This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Astride a last-year-model bike decorated with his newborn baby's footprint and a wooden good luck charm, John Degenkolb sprinted to victory in the 2015 Paris-Roubaix. Degenkolb rode a 2014 Giant Defy Advanced SL equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace 35 wheels shod in custom-made 30mm Vittoria tubulars.
Although wide, 27 and 28mm tubulars have long been the standard in the queen of the cobbled classics, a few riders chose to race 30mm tires this year, accepting a little additional rotational weight and perhaps a touch more rolling resistance in exchange for more comfort and suspension. For Giant-Alpecin, mechanics outfitted team race bikes with 30mm tubular casings with VIttoria clincher treads glued to them, while the back-up bikes on the team cars had 28mm versions.
Along with the rest of his Giant-Alpecin team, Degenkolb raced the Hell of the North on last year's bikes, the 2014 Giant Defy Advanced SL, because Giant specced still-UCI-forbidden disc brakes on its 2015 model.
We could see the 2015 Giant Defy Advanced SL with disc brakes in professional competition later this year, as the UCI recently announced that "all teams will have the opportunity to use bikes with disc brakes at two events of their choice during August and September." Then the gates will be wide open for disc in 2016, still under UCI 'testing', with the idea being that, "if the experience is satisfactory, disc brakes will be officially introduced to the UCI WorldTour in 2017… the aim is to eventually introduce disc brakes to all levels of road cycling".
Vittoria glued clincher treads onto 30mm tubular casings. The air pressure recommendations are nearly double what most riders used
Complete bike specifications
Frame: 2014 Giant Defy Advanced SL, size medium
Fork: Advanced SL-grade composite, full-composite OverDrive 2 steerer
Handlebar: PRO PLT, 42cm
Handlebar tape: PRO
Stem: PRO Vibe, 120mm
Seatpost: Integrated seatpost
Saddle: PRO Turnix, 142mm width
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
Shift Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070, w/ sprint shifters and climbing shifter
Front Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Brake Calipers: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000, 11-28t
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000, 53/44t, 172.5mm
Wheels: Shimano Dura-Ace C35
Front Tire: Vittoria Pavé CX 30mm Team
Rear Tire: Vittoria Pavé CX 30mm Team
Bottle Cages: Elite Aluminum
Other Accessories: Additional top-mounted rear brake lever, K-Edge chain catcher
Rider’s height: 180cm/5'11"
Rider’s weight: 77kg/170lb
Saddle Height: 73.7cm
Saddle Setback: 7.2cm
Saddle nose to center of bars: 56.5cm
Handlebar height (centre of hub to midpoint of handlebar): 51.5cm
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