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Pro bike: Lars Boom's Rabobank Giant TCX Advanced SL

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Former cyclo-cross world champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) went to his familiar roots, running a Giant TCX Advanced SL at this year's Paris-Roubaix.

Former cyclo-cross world champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) went to his familiar roots, running a Giant TCX Advanced SL at this year's Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rabobank team mechanics added an inline adjuster for the front derailleur cable on Lars Boom's TCX Advanced SL.

Rabobank team mechanics added an inline adjuster for the front derailleur cable on Lars Boom's TCX Advanced SL. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Giant cleverly uses the internal routing as a structural element on the tapered head tube.

Giant cleverly uses the internal routing as a structural element on the tapered head tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom's (Rabobank) new Giro Aeon helmet hangs off of the stem just before heading out on a short ride the day before Paris-Roubaix.

Lars Boom's (Rabobank) new Giro Aeon helmet hangs off of the stem just before heading out on a short ride the day before Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) opted for the mechanical Dura-Ace version instead of the electronic one. Team officials said he thought the shift buttons were too sensitive on the cobbles.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) opted for the mechanical Dura-Ace version instead of the electronic one. Team officials said he thought the shift buttons were too sensitive on the cobbles. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The custom low-profile arms on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL offer more braking power and finer modulation than wide-profile models.

The custom low-profile arms on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL offer more braking power and finer modulation than wide-profile models. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Shimano Dura-Ace rear derailleur is affixed to a replaceable aluminum hanger and an aluminum dropout.

The Shimano Dura-Ace rear derailleur is affixed to a replaceable aluminum hanger and an aluminum dropout. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Giant claims that offsetting the seat stays and top tube allows for more flex in the seat tube for increased rider comfort on rough terrain.

Giant claims that offsetting the seat stays and top tube allows for more flex in the seat tube for increased rider comfort on rough terrain. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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There's definitely a changing tide in the Paris-Roubaix peloton in regards to carbon fiber wheels. More riders than ever have deemed them durable enough to race on the cobbles - but only if they're paired with fat tubular tires.

There's definitely a changing tide in the Paris-Roubaix peloton in regards to carbon fiber wheels. More riders than ever have deemed them durable enough to race on the cobbles - but only if they're paired with fat tubular tires. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) planted himself on a fi'zi:k Arione CX saddle.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) planted himself on a fi'zi:k Arione CX saddle. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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fi'zi:k offers its sponsored athletes a wide range of options for saddles. Here, Lars Boom (Rabobank) has chosen a Arione CX with a nylon shell and k:ium rails.

fi'zi:k offers its sponsored athletes a wide range of options for saddles. Here, Lars Boom (Rabobank) has chosen a Arione CX with a nylon shell and k:ium rails. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The integrated seatmast allows Giant to run the rear brake line directly through the top tube.

The integrated seatmast allows Giant to run the rear brake line directly through the top tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This year's parcours could have been covered in slippery, sticky mud but it's unlikely it would have kept Lars Boom's (Rabobank) bike from continuing to roll given the massive clearances all around.

This year's parcours could have been covered in slippery, sticky mud but it's unlikely it would have kept Lars Boom's (Rabobank) bike from continuing to roll given the massive clearances all around. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Like many racers at Paris-Roubaix, Lars Boom (Rabobank) had the key secteurs of pave marked on his top tube for reference.

Like many racers at Paris-Roubaix, Lars Boom (Rabobank) had the key secteurs of pave marked on his top tube for reference. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom's (Rabobank) tires weren't marked nor would team officials disclose their maker but they look like Dugast's Paris-Roubaix tread glued on to 30mm-wide casings.

Lars Boom's (Rabobank) tires weren't marked nor would team officials disclose their maker but they look like Dugast's Paris-Roubaix tread glued on to 30mm-wide casings. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Giant integrates no crazy shaping into the TCX Advanced SL top tube, preferring just a wide and gently tapering form that helps maintain a stiff front end.

Giant integrates no crazy shaping into the TCX Advanced SL top tube, preferring just a wide and gently tapering form that helps maintain a stiff front end. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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While Lars Boom ran his familiar Giant TCX Advanced SL 'cross bike, the rest of the Rabobank team used slightly modified versions of the TCR Advanced SL road bike.

While Lars Boom ran his familiar Giant TCX Advanced SL 'cross bike, the rest of the Rabobank team used slightly modified versions of the TCR Advanced SL road bike. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) gets his own personalized graphic on the head tube of his Giant TCX Advanced SL. ”Boom” means “tree” in Dutch.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) gets his own personalized graphic on the head tube of his Giant TCX Advanced SL. ”Boom” means “tree” in Dutch. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) used an anatomic-bend PRO handlebar for his run at Paris-Roubaix.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) used an anatomic-bend PRO handlebar for his run at Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Giant's PowerCore bottom bracket design features press-fit cups that allow for wider frame tubes.

Giant's PowerCore bottom bracket design features press-fit cups that allow for wider frame tubes. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The down tube is offset slightly to the non-driveside in order to make the most of the available real estate on the bottom bracket.

The down tube is offset slightly to the non-driveside in order to make the most of the available real estate on the bottom bracket. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rabobank's Lars Boom ran a cantilever-equipped 'cross bike to get more clearance not for mud but for his preferred 30mm-wide tires.

Rabobank's Lars Boom ran a cantilever-equipped 'cross bike to get more clearance not for mud but for his preferred 30mm-wide tires. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom's brakes are lightweight with compact, low-profile arms, yet still include handy centering adjustments.

Lars Boom's brakes are lightweight with compact, low-profile arms, yet still include handy centering adjustments. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A deep-drop hanger eases cable routing on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL.

A deep-drop hanger eases cable routing on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ball-joint sockets on the pad holders allow for toe-in and tilt adjustments.

Ball-joint sockets on the pad holders allow for toe-in and tilt adjustments. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) used standard Tacx Tao aluminum cages on his Giant TCX Advanced SL.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) used standard Tacx Tao aluminum cages on his Giant TCX Advanced SL. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Tight 11-23T spacing on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL for Paris-Roubaix.

Tight 11-23T spacing on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL for Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Shimano now makes matched chainrings in more Paris-Roubaix-friendly ratios, like the 53/44T combination that Lars Boom (Rabobank) used on Sunday.

Shimano now makes matched chainrings in more Paris-Roubaix-friendly ratios, like the 53/44T combination that Lars Boom (Rabobank) used on Sunday. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) used an aluminum bar and a carbon-wrapped stem - both by PRO - for Paris-Roubaix.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) used an aluminum bar and a carbon-wrapped stem - both by PRO - for Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Shimano Dura-Ace crank, pedals, front derailleur and chain glisten in the sun before getting coated in dust at Paris-Roubaix.

Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Shimano Dura-Ace crank, pedals, front derailleur and chain glisten in the sun before getting coated in dust at Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The rectangular MegaDrive down tube on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL is notably wide at the head tube and only gets wider as it moves toward the bottom bracket.

The rectangular MegaDrive down tube on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL is notably wide at the head tube and only gets wider as it moves toward the bottom bracket. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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There's easily a finger's width of room on all sides of the front tire on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL, even with a bulbous 30mm casing.

There's easily a finger's width of room on all sides of the front tire on Lars Boom's (Rabobank) Giant TCX Advanced SL, even with a bulbous 30mm casing. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Shimano Dura-Ace hubs feature forged aluminum bodies and straight-pull bladed stainless steel spokes.

The Shimano Dura-Ace hubs feature forged aluminum bodies and straight-pull bladed stainless steel spokes. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rabobank's go-to Paris-Roubaix machines - slightly modified Giant TCR Advanced SLs - can handle up to 27mm-wide tires but Lars Boom wanted to go bigger.

Rabobank's go-to Paris-Roubaix machines - slightly modified Giant TCR Advanced SLs - can handle up to 27mm-wide tires but Lars Boom wanted to go bigger. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

The modified Giant TCR Advanced SL machines that Rabobank typically uses at Paris-Roubaix can already accommodate big 27mm-wide tubular tires for extra cushioning on the pavé. But for former cyclo-cross world champion Lars Boom, bigger is better.

Boom instead decided to use his familiar Giant TCX Advanced SL carbon 'cross bike, which had more than enough room for the even more voluminous 30mm-wide tubulars he wanted to use to help him float across the cobbles. Team officials wouldn't comment on the exact make and model of tire Boom was using - they clearly weren't sponsor-correct Vittorias - but the tread design and overall appearance suggested to us that they came from Dugast. Team mechanics did say, though, that Boom ran inflation pressures of just 72psi.

Armed with the bigger tires' extra cushioning, Boom also passed over the traditional box-section aluminum tubular wheels of his teammates in favor of Shimano's now discontinued 24mm-deep Dura-Ace carbon tubulars. As a result, Boom's bike actually ended up being a full 500g lighter than other Rabobank bikes with an actual weight as pictured here of 7.39kg (16.29lb) - definitely more in keeping with some of the lighter Paris-Roubaix we profiled this year.

Like a few other Shimano-sponsored riders who normally run Dura-Ace Di2 on their everyday race machines, Boom switched to the mechanical version for Paris-Roubaix despite the system's increased susceptibility to housing contamination and longer shift lever throws. According to team mechanics, Boom felt that Di2's super-short button throws were too sensitive when his fingers were bouncing around on the pavé and didn't want to run the risk of a mis-shift during the race.

Typical Paris-Roubaix tweaks to the otherwise standard Dura-Ace 7900 group include 53/44T gearing (which Shimano now offers in matched sets to retain the stock setup's superb shift performance) and a tight-ratio 11-23T cassette to better suit the flat parcours. Noteworthy is the fact that unlike many other racers that day, Boom went without a chain watcher.

Shimano of course doesn't make Dura-Ace cantilever brakes, though, so Giant and Rabobank instead commissioned lightweight aluminum brakes - anodized in team orange and blue colors - from one of its prototype suppliers in Taiwan.

"These are new prototypes [done by] the same guy who makes the time trial brakes for us (Giant and Rabobank), the "standard" 'cross brakes for the Rabo team, and some other parts and projects with us," said team technical director Andy Wollny. "It's a small Taiwanese company - no big name, but very flexible and always able to help me to make special parts in a short time."

Boom's brakes feature simple dual-aluminum plate construction with no frills like spring covers or fancy hardware to keep the weight low. Ball-joint cartridge holders and slotted arms allow for proper pad placement, though, and tidy set screws are on hand for easy and precise centering. The low-profile configuration also produces more power than the wide-profile brakes Boom usually uses for 'cross, too.

Boom's bike is finished with PRO's Vibe carbon-wrapped stem and PLT Anatomic aluminum handlebar, Shimano Dura-Ace PD-7810 aluminum-bodied pedals, an FSA headset, a fi'zi:k Arione CX saddle, and a pair of Tacx Tao cages.

Boom ultimately finished 12th on the day.

This article first appeared here on BikeRadar.

Complete bike specifications:

Frame: Giant TCX Advanced SL, size L/56.5cm
Fork: Giant TCX Advanced SL, 1 1/8"-to-1 1/4" tapered
Headset: FSA Orbit integrated, 1 1/8"-to-1 1/4" tapered
Stem: PRO Vibe, 130 x -6°
Handlebars: PRO PLT Anatomic, 42cm (c-c)
Tape/grips: PRO cork
Front brake: Rabobank custom aluminum cantilever by Giant w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
Rear brake: Rabobank custom aluminum cantilever by Giant w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900-F
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 175mm, 53/44T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-7800-P
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7850-C24-TU
Front tire: Custom Dugast Paris-Roubaix tubular, 30mm
Rear tire: Custom Dugast Paris-Roubaix tubular, 30mm
Saddle: fi'zi:k Arione CX k:ium
Seat post: integrated
Bottle cages: Tacx Tao (2)
Computer: n/a

Critical measurements:

Rider's height: 1.91m (6' 3")
Rider's weight: 78kg (172lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 817mm
Saddle setback: 77mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 554mm
Seat tube length, c-c: 543mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 604mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 134mm
Head tube length: 175mm
Top tube length: 575mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.39kg (16.29lb)