This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
This year's Ronde van Vlaanderen finish was one of the most thrilling in recent memory, culminating in a four-up sprint between eventual winner Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). Here, we present the machines of the three podium finishers: Cancellara, Avermaet and Vanmarcke. After reading the report below, make sure to check out the full image gallery at right, and visit Cyclingnews for complete information and features on the race.
Fabian Cancellara's Trek Domane Classics
The bike that Cancellera won on should be a familiar sight at this point as it's virtually the same machine he used during last year's Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. Once again, Cancellara rode across the finish line on a Trek Domane Classics – a special version of the standard Domane endurance bike built with the same bump-eating IsoSpeed 'decoupler' but with a much more aggressive long-and-low geometry that the team prefers.
Cancellara's bike is festooned with several lucky charms
Cancellara's bike further differs from standard consumer bikes in that it features a non-replaceable rear derailleur hanger and the Swiss rider's trademark 'Spartacus' custom paint scheme (although a replica of the latter is offered through Trek's Project One program).
The rear derailleur is augmented with a Berner carbon fiber cage and friction-reducing ultra-oversized pulleys
Even the build kit is little changed from years past, including a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace group (with no power meter), Shimano Dura-Ace carbon pedals, friction-reducing Berner oversized rear derailleur pulleys, Bontrager Aeolus 5 D3 Classics carbon tubular wheels with FMB tires, a Bontrager carbon stem, Bontrager anatomic-bend aluminum bars, and Bontrager's traditionally shaped Team Issue saddle.
Cancellara races on feel, not numbers
We weren't able to weigh Cancellara's bike before the race, but based on prior meetings, 7.50kg (16.53lb) is a safe bet.
Greg Van Avermaet's BMC TeamMachine SLR01
While the rest of his team departed from Brugge aboard BMC's more classics-focused GranFondo GF01 model, second-place finisher Van Avermaet instead stuck to his standard SLR01, which BMC just redesigned for this season. Carrying over from the previous edition are the distinctive frame lines and surprisingly smooth ride but now with claimed weights under 800g and even better stiffness.
Greg Van Avermaet used his usual BMC SLR01 while most of the rest of the team went with the more endurance-focused GF01
As compared to Cancellara's Domane, Van Avermaet's SLR01 is decidedly more electrified with its Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 group and SRM power meter. Van Avermaet also went with an aluminum 3T ARX Team stem, a traditional-bend bar, and a pan-flat fi'zi:k Antares saddle. Rounding things out are a set of 50mm-deep Shimano Dura-Ace carbon tubular wheels, 25mm-wide Continental tires, Elite Sior Mio cages and Shimano Dura-Ace carbon pedals.
Double-wrapped traditional-bend bars and a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 electronic group for Van Avermaet
Sep Vanmarcke's Bianchi Infinito CV
Fellow Belgian Vanmarcke started the 2014 Ronde van Vlaanderen on Bianchi's new Infinito CV. Bianchi builds this endurance-focused frame with layers of viscoelastic tucked in between typical carbon plies at key areas. Dubbed 'Countervail', Bianchi claims this technique is much better at squelching vibrations than carbon-only construction. Other companies have tried their hand at infusing alternative materials into carbon frames with similar aims and at least in this case, it seems to work.
Bianchi's new Infinito CV is built with layers of viscoelastic materials that supposedly attenuate road vibration better than carbon-only structures
Vanmarcke's build kit is similar to that of Van Avermaet's BMC with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 electronic group, the same 50mm-deep carbon tubular wheels, and a traditional-bend bar (from FSA in this case, not 3T). The Belkin team uses the new Pioneer power meter, however, and those wheels are wrapped with 25mm-wide Vittoria Corsa SC tires.
Pioneer's revamped power meter