Pro bikes, February 26, 2006
Xavier Tondo Volpini's Relax-Gam Gios Carbon V-107
That unmistakable Gios blue was hard to miss in Malaysia, where Spanish cyclist Xavier Tondo Volpini chose to kick off his season at the TM Le Tour de Langkawi.
Despite being only 27 years of age, 'Tondo', as his friends call him, is in fact the fourth eldest member of the 15-man Relax-Gam outfit. Last year, the lanky rider from Olot, a hillside town not too far away from Barcelona, enjoyed his best season to date after stage wins in the Vuelta Asturias and Volta ao Alentejo as well as overall victory in the latter. And with such a young team, team managers Augusto de Castañeda and Jesus Suarez Cueva will be counting on him for some big results in '06.
Head mechanic Carlos Ortiz told Cyclingnews that despite the unseasonally bad weather in Spain, Tondo's been training quite hard this off-season - even riding in the snow, a far cry from the near 40 degree Celsius temps coupled with the high humidity of the tropics. Asked what his objectives were the day before the race began, Ortiz let out a modest chuckle before saying: "Same as every rider - to win!"
The stark contrast in temperatures might explain he didn't go as well as expected, even though the team came away with a top-ten finish after Jose Miguel Elias Galindo finished seventh overall by the time the race reached Kuala Lumpur.
2006 marks Gios' second year of sponsorship for this team who were previously known as Relax-Bodysol in 2004 and rode Ridley bikes as consequence of their Belgian co-sponsor. However, Bodysol and any Belgian influence has now gone, while mattress manufacturer Relax continues to stay on board as the team's primary sponsor. Apart from Russian neo-pro Denis Kudashev and young Czech Lubos Pelanek, the rest of the team is Spanish.
As its name implies, Tondo's Gios Carbon V-107 employs Dedacciai's V-107 aluminium tubing produced specifically for the Italian frame manufacturer and for this frame only. Mated with wishbone carbon seat stays and featuring a gradually tapered head tube, the frame's not earth-staggeringly light at a claimed 1,280 grams/ 2.8 pounds for a size 54, which would almost certainly go over the 1.3 kilo mark for Tondo's bike that measured 55.5 centimetres centre to centre.
It's also a little unusual to see a 74 degree seat angle across the entire range save for their size 46, 50, 60 and 61 models, although that said, Gios frames are renowned for their ride quality - reflected in Tondo's praise for the bike.
"Muchos!" said mechanic Ortiz when we asked him if Tondo liked what he rode on. "Nothing in particular, but he likes training every day on it. He's already been out this morning, but he wants to go out this afternoon, too; if he can't go training, he'll do two or three hours on the rollers."
Combined with the Mizuno E4 superlight fork, weighing roughly 390 grams, and Campagnolo's top-shelf Record group and Eurus aluminium clinchers, the scales tipped a respectable 7.84 kilos that could easily be made lighter with some carbon hoops. For now, though, Tondo isn't too fussed.
"No problema with bici - only problema with mecánico!" joked Ortiz.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
- Xavier Tondi Volpini looking tranquillo behind his Gios Carbon V-107.
- Tondo's even got Gios blue eyes to match!
- Many riders like Tondo sit their hoods up high for a very stable and comfortable riding position.
- Deda's Magic 46 centimetre bars.
- The Gios branded stem is also made by Deda.
- Tondo's need for speed is monitored by his Polar cycle computer.
- Campy's Record carbon cranks are now available in a range sizes, including 175mm length cranks used by Xavier Tondi Volpini.
- For the Record - Campagnolo's shapely rear derailleur.
- Hubba hubba - a close-up of the hub of the Campagnolo Eurus wheel.
- Campagnolo's dual-pivot Record brakes provide plenty of stopping power.
- The well-padded Selle Italia Flite Gel saddle is a popular choice among pros.
- Tondo's the name, cycling's my game.
- Chillin' by the pool at the end of a hard day.
- The tropical heat of Malaysia was even getting to the bike by the end of the week.
Frame: Gios Carbon V-107
Fork: Mizuno E4 superlight
Colour: Gios Blue
Rider's height: 186cm/ 6"1"
Rider's weight: 70kg/ 154lbs
C of BB to C of seat tube: 568mm
C of BB to T of seat tube: 598mm
C of BB to T of seat: 812mm
Top tube length: 555mm (C-C)
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 582mm
C of front wheel to top of bars: 581mm
Cranks: Campagnolo Record carbon, 175mm, 39/53
Chain: Campagnolo Record
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record titanium
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record titanium
Brakes: Campagnolo Record
Levers: Campagnolo Record
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record, 11-23
Wheels: Campagnolo Eurus Aluminium (Eurus carbon used for mountain stages)
Tyres: IRC Redstorm, 23mm
Bar: Deda Magic 31.8, 44cm (O-O)
Stem: Deda Magic 31.8
Headset: Campagnolo Record 1'1/8"
Pedals: Campagnolo Record Pro Fit
Seat post: Campagnolo Record carbon
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Genuine Gel
Bottle cages: Tacx
Cycle computer: N/A
Total bike weight: 7.84kg/ 17lbs
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