Despite decades of carefully adapted cobble-ready bikes on stage at Paris-Roubaix, Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) won this year’s edition aboard a Pinarello Dogma F – an aero bike with only his setup of tubeless tires and a second handlebar tape wrap setting it apart from the usual team setup.
Van Baarle rode Shimano’s new Dura-Ace 9200 groupset, using Continental GP5000 S TR tubeless beige wall tyres, with many riders attributing the switch to wider tubeless as completely changing the dynamics of the technology and bikes in the race.
Conversely, the day before, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) won the second Paris-Roubaix Women while driving a new Trek Domane specially designed for Roubaix. on Sunday.
Among men’s bikes, the first to catch our attention were the bikes from Trek Segafredo. Just like the women, the men’s team uses a not-yet-released Trek Domane, with some minor tweaks compared to the women.
Most notably, the men also use a 1x groupset, but with a front chainring size of 54 teeth. That’s a pretty tough gear range for the team, with the simplest gear combination probably being a 54-36 ratio. However, the large chainring will provide a straighter chainline and less chance of chain drop on the cobbled sections of the race – further aided by the K-Edge chain guide.
Of the much talked about innovations before the race, Team DSM’s tire pressure management system was undoubtedly the most exciting.
However, after their reconnaissance rides before the weekend’s race, DSM decided that they were not yet comfortable enough with the new technology to risk using them at a race as prestigious as Paris- Roubaix, explained a mechanic at the start to Cycling news.
Mohorič Merida airport without concession
Perhaps most striking was Matej Mohorič’s (Bahrain Victorious) Merida Reacto, which offered little to no concessions to the cobbled terrain.
The Reacto is a highly aero-dedicated construction and Mohorič face for a one-piece, slammed Vision Metron 5D bar with no tape on top of the handlebars.
Mohorič’s bike was otherwise identical to his normal endurance racer except for the slightly wider Continental GP5000 S TR tubeless tires, which we assume were 30mm wide.
This follows a trend of big teams opting for aero bikes rather than ones suitable for cobbled riding, as wider tubeless tires have closed the comfort gap slightly from a decade ago when 28mm was the widest tire size we would see racing.
Ineos Grenadiers have opted to race an aerodynamic Pinarello Dogma F across the team this year, with Michal Kwiatowski’s bike mirroring Van Baarle’s racing setup, including the Tubeless Continental setup.
Specialized used the race as an opportunity to introduce new tires to the Quickstep-AlphaVinyl bikes, using a new tubeless rim and tire combo that the brand currently labels simply “Project Black.”
Jumbo-Visma Cervelo Bikes
We noticed several bikes with older generation components. Jumbo-Visma’s Cervelo Caledonia bikes appeared to be more or less identical to last year’s fleet, including Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 groupsets.
In a nod to traditionalism, Jumbo sided with tan-wall cotton tube-wall Dugast tires, now made by Vittoria.
Elsewhere, EF Education-EasyPost had adapted Cannondale SuperSix bikes slightly and were one of the few teams to ride the new Shimano Dura-Ace. While some teams have expressed concern about mixing Dura-Ace 9100 cranksets with Dura-Ace 9200 groupsets, Cannondale opted for an FSA SLK crankset.
Paris-Roubaix being always an unpredictable race, we look forward to more stories to come around the unique technology used by the riders.