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Hawaii Ironman update #3
Posted by: Simon Ward
Posted on: Saturday 13th October 2007


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Simon Ward, Tri247's 'Man in Hawaii', has another update on some of the bikes that the Pro athletes will be riding tonight.


As we finished up at the expo I was able to get a final look at the bikes ridden by Michellie Jones and Faris Al Sultan. Michellie is riding a Felt DA this year which is all specced up with SRAM Red group set, Zipp wheels and Oval Concept's aero bars (more on these next week in the Cycle Show report). It has been finished in Shocking Blue and Pink, she even has specially made pink Speedplay pedals! Jones' bike also sports a bottom bracket mounted rear brake for extra aero but with a normal mounted front brake.

Faris's bike is the Cannondale Slice which is set up in a much more conventional way compared to Stadler's Kuota or the Felt. Most obviously, the brakes are in the usual place! The most striking difference is the Osymmetric oval chainset which apparently suits Faris riding style (up and down rather than smooth, round strokes) and gives him more power for the same effort as with a circular chainset. I asked about the non-aero brakes and apparently although it does make a difference with a rider-less bike in the wind tunnel, once the rider is on the bike any aero benefits to having hidden brakes are soon lost.

The Cannondale is also fitted with an SRM power meter system, although sharp eyed viewers may see that during the race the display mounted on the very nice new Xentis bars is taped over. This is nothing sinister! Evidently the temptation to look at the readout means tilting the head forward so that the tail of the aero helmet sticks up losing the aerodynamics. Why have it then if he isn't going to use the data? It's really for display on the Ironmanlive (www.ironmanlive.com) real-time race reports - and, obviously, to keep his sponsors happy as well...

Other interesting features are a rear derailleur fitted with a 14-tooth lower jockey wheel which is supposed to reduce loss of power through chain flex and only one water bottle cage on the bike and nowhere to store food. Some emergency gels are kept in Faris's back pocket but everything else is taken from the aid stations. Now that's a strategy which will keep the weight down but has a certain element of risk to it...

Michellie Jones's pimped-up Felt DA
Another buried brake but check out the pink pedals and cable outers! We though ovalised chainsets were history but Faris obviously thinks different
The Cannondale looks positively 'normal' compared to some of the bikes you'll see today

In distinct contrast to the three bikes we've covered will be the actual riding we could expect to see from ex-pro cyclist Laurent Jalabert. He qualified for Kona at Ironman Switzerland where he blitzed the bike course - as you would expect from the most decorated cyclist to ever give the Ford Ironman World Championship a try. He has won Paris-Nice three times, four stages of the Tour de France, three stages at the Giro d’Italia and stages at the Vuelta – plus the World Time Trial Championships.

Asked about his prospects in Hawaii he said, “After my first ever Ironman in June this year I had a month of a break in my training but I am still in good shape and look forward to racing here in Hawaii. I am a bad swimmer, so basically I will be very happy once on the bike. But I have nothing to prove – I have done so in my professional career. And I will have to spare some energy for the run which is quite hard for a cyclist since my muscles are not too used to that.”

Jalabert did in fact run a fantastic 3:11 marathon in June so he's one of those that cannot be discounted as an outside bet. After Hawaii his Ironman ambitions will not be over, “I am doing this for fun and I am savouring every minute of the race. I do not think I will stop after this Saturday’s event,” he says. Apparently Ironman France is a possibility for 2008.


Simon Ward About the Author

Simon Ward is the founder of TheTriathlonCoach.com, the most experienced group of coaches in the UK. You can contact him on 08700 418131, by e-mailing [email protected] or by visiting www.TheTriathlonCoach.com


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