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Pro Bike: Lance Armstrong's Team Radioshack Trek Madone 6 Series RVV

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Red anodized aluminum valve extenders peek out from behind the carbon rim fairings.

Red anodized aluminum valve extenders peek out from behind the carbon rim fairings.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's secondary bike sports a red grub seal on the Gore cable but his primary one is fitted with - what else - a yellow one.

Armstrong's secondary bike sports a red grub seal on the Gore cable but his primary one is fitted with - what else - a yellow one.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The internally routed cables maintain a clean appearance but also protect them from contamination.

The internally routed cables maintain a clean appearance but also protect them from contamination.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Team mechanics use this simple method to keep Armstrong's primary and secondary machines separate - though it really doesn't matter much as they're essentially identical.

Team mechanics use this simple method to keep Armstrong's primary and secondary machines separate - though it really doesn't matter much as they're essentially identical.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Naturally there's a 'LIVESTRONG' logo on the frame.

Naturally there's a 'LIVESTRONG' logo on the frame.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong has his usual Selle San Marco saddle on both bikes though the one on the primary rig is badged with the Mellow Johnny's logo.

Armstrong has his usual Selle San Marco saddle on both bikes though the one on the primary rig is badged with the Mellow Johnny's logo.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong is competing in his first Ronde van Vlaanderen since 2005.

Armstrong is competing in his first Ronde van Vlaanderen since 2005.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong is flying number 161 for today's race.

Armstrong is flying number 161 for today's race.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A longtime advocate of Shimano SPD-SL pedals, Armstrong made the switch to Look K

A longtime advocate of Shimano SPD-SL pedals, Armstrong made the switch to Look K
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A SRAM Red rear derailleur is bolted to a replaceable hanger.

A SRAM Red rear derailleur is bolted to a replaceable hanger.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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24mm-wide Hutchinson tubulars (inflate to just 87/90psi front/rear) are mounted to 50mm-deep Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 carbon rims.

24mm-wide Hutchinson tubulars (inflate to just 87/90psi front/rear) are mounted to 50mm-deep Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 carbon rims.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's trademark Selle San Marco Concor Lite saddles were often free of identifying logos in recent years but they're flown proudly now.

Armstrong's trademark Selle San Marco Concor Lite saddles were often free of identifying logos in recent years but they're flown proudly now.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong switched to an alloy bar for Flanders but stuck with a carbon stem.

Armstrong switched to an alloy bar for Flanders but stuck with a carbon stem.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A Force steel cage is spliced on to the Red front derailleur for additional stiffness and presumably faster shifting.

A Force steel cage is spliced on to the Red front derailleur for additional stiffness and presumably faster shifting.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Lance Armstrong's Team Radioshack Trek Madone 6 Series is ready to go just two hours prior to the start of the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Lance Armstrong's Team Radioshack Trek Madone 6 Series is ready to go just two hours prior to the start of the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The additional tire clearance at the crown would be wholly unnoticeable were it not for the giveaway on the front brake: the pads are set several millimeters lower than usual.

The additional tire clearance at the crown would be wholly unnoticeable were it not for the giveaway on the front brake: the pads are set several millimeters lower than usual.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The SRAM Red DoubleTap levers are set high on Armstrong's signature Variable Radius-bend Bontrager handlebars.

The SRAM Red DoubleTap levers are set high on Armstrong's signature Variable Radius-bend Bontrager handlebars.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's usual carbon bar is replaced for the spring classics with an aluminum version.

Armstrong's usual carbon bar is replaced for the spring classics with an aluminum version.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Bars are first cushioned with Bontrager Isogel padding then double wrapped with Bontrager cork tape.

Bars are first cushioned with Bontrager Isogel padding then double wrapped with Bontrager cork tape.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Trek's BB90 direct-fit bottom bracket system allows for an extra-wide down tube and broadly spaced chain stays.

Trek's BB90 direct-fit bottom bracket system allows for an extra-wide down tube and broadly spaced chain stays.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong has long preferred the Trek Bat Cage for its secure bottle holding ability.

Armstrong has long preferred the Trek Bat Cage for its secure bottle holding ability.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's bike is fitted with SRAM's quieter-running and more mud-tolerant PG-1070 cassette. Other team bikes are fitted with the PG-1090 PowerDome model.

Armstrong's bike is fitted with SRAM's quieter-running and more mud-tolerant PG-1070 cassette. Other team bikes are fitted with the PG-1090 PowerDome model.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM's new PC-1091R chain features more aggressive chamfering for quieter running.

SRAM's new PC-1091R chain features more aggressive chamfering for quieter running.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Tire clearance at the fork crown is noticeably increased over standard Madones.

Tire clearance at the fork crown is noticeably increased over standard Madones.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Rear clearance appears to be typical of production items.

Rear clearance appears to be typical of production items.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The Bontrager Node 1 wireless computer displays critical information in an easy-to-read format.

The Bontrager Node 1 wireless computer displays critical information in an easy-to-read format.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Armstrong's 175mm-long SRAM Red crankarms are fitted with 53/39T chainrings.

Armstrong's 175mm-long SRAM Red crankarms are fitted with 53/39T chainrings.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The Bontrager Node 1 wireless speed and cadence sensor is tucked inside the non-driveside chain stay.

The Bontrager Node 1 wireless speed and cadence sensor is tucked inside the non-driveside chain stay.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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(Image credit: James Huang)

Lance Armstrong (Team Radioshack) returned to the Ronde van Vlaanderen after a four-year hiatus, again on a Trek Madone but one that is a far cry from the one he used back in 2005.

Armstrong's latest 58cm Pro Fit Madone 6 Series frame is essentially identical to the one he usually uses on the road with the same tapered front end, directly molded-in bearing seats at the head tube and bottom bracket, extra wide down tube and chain stay spacing, and novel no-cut integrated seat mast. Internally routed control lines yield a cleaner look but in this case also lend greater protection from contamination, especially in combination with the sealed SRAM Professional System by Gore sealed cable set.

One critical – but very subtle – difference we noted was a few millimeters more tire clearance up front between the tire and fork crown in case of mud and Armstrong was reported to be the only Radioshack rider using it today.

When questioned, Trek team liaison Ben Coates was quick to point out that while the Ronde van Vlaanderen-special fork wasn't exactly a consumer item, it "came from stock parts" – presumably using fork tips from another Trek model and apparently said in reference to the UCI technical rule stating that prototype materials can't be used in competition.

Additional changes were similarly subtle but otherwise limited to componentry. To help with the unrelentingly pounding cobbles, alloy Bontrager Race Lite handlebars were swapped in for Armstrong's usual carbon fiber Race XXX Lite model, then double wrapped with Bontrager cork tape and cushioned with Bontrager Isogel padding.

Interestingly, Armstrong also chose to run his familiar Bontrager Aeolus 5.0 carbon tubular wheels instead of the aluminum box-section wheels used by his teammates but wrapped around them were the standard-issue 24mm-wide Hutchinson tubulars. Drenchingly wet conditions prior to the start prompted comparatively low 87/90psi front/rear inflation pressures for better traction on the wet cobbles but improving weather may have prompted a change later on.

Armstrong recently switched from his long-running Shimano SPD-SL pedals in favor of Look KéO Blades to facilitate emergency bike changes with his otherwise Look-equipped teammates though his drivetrain still displayed a unique spec. Instead of the team-issue PG-1090 PowerDome cassette, Armstrong was using the heavier – but quieter-running – PG-1070 model, along with the revised PC-1090R chain with more aggressive chamfering for reduced noise as used by all SRAM riders in De Ronde.

Ride position has changed little from recent years save for some minor saddle adjustment: height has gone up to 758mm and setback has decreased to 70mm.

As for the total bike weight, we'd love to tell you but weren't permitted to take a reading on our scale. According to Trek team liaison Ben Coates, the team would prefer that its competition not get more information on its bikes than necessary and also doesn't want its riders to worry if they're right on the cusp of the UCI-mandated 6.8kg limit.

Along those same lines, Team Radioshack seemingly doesn't want the competition to know too much about its riders' physical conditions, either, as we also weren't able to obtain Armstrong's current body weight for our associated rider profile. "I don't have that info," said recently hired team physiologist Allen Lim.

Armstrong says he was here at De Ronde not to vie for the win but rather test himself and his equipment plus learn more about how the peloton behaves on the cobbles in preparation for July's Tour de France. Nevertheless, he always made sure he was safely near the front as usual – even attacking with 50km to go – and did a good job of staying out of trouble, earning a 27th place finish to boot. Not exactly bad for a 'training race', eh?

Complete bike specifications: