Team training camps and launches help to build the excitement ahead of race season, but nothing can excite classics fans quite like a Roubaix recon.
AG2R is a new-look team for 2021. With a refocus on the classics, new bikes,
new sponsors and a raft of new signings signal the long-standing French team’s intentions.
Two of these new signings, Greg Van Avermaet and Gijs Van Hoecke, joined Oliver Naesen for a Paris-Roubaix recon on Thursday. The three riders rode 87km of the “Hell of the North” testing the team’s new equipment and specifically the tire and wheel setups.
With last year’s Roubaix postponed to October before eventually being cancelled and with no wet Roubaix since 2001, these images of the riders charging over the wet and cold cobbles has really got us excited for the months ahead.
Gijs Van Hoecke, Oliver Naesen, and Greg Van Avermaet rode 87km including nine cobbled sectors. The riders tackled sectors including Mons en Pévèle, Pont Thibaut, Cysoing, Camphin, Carrefour de l’Arbre, and Grusson et Hem Perhaps the only chance of getting that long-awaited wet Paris-Roubaix is to move the race to January Gijs Van Hoecke’s BMC Teammachine SLR01 kitted out with Campagnolo Super Record 12 speed EPS and Bora One 50mm wheels. Wattage measurement courtesy of Power2Max and a saddle from Fizik. Interestingly the riders are riding Campag’s Bora One tubular 50mm wheels rather than the top of the range Bora Ultra While it is difficult to see for sure, it appears Van Avermaet is testing the Bora WTO 45 with Pirelli P-Zero TLR Greg Van Avermaet won Paris-Roubaix on a BMC, can he repeat the feat this season? 4.1bar/59psi, that is low! Did they keep pumping? While we have had wet Roubaix sectors in the Tour de France, no one in the current World Tour peloton has raced a wet Paris-Roubaix. Oliver Naesen testing the Bora WTO 60 wheelset which can be setup tubeless While Van Avermaet took the opportunity to familiarise himself with the grip and limits of Pirelli tires. The importance of optimised tire pressure is well known, but rarely is exact tire pressure as important as on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. Riders like Van Avermaet will have detailed records of tire pressures and conditions from past editions of the race and recon rides like these. Training camps in warm climates can build form, but recon days on actual classic routes offer a chance to really test equipment. Pirelli where on hand as the recon was specifically testing tire and wheel setups Despite the conditions, the riders looked happy with the day’s work. Tubeless setups have graced the Roubaix cobbles previously but after Alexander Kristoff’s nightmare in 2019 many riders might be wary of the technology. Recon rides like these give the riders a chance to get to know their new equipment in race-like conditions. Enough is enough, home time! Riders tested various wheel and tire setups, both tubeless and tubular No mention of drivetrain lubrication testing, this chain gives a glimpse into the challenges of a wet Roubaix on Equipment If only the camera was focused on the laptop screen we might know what has caught everyones attention.