Team IG-Sigma Sport rider, Wouter Sybrandy, was on duty at a recent promotional evening at the Specialized concept store in Kingston, Greater London.
Recently returned from a Tuscan training camp, and fresh from his victory at Hertfordshire’s North Road Hardriders time trial, Sybrandy talked us through his plans for the season ahead and his new Specialized S WorksTarmac SL4.
Sybrandy’s victory in Hertfordshire earned him more than just the spoils of the day.
“I got Chris Boardman’s record which he set in 1991. I’m really pleased. I only came back from Tuscany the night before. I certainly found my legs had recovered! The course really suits me; it’s really hilly. It’s called the North Road Hardriders for a reason!” he joked.
This Sunday (11) will see Sybrandy’s first bunch race of the season, the UCI 1.2 category Omloop van het Waasland in Belgium. “I feel good. Obviously racing in the bunch again is always going to be a shock,” he said.
Team IG-Sigma Sport’s team manager, former national road race champion, Matt Stephens, told RoadCyclingUK at the team’s launch last month that he expected his riders to be ‘absolutely spent’ at the end of each race.
“It’s how Matt used to race,” said Sybrandy. “He tries to get that across to the team: to give 100 per cent in each race. It’s really important. It would be really nice to start the season with a few wins like Endura have done.”
Former Garmin Cervelo rider, Daniel Lloyd, and Dan Craven, who raced last year for Rapha Condor Sharp, are two key signings for Stephens’ team. Sybrandy said Team IG-Sigma Sport expected to compete on even terms with Britain’s other UCI Continental teams.
“The team is so much stronger than last year. I think it’s hard to say where we stand at the moment. Endura will do well abroad. It depends what team they field in the UK. They will be the team to beat. The other five [UCI Continental] teams will be fairly closely matched,” he said.
Sybrandy talked us through the Specialized S Works Tarmac SL4, a change from last year’s team issue SL3. “The top tube is wider and more ‘aero’ and the down tube is slightly wider,” said Sybrandy.
“It’s super stiff – by far the stiffest bike I’ve ever ridden. It’s extremely light, which is great on climbs; getting out of the saddle, it responds instantly. There’s so much stiffness.
“I’ve gone from a 61cm frame to 58cm. I’m trying to get a bit lower and found I could get away with a 58cm.”
Sybrandy’s victory in the North Road Hardriders was achieved on a time trial machine. He has tailored his SL4 to temper a tendency to adopt a similar position on his conventional bike.
“The saddle is slightly shorter at the front. I tend to move quite far forward because I do a lot of time trial. In time trials, you’re almost in front of the bottom bracket. We’ve gone for a shorter saddle to make sure I’m in the middle of the saddle,” he said.
A return to Look pedals after using Time last year had presented no problems, he added.
The SL4 on display when we talked to Sybrandy was equipped with a Cosmic Carbone 80mm wheelset.
“At the first race of the season in Belgium, we’ll be using the 80mm Mavic Cosmic. They’re super stiff and have the aero advantage of being deep section. At races like the Rutland, we’ll be on an aluminium clincher. You can throw them about a bit more easily than a deep section rim. The third option is the 40mm, which I ride in most races,” he said.