RIDE at the Tour: Day Zero
The RIDE crew is in France for the last week of the Tour de France. We’ve teamed up with Ronan Pensec Travel to follow the race route from Martigny to Paris and will be posting our progress in regular updates.
Time has provided a pair of beautiful VRS Vibraser bikes complete with SRAM Red, Time Hi-Tense wheels and Time components for the trip.
Monday was the last of two rest days before the peloton’s assault on the daunting final week. For us, it was a chance to fine tune the bikes and stretch some jet-lagged legs on a short ride to the modest Col de la Forclaz at 870m.
Lyon airport is the closest to Albertville where we will be based for the first portion of the week. The stages chart a course around the former host of the Winter Olympics to the final time trial in Annecy.
An assortment of 50 Look bikes were arranged by Pensec Tours for the eager cyclists who have signed up for the last week of the Tour de France. Every model from the plush 566 to the ProTour stalwart 595 was on show.
Albertville is nestled into the foothills of the edge of the Alps. The small town will host the first four nights of the Ronan Pensec tour.
A brief morning ride was in order. Coming from winter in Australia the sunshine and temperature were almost as enjoyable as the valley road.
The small Forclaz climb averages around 10 per cent but the latter stages are more relaxed.
There is only one hairpin so the steady ascent is good to train on. At the top it’s worth pausing to appreciate the view.
The Time VRS Vibraser frame isn’t available in Australia but it’s essentially a World Star with some extra material included to absorb more road noise than the VXRS and RXR. First impressions are of a tremendously comfortable bike that doesn’t sacrifice any stiffness either. The Hi-Tense wheels have featured in Paraphernalia but this is the first opportunity we’ve had to ride Time’s new wheelset. The wheels compete with Campagnolo’s Shamal and Mavic’s Ksyrium SL Premium and compare favourably. The SRAM Red 50/34 cranksets are the right match for an 11-25 cassette in this terrain.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our travels in France as we ride to Bourg-Saint-Maurice for the finish of the 16th stage.
RIDE would like to thank the Australian distributor of Time, Velo Vita/TMO Sports, for arranging a pair of superb bikes for our trip. Visit velovita.net.au for information on the range of Time frames, pedals and parts available in Australia.