Gallery: Tour of Flanders tech, part one

$650 per pair of tyres and a host of other eye-catching tech.

Ronan Mc Laughlin
by Ronan Mc Laughlin 02.04.2024 Photography by
Ronan Mc Laughlin
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Of the two cobbled Spring monuments, Roubaix usually has Flanders well beaten in the tech department. At first, it seemed like it was very much business as usual at the start of De Ronde in Antwerp on Sunday past. However, to my own surprise, hidden amongst a sea of seemingly standard setups were a host of golden tech nuggets.

Matt: “Busy day for tech, Ronan?”

Ronan: “Er, so so, not a whole lot.”

Or so I thought before sitting down to edit the photos I had taken roaming the team zones for both the women’s and men’s editions of the Tour of Flanders. A few minutes later, I realised there were 900+ photos to sift through, and actually, De Ronde had thrown up a busy day in tech.

From new tyres to new tyre and rim combinations, undercover handlebars, and some “progressive saddle positions“, here’s what we saw at the 2024 Tour of Flanders.

Goodyear has some new tyres that are seemingly some form of prototype or team-only tyre. The tyres do appear on the Goodyear bike website as the Vector LTD wet weather race tyres but are priced at a whopping $650 per pair with a 30-day lead time… a clear attempt at a workaround for the UCI’s so-called commercialisation rule.
The tyres are designed for use with TSS (hookless) rims and TC (Tubless crotchet, aka hooked) clincher rims.
The Vector LTD tread pattern is closely related, perhaps even identical, to that of the Vector Sport. It has a smooth central section, fish hook-like grooves, and a ridged shoulder, which are presumably all designed to improve wet-weather grip.
The Goodyear website lists both 28 and 30-mm versions of the Vector LTD, Human Powered Health were using the 30-mm option.
Lidl-Trek’s men’s and women’s teams raced on prototype Pirellis, as they have for much of the season so far. We don’t yet have any details on the new tyres, and team staff prohibited me from measuring them with calipers; they did feel grippy to touch, though.
Thankfully, this sidewall stamp and Tipex pen on one of the men’s bikes gives a rough idea of the width.
Lidl-Trek Women’s team also raced on the prototype tyres…
But were seemingly opting for the 28 mm version of the new tyre.
Mads Pedersen was the only Lidl-Trek rider racing tubular Pirelli tyres.
On the other hand, most of the Liv AlUla Jayco team were racing Vittoria Corsa Control tubulars on the seemingly team-only Cadex Ultra 50 tubular rims.
While SD Worx, Soudal-Quickstep, and Bora-Hansgrohe all raced on 28 mm clincher Turbo Cotton Hell of the North, presumably with latex inner tubes, as seen here on Lotte Kopeck’s Tarmac SL8.
UAE Team Emirates broke out the seldom-seen “transparent” sidewall Continental GP 5000 S TR, possibly in a rush to get 30mm tyres following the UCI’s announcement on Thursday that teams should follow ISO standard-compliant combinations. Given that the Enve 4.5 rims feature a 25 mm inner rim width, that announcement will have required Team UAE riders to race on 30 mm tyres rather than the 28s they usually use.

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