Thursday, January 20, 2022
HomeDiariesWorld Road Championships 2012 - Day Four, Time Trial Bikes

World Road Championships 2012 – Day Four, Time Trial Bikes


We’re going to look at the Time Trial Bikes at these Worlds. Did I say that having the camper van here meant that I didn’t have to walk to the press room?

Cancel that – I’d forgotten that the protocol is once you hook the van up to the electrics, you’re here for the duration. Kris has his electric bike – I have my shoes…

A three kilometre walk through the back roads of Limburg to the press room and back is good for the soul – I suppose.

Yesterday was ladies’ TT day, juniors in the morning with elites in the afternoon.

I didn’t attend either; I had other work to do – a piece on the MTN Qhubeka team and one on time trial bikes.

MTN Qhubeka are ‘out of Africa’ with MTN a big telecoms company; ‘the African Movistar’ says Doug Ryder, the head man, with a presence in 21 African countries.

Time Trial Bikes
MTN Qhubeka’s main man, Douglas Ryder.

Whilst Qhubeka is a foundation to provide bikes for African kids so as they don’t have long, dangerous walks to school (I can identify with that) and may eventually get fully into cycling and even race.

Whilst the team can’t afford the luxury coaches of the big guns they look the part and ride top spec Treks – Speed Concepts for the time trials.

Time Trial Bikes
Van Rensburg’s MTN Qhubeka team bike.

TT bikes don’t come much better than the Speed Concept, in my opinion.

MTN rode to 23rd in the TTT, which wasn’t a bad ride.

Said their DS Jens Zemke, ex of Cervelo Test Team, where he worked with Dan Fleeman.

We took our preparations very seriously. We focused on core stability training, aero testing, positioning, doing recons of the circuit, pace strategy and equipment tests.

“With our good base of training and doing some races in between, it was possible to be close to some of the Tour de France teams. (They actually beat Lampre and Saur Sojasun – who both rode le Tour.)

“Our boys did a fantastic job and the staff also worked hard and concentrated to get every percentage out of this young and inexperienced team.”

To emphasise the team’s modern approach, the team coach is female, Dr. Carol Austin, who said that the event was one of the team’s key goals for the season.

“In early September Uli Schoberer (SRM Training Systems) performed an aerodynamics camp for us at the Buttgen Velodrome.

“The athletes’ bike setups were fine tuned with average power savings of around 12 watts’ – which just goes to show how much difference good positioning on the bike can make.”

The team has just been confirmed as Pro Continental for next year which means all the financial guarantees must be in place. After the Pegasus debacle the UCI are hot on that aspect. They’ve recruited Gerald Ciolek from QuickStep and Ignatas Konovalovas from Movistar, both ex-Grand Tour stage winners.

But they’ve lost their star rider, Janse Van Rensburg to Argos Shimano.

Van Rensburg has been one of the stars in Division 2 racing in 2012 with three stage wins and the GC in the Tour du Maroc; a stage win and the GC in the Tour de Bretagne; a stage and the GC in Ronde van Overijssel and a stunning victory over the likes of Lars Boom, Mark Renshaw and Kenny Van Hummel in the UCI 1.1 Ronde van Zeeland Seaports.

Time Trial Bikes
Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg warms up.

Now, onto the bikes

We also took a look at the time trial bikes which were in action in the TTT and will be in action again today.

Bike design has moved so fast that what was cool and current just a few years ago now looks dated.

Front runners in the Star Wars stakes are Trek, BMC, Pinarello, Scott and Felt.

Conventional steerer set ups brand a bike as ‘past it.’

Look’s ‘external’ steerer set up has taken over and the stem/bars have to merge sweetly into the top tube to keep that all important air flow sweet.

Time Trial Bikes
Willier retain their twin tube idea.

Wind tunnels must all tell the same stories – that’s why most cars all look the same – but despite this, not all bike manufacturers go down the same road.

The most noticeable difference for us is at the fork crowns – last winter in Berlin we spotted that Roger Kluge had a “butcher’s bike” fork crown on his Felt track bike.