The eagerly anticipated, long-awaited first Paris-Roubaix Femmes is nearly upon us. Saturday will see the women’s peloton race on the fabled cobbles of the Hell of the North.
Ahead of Saturday’s race, we joined Trek-Segafredo for a mid-week recon ride. The team set off from Orchies to check out the cobbles, roads, and winds of northern France.
Unsurprisingly, the Trek squad will race Paris Roubaix on the Trek Domane endurance bike favoured by Trek teams for the northern classics. However, the women’s squad will race on Prismatic Pearl Domanes from Trek’s Project One program.
Trek says “Prismatic Pearl is a psychedelic, mind-bending paint scheme on a different plane of consciousness. It morphs in changing light to show every colour and shade of the rainbow.” We say, it looks fabulous. What do you say?
Lizzie Deignan’s Prismatic Pearl Domane in the sunlight glitters and glows all colours of the rainbow in the direct sunlight … … while in the shade, Audrey Cordon-Ragot’s Domane looks like an entirely different colour, despite being exactly the same. The iridescent effect is phenomenal. Presumably most of the team opts for the more aggressive H1.5 geometry on the new Domane. The team will run 1X setups for Saturday’s race, and so also for today’s recon. The riders had a mix of 50 and 52 tooth chainrings. The team insists a chaincatcher is not necessary, but it adds an extra level of security just in case. Note the elastic band to secure the battery on the rear mech – those cobbles are very bouncy! Deignan and most of the rest of the team had SRAM AXS Blips on the tops for easier reach to the shifting from the classic tops-riding position on the cobbles. No double wrap bar tape though, and most of the riders also choose to ride sans gloves. Sounds painful! Wahoo provides the team with head units, while Trek’s in-house brand Bontrager provides the bars, stems, saddles, and wheels. The semi internal cable routing on the Trek Domane. Deignan opts for the Ajna Pro saddle –a high performance perch with carbon rails and carbon shell. The team has a neat number mount on the seat tube. The team started off with Pirelli P-Zero and Bontrager Aelous tubulars. Trek-Segafredo also had a large selection of wheels with various setups for testing today – this is just a small collection of the wheels on site. These are the Bontrager RSL 37V TLR tubeless wheelset with a 25mm inner width, 37mm depth, dimensions that Bontrager describes as perfect for higher-volume road and gravel tires. Pirelli and Bontrager has a tubeless setup on hand for testing today. On the tubeless setup, Trek-Segafredo was testing the P-Zero Race TLR … … with 30 mm tyres, with both sealant and an internal liner. The team opts for the liner to provide some run-flat-ability in case of a puncture. Some riders swapped in the tubeless wheels immediately. Pressures are incredibly important in Paris-Roubaix. Pirelli representatives were on hand for feedback and guidance. The new European Champion Ellen van Dijk arrives in style. Paris-Roubaix will be the first race day in her champion’s kit, which would make for an iconic victory celebration scene on Saturday. Van Dijk looked relaxed and focused. Van Dijk is on the same Prismatic Pearl Domane. A quick change of wheels … … some last words of guidance from the team staff … … and then they were ready to head off. That-away! The four riders on site for the recon got stuck into the cobbles early in the ride. The team ticked off section after section … … before a stop for some more tyre type and pressure experimentation. Team staff set off ahead of the group, while the team cars provided support behind the group. Some sections were wet, but the course is in relatively good condition. Van Dijk looked a natural on the cobbles. The team stuck together throughout. Then, eventually, reached Roubaix for a few laps of the iconic velodrome. The bikes were not quite as sparkly as a few hours earlier. Trek went all in on versatility with the new Domane. By the end of the ride, all the riders had apparently decided to opt for the tubeless setup for Saturday’s race.