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Greg Van Avermaet's Paris-Roubaix winning bike

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Greg Van Avermaet piloted his #2 BMC Granfondo RBX to victory inside the old Roubaix velodrome

Greg Van Avermaet piloted his #2 BMC Granfondo RBX to victory inside the old Roubaix velodrome (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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What sort of power numbers do you think Van Avermaet generated at Paris-Robuaix?

What sort of power numbers do you think Van Avermaet generated at Paris-Robuaix? (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Another non-series Shimano caliper at the rear

Another non-series Shimano caliper at the rear (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Van Avermaet raced on 30mm unmarked Vittoria tubulars

Van Avermaet raced on 30mm unmarked Vittoria tubulars (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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With the advent of 11-speed, 11-28t cassettes have become common with pros

With the advent of 11-speed, 11-28t cassettes have become common with pros (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Sprint shifters work the rear derailleur, with each button moving the chain in one direction

Sprint shifters work the rear derailleur, with each button moving the chain in one direction (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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The Fizik Antares is the Olympic champ's perch of choice, whether riding smooth road or rough cobbles

The Fizik Antares is the Olympic champ's perch of choice, whether riding smooth road or rough cobbles (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Alloy cockpits are fairly common in the pro peloton, in part because they are less likely to shatter in a crash than carbon

Alloy cockpits are fairly common in the pro peloton, in part because they are less likely to shatter in a crash than carbon (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Grip tape inside the cages helps keep the bottles from ejecting on the cobbles

Grip tape inside the cages helps keep the bottles from ejecting on the cobbles (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Van Avermaet has SRM Shimano 11-spd power meters on both bikes. Since Shimano began making a power meter, SRM won't be making power meters with 9100 cranks

Van Avermaet has SRM Shimano 11-spd power meters on both bikes. Since Shimano began making a power meter, SRM won't be making power meters with 9100 cranks (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Van Avermaet ran Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 series derailleurs

Van Avermaet ran Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 series derailleurs (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Launched in 2015, the BMC Granfondo RBX offers some cushioning via a long, flexing seatpost and low seatstays

Launched in 2015, the BMC Granfondo RBX offers some cushioning via a long, flexing seatpost and low seatstays (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Van Avermaet uses 105-level Shimano direct-mount brakes because they work well with his choice of bar-top brake lever

Van Avermaet uses 105-level Shimano direct-mount brakes because they work well with his choice of bar-top brake lever (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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All riders have at least two identical or near-identical bikes ready to go at all times. A mid-race crash caused Van Avermaet to switch bikes

All riders have at least two identical or near-identical bikes ready to go at all times. A mid-race crash caused Van Avermaet to switch bikes (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Paris-Roubaix is an unusual race with unusual bike setups, such as the use of a single top-mounted brake lever

Paris-Roubaix is an unusual race with unusual bike setups, such as the use of a single top-mounted brake lever (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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When you win the Olympic road race you can have a gold SRM PC8, too

When you win the Olympic road race you can have a gold SRM PC8, too (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Van Avermaet began the day aboard his #1 bike. Like so many riders, he checked and double checked his air pressure before starting off from Compiegne

Van Avermaet began the day aboard his #1 bike. Like so many riders, he checked and double checked his air pressure before starting off from Compiegne (Image credit: Ben Delaney)
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Unmarked Vittoria tubulars were glued to Shimano's Dura-Ace 9100 wheels

Unmarked Vittoria tubulars were glued to Shimano's Dura-Ace 9100 wheels (Image credit: Ben Delaney)

This article first appeared on Bikeradar

As the announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker in Compiegne, calling the favorites to the front of the start of Paris-Roubaix, Greg Van Avermaet sat at the very back of the field, crouched over a bike that would soon be crashed on the cobblestones.

As riders packed inside the starting corral, former winners like Tom Boonen, John Degenkolb and Mathew Hayman were lauded before the crowd. The man who would win the day sat quietly just inside the end of the metal fencing, checking his air pressure. Next year, Van Avermaet will be called to the front.

Here is a look at the BMC Granfondo RBX that the Olympic road champion raced on for the second half of Roubaix after a bunch tumble removed his first one from contention.

More on this

Frameset born in 2015, build tweaked for 2017

The RBX version of BMC’s endurance Granfondo platform was launched at the 2015 Paris-Roubaix (where Avermaet took third on it). The concept was pretty simple: Paris-Roubaix all but demands fat tires, and bikes need to be able to accommodate them.

Most riders this year raced on either 28 or 30mm tubulars, with the odd exceptions like Ian Stannard who used 27mm tires — but on a hydraulic rear-suspension bike.

Van Avermaet went with 30mm unmarked Vittoria tires, a common choice at Roubaix alongside Continental’s stalwart Competition and the boutique Dugast and FMB casings.

Since winning the road race at last summer's Rio Olympics, Van Avermaet trains and races with a gold SRM PC8 head unit. His first bike also had a simple piece of tape on the stem with key sectors noted in pen.

The only other noteworthy pieces of gear were the single bar-top brake lever, and the non-series 105-level Shimano direct-mount brake calipers that work well with that lever.

Many riders tackle the cobbles with their hands on the handlebar tops, and a few like to have a brake within reach. Notably, second-place finisher Zydnek Stybar of Quick Step had two such top-mount levers on his Specialized Roubaix.

More common at Roubaix are electronic shift buttons placed high on the bars near the stem. Stybar had these, too, but Van Avermaet just went with his typical placement of the sprint shifters on the inside of the bar drops, with the small one-way buttons peeking through a slit in the handlebar tape.

Van Avermaet's group was a mix of Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace Di2 group, the 9150, with the older 9050 derailleurs and SRM Shimano 11-speed power meter. SRM confirmed to BikeRadar that it will not be producing power meters with 9100 series cranks since Shimano jumped into the power-measuring game.

It appears that Van Avermaet didn’t grab his gold PC8 head unit off the first bike in the melee of the crash and subsequent bike switch.

Some armchair fans criticize pros for relying too much on power numbers for pacing, but the reality is that many riders and teams use the tools in racing to record the efforts for later analysis, especially in one-day events like Paris-Roubaix. In any event, Van Avermaet lead the day’s final break of three riders into the Roubaix velodrome for the finishing lap and a half, and came across the line in the same position aboard his BMC Granfondo RBX.