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MILAN (AFP) — This year’s edition of Tirreno-Adriatico. which gets under way Wednesday, promises to be an open and exciting race, not the least due to the absence of the dominant Chris Froome (Sky).
The reigning Tour de France champion pulled out at the end of last week due to a back injury that has kept him sidelined since winning the Tour of Oman in late February.
It meant a quick reshuffle on Sky, bringing Australian Richie Porte and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins over from the Paris-Nice team.
Consequently, Italy’s “Race of the two Seas” is likely to overshadow France’s “Race to the sun” this year.
It boasts a formidable lineup with former Tour winners Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) lining up alongside Wiggins, who is expected to play super-domestique to Porte — who will lead Sky at the Giro d’Italia in May.
Colombia’s Tour runner-up Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who was third in the 2013 Tour, along with American Vuelta a Espana champion Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) and former Giro winners Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), and Michele Scarponi (Astana), will ensure the racing from one side of Italy to the other is fierce.
It won’t just be the overall victory that will be keenly contested, as most of the best sprinters in the world, from Briton Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) to Germans Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), are in the peloton.
And then there are time trial specialists Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and current world champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma), as well as Wiggins, alongside punchers Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC).
All that’s missing, it seems, to make it a field as tough as you would expect to find in the Tour itself are Froome, world champion Rui Costa (Lampre), and current Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), the latter two having opted for Paris-Nice this year.
Froome would have started as a favorite in Italy. Instead, many eyes will be keenly watching the 29-year-old Porte to see whether he can step up to the level of team leader.
Porte finished an impressive second in the Critérium du Dauphiné last year and won Paris-Nice.
And the field here is probably even tougher than that he will face at May’s Giro, where Quintana could provide the biggest challenge to his title hopes.
“I have been a professional now for years and I have never done Tirreno,” Porte said in a report on Sunday, before explaining why his team swapped him so abruptly from the French race to the Italian one.
“I have always done Paris-Nice and other than last year it has always been the race I’ve always been the most nervous about all season.
“I looked at the Paris-Nice route this year and it was not one that suited me. If the Paris-Nice course was the same as last year, I would still be racing Paris-Nice, but it’s not. It’s a different race with the same name.”
The main differences between Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice this year is that the former has two summit finishes, a 16.9km team time trial, and a 9.2km individual time trial to top off the seven-day race.
Paris-Nice, on the other hand, has no time trials or tough mountain stages, meaning Porte’s chances of overall victory looked better in Italy.
It’s been nearly 18 months since we first spotted SRAM’s one-by drivetrain. At that time it was a simple 1×10 design, its only distinguishing feature a redesigned, XX1-style chainring. Since then, we’ve watched what we now call CX1, formally unveiled this week, evolve on some of the fastest cyclocross racers’ bikes.
The SRAM CX1 drivetrain sports many of the same technologies as the wildly popular XX1 and XO1 mountain bike drivetrains. Current SRAM 11-speed road group owners can upgrade to a CX1 system for $366, assuming the rider is already using a compact, 110 BCD, cranks, by replacing only the rear derailleur and the chainring. The bigger the chainring, the more it costs, as the machining that goes into it is time consuming. The total cost of the CX1 group is set to be about $100 less expensive than a Force 22 drivetrain — not counting brakes on either group.
The new group should start showing up on complete bikes in May, and will be available in the aftermarket in June or July. By May, we would expect to see the CX1 drivetrain paired to hydraulic disc brakes and levers.
At the time of our test ride, SRAM employees said they wished they were launching the group with hydraulic brakes, but as we all know, the recall of the SRAM HydroR brakes in December made that impossible.
SRAM Force CX1 Rear Derailleur — $235
At the heart of the CX1 group is the X-Sync chainring and the Force CX1 rear derailleur. The Exact Actuation of the rear derailleur makes it cross compatible with 10- and 11-speed SRAM drivetrains, but not cross compatible with XX1 and XO1 rear derailleurs, as the mountain bike rear derailleurs require a different amount of cable pull.
The Force CX1 rear derailleur shares the X-Horizon, Roller Bearing Clutch, and Cage Lock technologies with the mountain bike rear derailleurs. The Force CX1 derailleur is available in a mid-cage and long-cage version. The long-cage version is compatible with the larger range cassettes.
The Force CX1 rear derailleur costs twice as much as the Force rear derailleur. It does sport more technology than you’ll find in another mechanical road rear derailleur, but the price still seems rather high.
SRAM X-Sync Chainrings — $126-$152
The X-Sync chainrings are compatible with all compact cranks. Just like the XX1 chainrings, the cyclocross chainrings use taller, squared off teeth, and a wide-narrow pattern, a technology SRAM calls X-Sync. The taller teeth engage the chain earlier and the wide-narrow patter is intended to mirror the chain.
The rings are available in five tooth sizes: 38, 40, 42, 44, and 46. CX1 cranks will be sold in GXP and BB30 cranks for $148 and $182, respectively. The CX1 cranks will be sold without any chainrings.
SRAM Force CX1 Left Brake Lever — $113
The SRAM Force CX1 left brake lever is quite simple. SRAM employees admit that the CX1 brake lever is simply a Force left brake/shift lever with all of the shifter internals removed — something that single-ring cyclocross racers and singlespeed riders have been doing for years to SRAM levers.
Chain and cassettes
The Force CX1 group calls for the rider to use the same 1170 Force-level cassette and chain. The 11-26, 11-28, and 11-32-tooth cassettes are all compatible. The long-cage rear derailleur is compatible with all three cassettes, while the mid-cage works with just the 11-26 option. Riders can easily swap between cassettes with different ranges, as the rear derailleur’s b-limit screw is adjusted in the 11 tooth cog.
The recommended chain for Force CX1 is the PC1170. The XX1 chain is also compatible and is a more durable chain, at a slightly higher price.
First ride reactions
We spent some time on a 42×11-28 setup back in February. The first thing we tried to do was bunny hop and run off as many curbs as possible, anything to try and pop the chain off the chainring. We were unsuccessful. Even when riding on a rough road, we couldn’t hear any chain slap. Bringing a roller clutch to cyclocross is a fantastic advancement.
The shifting is crisp. In our one ride, we noticed the shifting actuation to be as crisp if not more so than a Red 22 drivetrain. The rear derailleur’s roller clutch keeps everything quite tight, and it’s felt in the shift paddle.
The left lever has an unfinished feel to it, as there’s a large hole left behind the brake paddle, where the shifter internals used to be. SRAM product managers are aware of this shortfall, and hopefully it will be remedied down the road.
We found the gearing to be adequate for the roads were on, but cyclocross is a different story. The 42-tooth chainring is likely to be spec’d on most CX1 bikes this year, and we fear that many amateur riders will find themselves over-geared. At the 2014 USA Cyclocross National Championships, Ryan Trebon (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) rode a 44-tooth chainring. However, at the 2013 Clif Bar Cross Vegas, Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) rode a 42-tooth Shimano chainring paired to a 12-26 cassette, and if that chainring is good enough for Berden on the fastest course of the year, it may be a bit of a tall gear for the average rider. If we were ordering a group for our cyclocross bike, we would opt for a 40-tooth chainring paired to an 11-28 cassette.
We look forward to testing the Force CX1 group extensively in the coming months and hopefully a road version in the future.
After months of rumors and spy photos, the day is here. SRAM’s long-awaited single chainring CX1 cyclocross group is official.
As of the exact minute this post went live, the embargo muzzles have been lifted and we’re allowed to give you the full breakdown of the Force CX1 single ring component offerings, as well as our riding impressions (yes, we’ve touched it, photographed it, and ridden it way back in January). First a quick summary…
SRAM Force CX1 Cyclocross Component Group at a Glance:
- Level: Force CX1, as the name suggests, will be a Force-level component group, and will share many of the exact same components as SRAM Force, including right shifters, cassettes, chains and crank arms
- New Components: There are four CX1 components:
- the Force CX1 crank arms (same as Force 22 compact, but with CX1 graphics)
- the Force CX1 X-SYNC chainring, with wide/narrow teeth, mud-specific cutaways, in 38, 40, 42, 44, and 46 tooth sizes, 110mm hidden bolt BCD
- the Force Cx1 left brake lever (a gutted DoubleTap shifter)
- the Force CX1 Type 2 rear derailleur (short and medium cage)
- Weight: Force CX1 will save about 170-180g over a double chainring Force 22 group on average
- Cost: Force CX1 will cost a few dollars more than a 2x Force group because of the more complicated rear derailleur (see our price table below)
- Speeds/Compatability: the X-SYNC chainrings and Force CX1 rear derailleur will be backwards compatible with 10-speed shifters and chains, but rings require the hidden chainring bolt. XX1 and X01 11-speed MTB rear derailleurs are not compatible with the Force shifters, and Type 2 mountain bike derailleurs are not substitutes for the CX1 rear derailleur. X01 DH rear derailleurs should work but lack barrel adjusters.
- Availability: Summer 2014
Got all that? If that piqued your interest, keep reading for component specifics, details and pricing.
Sometimes the Tech FAQ mailbag fills up with a central theme (most recently the minutia of drivetrain cross-compatibility). Other times, it feels more like a grab bag. Today is the latter and we’ll look at a little bit of everything, culminating in one reader’s questions about his flexible carbon frame and updating the head tube on a classic titanium frame.
Will this SRAM work with that Shimano?
I just swapped out my rear derailleur for a SRAM X7 long cage 9-speed. (Previously I had a Shimano Tiagra 9-speed.) I tried to use my current 9-speed Shimano Ultegra STI shifter, but it’s not working, and from reading online it seems like they’re not compatible. Is there an STI shifter that I can use with this rear derailleur?
No, there is not a Shimano shifter that will work with this derailleur; only a SRAM shifter will work with it (or a Campagnolo with class-B functionality). Before replacing that SRAM derailleur with a Shimano derailleur, however, you could try some of these cable-routing solutions. It’s possible one might work acceptably and save you some money.
My Campy/Shimano mash-up works masterfully
Campagnolo 11-speed Ergo shifters index perfectly with Shimano 9-speed derailleurs and cassettes. On the bike, the shifters are Chorus 11-speed Ultrashift and all the rest of the drivetrain is 9-speed Shimano. Since I replaced the original 9-speed STI shifters (which were starting to jam when attempting shifts) with the Ergos, I haven’t been able to detect any shortcomings in the rear shifting at all, and the Ergo shifters have the added advantage that the front shifter has more trim positions for banishing chain rub.
Thanks for letting us know your experience.
How can I make a 10-speed Mad Fiber wheel work with an 11-speed drivetrain?
I have a set of Mad Fiber wheels where the hub cannot be changed out. The hub is 10-speed and compatible with Shimano/SRAM. I recently moved up to Shimano 11-speed and was wondering if I could use an 11-speed hub but remove one ring so it would fit on the hub. I would use spacers to fill in the gap. I understand that I would have an extra shift at either the top or bottom but I can live with that. Have you tried this solution and if so, what was the outcome? If it didn’t work, do you have any creative solutions? I was just wondering before I try it.
I did that for a while, and it worked fine. That wheel very likely has the guts of a White Industries hub inside; you might see if you can get an 11-speed freehub body from WI.
How do I fit my bike to my short torso and long legs?
Given your expertise in fit issues and frame-building, I thought I would run a problem by you: what size frame should someone ride if they have long legs and a short torso? My floor-to-crotch measurement is 92cm, and I was told that my torso measurement puts me solidly in the 56cm range on the Specialized chart. Having legs for a 60cm frame and a torso for a 56cm frame makes buying off the rack a compromise. Frames that are 60cm are too long. When I bought my first road bike three years ago, I bought a 58cm road frame and eventually put a 90mm stem on it because it felt too long. The reach still feels a little long to me (probably, in part, because my saddle is high), and the short stem undoubtedly affects the bikes handling/steering characteristics. Is this the right way to go, or should I get a 56cm frame next time?
If you can get the 56cm frame with an uncut steering tube on the fork, that would be preferable. Flip the stem up, and put some spacers under it as well, not to exceed 100mm (four inches). And remember that when you flip a stem up, it effectively shortens its reach as well.
Check out the two drawing above, which illustrate what happens when you flip the stem up versus having it flipped down. As you can see, with a 140mm 6-degree stem, flipping it up raises the handlebar by 24mm and shortens the reach by 10mm. If it were an 8-degree stem, the height increase would be 32mm, and the reach reduction would be 13mm. If it were a 17-degree stem, the height increase would be 67mm and the reach would be shortened by 27mm. Those height and length differences would be proportionately less with shorter stems, of course.
Where do I find really big booties?
You’re big, big guy. Where can I find road shoe booties that fit a size 47 shoe? Trying to get typical booties over my shoes take more energy than the ride.
I have no problem getting Grip Grab booties over my size 47 shoes, be they road or MTB shoes. And for less cold weather, I regularly use DeFeet Slipstream sock-type shoe covers over them.
Should I trade carbon for titanium and replace my head tube?
I wanted to ask your opinion on updating an older titanium bike versus replacing a cracked Masi 3v. I have a six-year-old Masi3v, which Masi has declined a warranty on. Bike only has 6,000 miles on it, but has developed small cracks under the clear coat. Bike developed a high-speed shimmy over the last year. Since you’re a frame builder, I have just a couple of questions.
Is it possible that the Masi was only “good” for 6,000 miles? I hate to think we have gotten to the point where race bike lifespan is that short. Looks like I’m going to put an older Litespeed Ultimate back into service. I’ve been told that it will be like trying to convert a 69 Camaro into a 2014 Corvette.
Second question: Has frame technology changed that much? I was thinking of replacing the head tube. It currently has a 1-inch. Is that even a logical upgrade? Bike will be masters raced by formerly competitive 52-year-old. I was also told a lot of current newer wheels don’t really match up well with older technology. I was riding Zipp 404s, both tubulars and clinchers. I’m assuming that comment was due to widths of rims getting wider now than 12 years ago. So, is it worth the time to upgrade older Ti?
The cracks in the paint and/or clear coat (that’s what you mean by “under the clear coat,” correct?) indicate something is moving further than the clear coat can flex. Since carbon fiber construction done properly is generally immune to fatigue failure, I would guess if you’ve not crashed it or otherwise overloaded it that the cracking and loss of stiffness you’re experiencing is either bonding between molded carbon pieces that is breaking down and moving, or it’s delamination between carbon layers.
I can’t imagine that your wheels will not work in the Litespeed. I assume the frame has 130mm rear spacing. If so, the wheel should fit in fine. The 404s are not wider than wheels the chainstays and seatstays of a decade or so ago could handle.
Yes, you could have the head tube replaced by a titanium framebuilder, either with a standard head tube for a 1-⅛-inch steering tube, or with an oversized one for a tapered steering tube, either 1.5×1.125-inch, or 1.25×1.125-inch. That will be a costly upgrade, so you’d have to decide whether it’s worth it to you or not. Personally, I have a hard time imagining that the modest increase in performance of your old Litespeed with an upgraded fork would be worth the money.
- Brand new, have never been used, never even mounted. Compact rings. 172.5 crank arms. Great stuff. No bottom bracket included.
Ebay listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/141216466219?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2648
Will consider all reasonable offers and take off ebay if you're interested.