While scoping out all the trick kit on display before the start of Tour of Flanders last weekend, I took the time to have a closer look at BMC Racing, making their classics debut.
The Swiss bike brand has an interesting history in professional cycling but the changes that happened at the end of the 2009 season are the most appetising, with the launch of the new BMC Racing Team.
This new team has rocketed into the spotlight. But a team is nothing without riders, and it was the signing of the legendary George Hincapie that first raised an eyebrow. And when riders of such high calibre as Cadel Evans and Alessandro Ballan flocked to the team, the curtains really started twitching.
The squad were out in force for Flanders, with classics-specialist Hincapie hoping for a good performance in his new outfit. It was also a chance for us to check out one of the newest bikes in the peloton, the Team Machine SLR01.
Hincapie, of course, had a customised US national champion’s liveried version and, in my personal opinion, it was easily one of the best looking bikes heading to the start line of the race.
While most riders opt for traditional box-section rims and 32-spokes in this race, the American was one of the few to happily choose a deep-section carbon wheelset. He was rolling on sponsor Easton’s EC90 Aero hoops shod with Continental Pro Limited Competition 25mm tyres.
Meanwhile, wheels built using Easton hubs and Ambrosio rims had also been prepared for those preferring not to trust a carbon rim, and most of the team seemed to be going down this road – Ballan included.
Shifting and braking duties are handled by the exotic Campagnolo Super Record groupset, with Easton supplying all contact points.
Hincapie finished sixth in the Tour of Flanders, and will be going into this weekend’s Paris-Roubaix hoping for at least a podium finish, or better…