – Reims 153.5km – Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre)
July 10, Stage 7: Tournus – Station des Rousses 165.5km – Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step)
July 14, Stage 10: Chambery – Gap 179km – Sergio Paulinho (RadioShack)
July 16, Stage 12: Bourg-de-Peage – Mende 210.5km – Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)
July 17, Stage 13: Rodez – Revel 196km – Alexander Vinokourov (Astana)

The innovative, linear spring rate carbon blade design of the Look Keo  replaces the traditional spring and provides enhanced cleat engagement for increased security and performance. The INOX stainless steel plate on he KeO Blade offers a contact surface area which is 31% larger overall and 17% wider than the LOO KO carbon, providing increased comfort and power transmission. Look Cycle has been the leader in clipless pedal technology and innovation for over 25 years. For more info about LOOK innovations please visit us at: www.lookcycle.com.

As for our friends back in Indiana…they would like you to know that…
The athletes of Astana, Cerv‚lo TestTeam, and Team Saxo Bank used Zipp’s full range of the world’s fastest carbon wheels to tally 6 stage wins, 17 days in the yellow jersey, 11 days in the green jersey, and 13 days as the Best Young Rider. www.zipp.com

Giro has announced a new collection of helmets bearing custom graphics developed to celebrate Armstrong
and his place in cycling history. The Lance Armstrong Collection is based on Giro’s composite-reinforced Ionos
helmet and will sell for $235 each.

Clad in Giro helmets for all of his record-setting seven Tour victories, Armstrong has spent 83 days in yellow and
has 19 stage wins to his credit. Armstrong has been racing the 2010 Tour de France in a helmet from the Lance Armstrong Collection that features a graphic design created by Giro’s in-house design team and has large, block numbers that represent every year Armstrong won the Tour and incorporates his signature into the colorful, artistic design. The second model features the red-and-gray colors of Armstrong’s RadioShack kit with his name in block letters. www.giro.com

This edition of Tour de France tech was aided & abetted by a late night session with The Monkey Man.

And in case you missed any of the previous tech posts, all you need to do is head over to our Tour de France Tech gallery.


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