Van der Poel obtaining fitted for his yellow skinsuit forward of the Tour’s stage 5 ITT (Image: Alpecin-Fenix)
The initially time demo of the 108th Tour de France is almost upon us, and Alpecin-Fenix is undertaking every thing it can to preserve Mathieu van der Poel in yellow just that small bit more time. In accordance to a report from Het Nieuwsblad, element of that prepare involved a 900 km generate from Andorra to Rennes, to provide some more quickly time trial wheels for the race leader.
Van der Poel is seemingly a all-natural dominator in lots of sorts of cycling, but the time trial is not however 1 of them. He’s only completed 9 individual time trials in his short expert road occupation, and when his most effective consequence was a fifth at past year’s BinckBank Tour, he’s even now largely unproven in opposition to the clock. In advance is the longest time trial (27.2 km) he’s ever faced. Term is he does not have a time demo bike at house to educate with. And he’s in no way been examined in a wind tunnel.
Meanwhile, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) sits just 8 seconds behind Van der Poel, second overall on GC. The French all-rounder’s prowess towards the clock is much greater recognised than Van der Poel’s. After all, who could forget about the time trial Alaphilippe gained in yellow at the 2019 Tour? Powering him, other potent time trialists like Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma, +:31) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe, +:38) also lie in wait.
If Van der Poel can maintain onto the yellow jersey past phase 5, then he’ll possible do so until the peloton reaches the Alps on stage 8. And Alpecin-Fenix’s crew supervisor, Christoph Roodhooft is plainly eager to make that happen.
The tale goes that Meindert Klem, a consultant of Princeton CarbonWorks, satisfied Roodhooft on a bike experience a year ago. According to Klem, after Van der Poel grabbed yellow, and after obtaining authorization from sponsor Shimano, Roodhooft attained out about acquiring some speedier wheels for the phase 5 time trial.
“I obtained a unexpected call from Christoph on Monday morning inquiring if a established of Princeton Blur 6560 was accessible,” explained previous Olympic rower Klem in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad. “Canyon wished Mathieu to be the classification leader even right after the time trial.”
That quoted Blur 6560 wheelset does not exist, and so it is assumed that Roodhooft sought a mixture of the 60 mm deep Wake 6560 for the front and a Blur 633 Disc for the rear. The two wheels are tubeless or tubed clincher only, and so it’s likely they’ll be shod with Vittoria Corsa Velocity tyres.
The problem was that the Blur wheel is only produced in extremely constrained quantities in the United States, and you can bet that availability inside Europe is bordering on zero. The most basic route would have been to borrow a pair from Ineos Grenadiers, but of class, the British squad has its own agenda and assisting a competitor with a technological edge they’ve invested in isn’t possible to happen. And then there’s the actuality Van der Poel would probably want a disc-brake version of the wheels, and we know Ineos would not have that in their vans.
In the close, Klem found an unused pair with Ineos Grenadiers rider Cameron Wurf and recruited a buddy (and evident admirer of biking) to make the 10-hour generate from Wurf’s location in Andorra to hand-provide the wheels to Alpecin-Fenix in Rennes.
“I’m outrageous about cycling, and what Mathieu has completed in the earlier couple times borders on the unbelievable,” claimed Mark Putter, proprietor of the Pyrenees-based mostly hotel Les Deux Vélos. “If I can lend that boy a hand by providing the fastest wheels, I assume which is a excellent occupation. It would be wonderful if he straight away keeps the yellow jersey with a next lead. Then it could be for the reason that of all those wheels.”
It’s unknown specifically how significantly time a pair of Princeton wheels will help save around the pretty flat 27.2 km study course, but it’s evidently plenty of of an gain for both equally Ineos Grenadiers and Alpecin-Fenix to use a little something other than what workforce sponsors give.