Spring is a season as bright as it is uncertain for any cyclist. We're ready for action as we battle through muddy patches, settle into our bib shorts and brace some strong winds. And Paris-Roubaix is no exception! Whether you're King of the Road or just getting to grips, whether you're going hell for leather or constantly wearing out your brake discs, you can't predict what awaits, but you can rely on your bike.
And that's why the Delko-Marseille-Provence team mainly opted for the 785 HUEZ RS DISC. Even if its climb-friendly design may seem out of the norm for a course designed for 80kg hardmen, the Huez has the advantage of being less rigid than the traditional 795 BLADE RS race bikes. It's designed for comfort and its lower rigidity is perfect for a race that covers 54.50 km of cobblestone out of its 257 km total distance.
On the "Reine des Classiques", design is for comfort.
A HUEZ bike, but a HUEZ with disc brakes because although the cyclists were used to their rim brake Blades, this design could provide the power needed on what was expected to be a very wet Paris-Roubaix race. The weather decided otherwise, but the bikes provided additional stability on the emergency stops that are typical of this kind of race: avoiding collisions on the Arenberg Gap or a wrongly anticipated turn in the cloud of dust kicked up by the cavalcade.
As for the wheels, the quality of current designs meant the cyclists could keep their trusty CORIMA. The only things that were changed was the width of the Schwalbe G-One Speed tires and a tire pressure that was tweaked to suit the race and the cyclist's preferences. Evaldas Siskevicius, for example, opted for 30mm tires, but their pressure remained a closely guarded secret. Clearly a good decision as he finished in the top 10.
Handlebar-wise, the cyclists could benefit from the flat aero top of the ADH 2 when vibrations made it hard to grip the drop. Although normally left bare, the top was protected with tape while the drops were covered by a second layer to provide extra cushioning. After that it was up to the cyclists to decide if they wanted to wear gloves or not. While discussing the race, Sports Director Arvis Piziks explained that his experiences of the race made him stick to a simple rule: 23mm tires and no gloves.
With scenery that could make cyclists forget the gruelling feats that lay ahead, he could have been forgiven for being nonchalant. Daffodils lined whitewashed walls, trees were heavy with cherry blossom and the sky was clear blue. In the distance you could see farms nestled among crop fields that were springing to life. Lined with poplars, pear trees and willows, it felt more like picnic spot than anything else. But this idyllic landscape hinted at what was to come as the swaying buds showed that the wind was a north-easterly - a 3.4 wind direction. In terms of difficulty, a prevailing wind that made for challenging climbs. A challenge that was superbly met head on by the LOOK 785 HUEZ RS DISC.