Put some pavé on the itinerary and watch the teams’ equipment trucks grow. The fourth stage of the 2015 Tour de France featured seven sectors of cobbles and the bike suppliers got a chance to show off a whole different range of products. Jack Lynch offers a overview of some of the varying tech for the race to Cambrai…
Ready for the rough stuff…
– By Jack Lynch
“It’s a bike. I just ride it,” shrugged Nathan Haas when RIDE asked him if he was pleased about his new SuperSix Evo on the eve of the Tour de France. A glimpse at the teams’ bikes for stage four shows that most riders and all team officials do not share Haas’ blasé attitude towards the equipment.
Many racers will start the fourth stage of this already barbaric Tour battered and bruised and with minds clouded by physical injury. How they can mount their bikes and face seven sectors of dreaded pavé is a mystery to most civilians. Michael Matthews said that his goal is to, “make the time cut and fight again tomorrow,” which is a common sentiment across the peloton. Yes, many harbour ambitions to either steal some seconds on their rivals in the GC, some are genuine contenders for stage honours, and others are riding with the sole purpose of making either of these things happen for a team-mate or two.
Whether chasing small or large victories, the bikes look different today. They have fatter tyres and alloy bidon cages, some have irregular chainring configurations or thicker bar tape. Many riders will perform a tactical bike change to cope with the bumpy parcours.
Regardless of what a rider thinks about his bike, today’s selection could be the difference between winning or losing, starting and finishing.