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Wout van Aert’s Cervélo S5

By Ben Atkins | Images: Courtesy, Jumbo-Visma

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Team Jumbo-Visma came into this year’s Tour de France with the explicit aim of guiding Primož Roglič to the victory that he came within one day of last year. That plan suffered a blow on stage 1, when most of the team hit the deck in a freak crash, when a spectator brought down much of the peloton. It ended two days later, when Roglič came down 10km from the end of stage 3 as he was trying to make his way to the front of the bunch on the narrow, technical finale.

Since losing its captain, though, Roglič’s teammates have seized the opportunities afforded by their new found freedom. Danish mountain domestique Jonas Vingegaard goes into the final week of the race in third overall, American climber Sepp Kuss took a spectacular solo victory in Andorra la Vella, while Belgian all-rounder Wout van Aert has proved himself again to be one of the most versatile riders in the sport as he followed a second place in a bunch sprint behind Mark Cavendish with victory on the first ever stage to climb Mont Ventoux twice.

The Dutch super-team switched from Bianchi to Cervélo this year, having ridden astride the iconic Italian brand since its Team Belkin days of 2014. Van Aert won his Ventoux stage astride a lightweight R5 frame, but we took a close look at the machine that rode as he contested the flatter stages, and came so close to denying Cavendish his 33rd stage win, in Valence, the super-aero S5, which Cervélo claims is its fastest yet.

The S5 is Cervélo’s fastest ever road bike.

The 2021 S5, they say, is 42 grams lighter than its predecessor, while also being 13 percent stiffer at the head tube and 25 percent stiffer at the bottom bracket. Presented by Cervélo as a module, it comes with its own SP20 Carbon Aero seatpost, with AB08 handlebars and CS028 V-Stem. At first sight, this bar/stem combination looks like a one-piece, but is actually two separate units, joined by bolts through the bars, which is a more aerodynamic method than the traditional stem clamp.

The handlebar/stem are two different units joined together.

FullSpeedAhead is Jumbo-Visma’s handlebar partner—which are used on the team’s R5 bikes—so, even though these are Cervélo, the FSA tape is adorned with forward-facing decals to display to the cameras in those bunch sprints.

Dura Ace as Standard; Blue Tires Very Much Non-Standard

Like the majority of the peloton, Jumbo-Visma equips its bikes with Shimano components, with the Japanese company’s Dura-Ace Di2 of course! All bikes are disc-equipped, including the team’s P5 time trial bikes, with Shimano Centerlock rotors attached to their Dura-Ace C60 wheels.

The one area where the Jumbo-Visma women’s team differs from the men in its equipment is that superstar Marianne Vos and her teammates use wheels from California company Reserve, which were developed in collaboration with Cervélo.

Van Aert and his teammates began the race sporting some very eye-catching blue front tires. Far from a team presentation gimmick, this tyre was developed by Vittoria—who also provides standard tan-walled black rubber for the rear—to highlight Jumbo-Visma’s new partnership with Swapfiets, a Dutch bike leasing company, who fit them to their everyday Dutch bikes.

After starting the Tour with a special blue Vittoria tire on the front, the team has reverted to standard black Corsa Graphene tubulars.

With most of the stickiest compounds ending up as black, developing the blue tire has been a big challenge for Vittoria, but they are confident it has the same level of performance as a standard Corsa Graphene tyre. The five remaining members of the team have reverted to standard black Corsa Graphene tubulars in recent stages, but who’s to say the blue ones won’t reappear as the race approaches Paris?

With the team selecting what it considers to be the best of everything, none of its stars—Roglic and van Aert included—has any special demands for anything that their teammates aren’t using. With data being at a premium, van Aert has a Dura-Ace R9100-P crankset, which communicates with his bar-mounted Garmin header unit.

It’s Shimano Dura-Ace throughout the drivetrain

The Belgian Champion clips his Shimano S-Phyre SH-RC902 shoes into Dura-Ace PD-R9100 Carbon pedals, and sits atop a fi’zi:k Antares R1 saddle. His Tacx Shiva bottles are held in place by a pair of Tacx Deva cages.

The Belgian champ sits atop a fi’zi:k Antares R1 saddle.

As the Tour hits its third week, and heads further into the Pyrénées, van Aert and his teammates will be using their Cervélo R5 but, as the road flattens and heads to Paris, they’ll switch back to the S5.

With so many sprinters dropping out of the race, the final stage on the Champs-Élysées could see a one-on-one duel between Cavendish—who could be chasing his 35th stage and the outright stage win record—and van Aert. He could become the first Belgian Champion, since Tom Steels (now a sports director at Deceuninck–Quick-Step) in 1998, to take what is regarded as the sprinters’ world championship. And he could become the first ever winner of the Ventoux stage to take the Champs-Élysées stage.

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