Last week, Cycling News had an excellent article highlighting the specifications of Andy Schleck’s Trek Madone 6.9. Trek hopes that they are able to provide Schleck with the equipment and technical support that will propel him to the top of the podium in Paris this July. Schleck is making wholesale changes in his equipment which is unusual for a cyclist. Perhaps he thought that he needed to make wholesale changes not only in his team dynamic but his equipment as well to take the next step at the Tour de France.
We all know that Trek can provide the equipment to power a General Classification contender to victory. After all, they were an innovative force behind Lance Armstrong’s record seven Tour de France victories as well as Alberto Contador’s victories in all three Grand Tours. What we don’t know is whether Trek can provide a bike that can not only survive the brutal pave’ of Northern France and Belgium but one that can give Fabian Cancellara an edge when he takes the starting line in the Spring Classics.
All do respect to Andy Schleck but Fabian Cancellara is a two time winner of Paris Roubaix, the defending champion at the Tour of Flanders and is a four-time World Time Trial Champion. With credentials like that, Cancellara should be just as big a cog in the Leopard Trek machine as Schleck (if not bigger) and I wanted to know how the move was going to affect him?
So I decided to contact Trek to see if they were rolling out anything special for Fabian Cancellara. Eric Bjorling from Trek’s Media Relations Department was kind enough to grant me an interview. I asked him if Trek was planning anything special for Fabian Cancellara? “As far as making special bikes for riders, it’s just not something we do” Bjorling said. “We’ve never made custom frame designs or sizing for Lance or any other rider we’ve worked with.”
So you’re telling me that anyone can ride the same bike the top pros ride? “It may sound like a stretch but the fact is that you could walk into a Trek retailer today and purchase the exact same bike with the exact same spec that Cancellara, the Schlecks, or Lance are riding.”
I pointed out that George Hincapie has had more than his fair share of equipment problems in the classics and Lance’s Tour was effectively ended on the cobbles last year. If I were Fabian, I would have some concerns about Trek’s ability to build a bike to win on the cobbles.
“As far as making a bike that can withstand the cobbles, our bikes have competed on cobbles for years without problems. It’s too early to say whether we’ll unveil anything new for the classics but I know we’re all looking forward to watching Cancellara light it up this year.”
How about the time trial, anything special there? “
With the TT, every company brings a different philosophy to their time trial/triathlon bike designs” Bjorling said. “The best thing we can do is work with the rider to dial in the most aerodynamic position that accommodates the bike’s design and performance. A lot of this work is done in the pre-season in the field and in the wind tunnel which we use extensively.”
With only about two and a half months until Flanders, I’m sure Cancellara will be testing his setup to make sure his bike can withstand the hell that will be unleashed on the brutal roads that Roubaix and Flanders are ridden on. I asked Eric if Trek is doing anything special to help the team. He said that as a title sponsor and official equipment supplier, Trek is fully integrated into the team and is advising the riders on a daily basis.
As far as equipment for Flanders and Roubaix, Bjorling told me “as of right now, he’ll [Cancellara] be on the Trek Madone 6.9 SSL. There may be a few modifications but we’re not ready to announce anything just yet.” So for now, we’ll have to wait and see what Trek and Fabian Cancellara have in store to combat the pave’.
April 3rd will be here before we know it…
A special thanks to Eric Bjorling from Trek Bicycles for his time and insight.