The 900 km drive to ship sooner time trial wheels to Mathieu van der Poel

The 900 km drive to deliver faster time trial wheels to Mathieu van der Poel

Van der Poel getting fitted for his yellow skinsuit forward of the Tour’s stage 5 ITT (Picture: Alpecin-Fenix)

The primary time trial of the 108th Tour de France is almost upon us, and Alpecin-Fenix is doing all the things it may well to maintain Mathieu van der Poel in yellow simply that little bit longer. In line with a report from Het Nieuwsblad, a part of that plan concerned a 900 km drive from Andorra to Rennes, to ship some sooner time trial wheels for the race chief.

Van der Poel is seemingly a pure dominator in lots of types of biking, however the time trial just isn’t but one in every of them. He’s solely executed 9 particular person time trials in his quick skilled street profession, and whereas his greatest end result was a fifth ultimately yr’s BinckBank Tour, he’s nonetheless largely unproven towards the clock. Forward is the longest time trial (27.2 km) he’s ever confronted. Phrase is he doesn’t have a time trial bike at house to coach with. And he’s by no means been examined in a wind tunnel.

In the meantime, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) sits simply eight seconds behind Van der Poel, second total on GC. The French all-rounder’s prowess towards the clock is much better identified than Van der Poel’s. In any case, who may overlook the time trial Alaphilippe won in yellow at the 2019 Tour? Behind him, different robust time trialists like Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma, +0:31) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe, +0:38) additionally lie in wait.

If Van der Poel can maintain onto the yellow jersey previous stage 5, then he’ll doubtless achieve this till the peloton reaches the Alps on stage 8. And Alpecin-Fenix’s workforce supervisor, Christoph Roodhooft is clearly eager to make that occur. 

The story goes that Meindert Klem, a consultant of Princeton CarbonWorks, met Roodhooft on a motorcycle experience a yr in the past. In line with Klem, after Van der Poel grabbed yellow, and after receiving permission from sponsor Shimano, Roodhooft reached out about getting some sooner wheels for the stage 5 time trial. 

“I acquired a sudden name from Christoph on Monday morning asking if a set of Princeton Blur 6560 was obtainable,” mentioned former Olympic rower Klem in an interview with Het Nieuwsblad. “Canyon wished Mathieu to be the classification chief even after the time trial.” 

That quoted Blur 6560 wheelset doesn’t exist, and so it’s assumed that Roodhooft sought a mix of the 60 mm deep Wake 6560 for the entrance and a Blur 633 Disc for the rear. Each wheels are tubeless or tubed clincher solely, and so it’s doubtless they’ll be shod with Vittoria Corsa Velocity tyres.

Van der Poel is predicted to be rolling on the 2 wheels pictured on the left.

The issue was that the Blur wheel is just produced in extraordinarily restricted portions inside america, and you’ll wager that availability inside Europe is bordering on zero. The only path would have been to borrow a pair from Ineos Grenadiers, however in fact, the British squad has its personal agenda and helping a competitor with a technical benefit they’ve invested in isn’t more likely to occur. After which there’s the actual fact Van der Poel would doubtless want a disc-brake model of the wheels, and we all know Ineos wouldn’t have that of their vehicles.

In the long run, Klem positioned an unused pair with Ineos Grenadiers rider Cameron Wurf and recruited a good friend (and apparent fan of biking) to make the 10-hour drive from Wurf’s place in Andorra to hand-deliver the wheels to Alpecin-Fenix in Rennes. 

“I’m loopy about biking, and what Mathieu has executed previously few days borders on the unbelievable,” mentioned Mark Putter, proprietor of the Pyrenees-based lodge Les Deux Vélos. “If I can lend that boy a hand by delivering the quickest wheels, I feel that’s an important job. It will be fantastic if he instantly retains the yellow jersey with a second lead. Then it might be due to these wheels.”

It’s unknown precisely how a lot time a pair of Princeton wheels will save over the pretty flat 27.2 km course, however it’s clearly sufficient of a bonus for each Ineos Grenadiers and Alpecin-Fenix to make use of one thing apart from what workforce sponsors present.

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