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Pro bike: Thor Hushovd's Cervélo TestTeam Cervélo R3 Paris-Roubaix

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Cervélo is sticking to its very well proven Paris-Roubaix formula for Thor Hushovd and the rest of the Cervélo TestTeam.

Cervélo is sticking to its very well proven Paris-Roubaix formula for Thor Hushovd and the rest of the Cervélo TestTeam.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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This sticker has been well earned with virtually identical bikes winning Paris-Roubaix on two occasions.

This sticker has been well earned with virtually identical bikes winning Paris-Roubaix on two occasions.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The fork is labeled as a standard 3T Funda Pro but the notably more generous clearance and more widely set fork blades tell us it's something different entirely.

The fork is labeled as a standard 3T Funda Pro but the notably more generous clearance and more widely set fork blades tell us it's something different entirely.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Zipp's latest 88 front hub features easily adjustable bearing preload.

Zipp's latest 88 front hub features easily adjustable bearing preload.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Hushovd will take another shot at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday though a string of recent illnesses may derail his attempt at a win.

Hushovd will take another shot at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday though a string of recent illnesses may derail his attempt at a win.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Hushovd will stick to Speedplay's standard Zero Stainless instead of the more minimal Paris-Roubaix special edition ones seen elsewhere.

Hushovd will stick to Speedplay's standard Zero Stainless instead of the more minimal Paris-Roubaix special edition ones seen elsewhere.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Zipp's latest 303 carbon tubulars are said to be more aerodynamic than its predecessor but more importantly for Paris-Roubaix, substantially stronger and more resistant to impact, too.

Zipp's latest 303 carbon tubulars are said to be more aerodynamic than its predecessor but more importantly for Paris-Roubaix, substantially stronger and more resistant to impact, too.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A fi'zi:k Arione CX saddle is bolted atop 3T's new Dorico setback seatpost.

A fi'zi:k Arione CX saddle is bolted atop 3T's new Dorico setback seatpost.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The R3's slender stays should lend a somewhat less abusive ride through the Arenberg.

The R3's slender stays should lend a somewhat less abusive ride through the Arenberg.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The familiar R3 seat tube transitions from a round profile up top to a more squared-off one towards the bottom bracket.

The familiar R3 seat tube transitions from a round profile up top to a more squared-off one towards the bottom bracket.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Aggressive milling of the backside of the chainring spider helps shave off a few grams.

Aggressive milling of the backside of the chainring spider helps shave off a few grams.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Hushovd's fork is built with a carbon fiber steerer.

Hushovd's fork is built with a carbon fiber steerer.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Hushovd will use balloon-like 27mm-wide Vittoria Pav

Hushovd will use balloon-like 27mm-wide Vittoria Pav
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Cervélo apparently isn't bothering with the full-length rear brake housing as in years past.

Cervélo apparently isn't bothering with the full-length rear brake housing as in years past.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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3T's Funda Pro fork normally uses carbon fiber dropouts but the ones on this Paris-Roubaix special are clearly machined aluminum

3T's Funda Pro fork normally uses carbon fiber dropouts but the ones on this Paris-Roubaix special are clearly machined aluminum
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The down tube bears Cervélo's trademark 'Squoval' shape.

The down tube bears Cervélo's trademark 'Squoval' shape.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) prefers the classic bend of 3T's Rotundo handlebar.

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) prefers the classic bend of 3T's Rotundo handlebar.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Rotor's BB1 bottom bracket uses conventional cups instead of the spherical sockets on its SABB.

Rotor's BB1 bottom bracket uses conventional cups instead of the spherical sockets on its SABB.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The longer crown-to-axle height stil barely allows the use of a standard-reach SRAM Red brake caliper.

The longer crown-to-axle height stil barely allows the use of a standard-reach SRAM Red brake caliper.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The SRAM Red cartridge holders are filled with older Shimano carbon-specific brake blocks.

The SRAM Red cartridge holders are filled with older Shimano carbon-specific brake blocks.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM's PG-1070 cassette is heavier than the PG-1090 model but also runs quieter and is less apt to clog with mud.

SRAM's PG-1070 cassette is heavier than the PG-1090 model but also runs quieter and is less apt to clog with mud.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Hushovd is using SRAM's latest PC-1091R chain with more heavily chamfered outer plates for quieter running.

Hushovd is using SRAM's latest PC-1091R chain with more heavily chamfered outer plates for quieter running.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Hushovd is running round rings instead of Rotor's elliptical Q-Rings but the etching style suggests that Rotor makes these as well.

Hushovd is running round rings instead of Rotor's elliptical Q-Rings but the etching style suggests that Rotor makes these as well.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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There's a good amount of clearance in the fork around the top - and especially to the sides - of the massive 27mm Vittoria tubulars.

There's a good amount of clearance in the fork around the top - and especially to the sides - of the massive 27mm Vittoria tubulars.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Clearance around the seat stay bridge is fairly generous as well considering the size of the rubber installed.

Clearance around the seat stay bridge is fairly generous as well considering the size of the rubber installed.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Hushovd will run reliable aluminum cockpit components for his run at this year's Paris-Roubaix. A CycleOps Cervo 2.4 computer will provide speed, time and distance information.

Hushovd will run reliable aluminum cockpit components for his run at this year's Paris-Roubaix. A CycleOps Cervo 2.4 computer will provide speed, time and distance information.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Rotor's 3D cranks use a unique longitudinal drilling pattern to create an effectively hollow structure.

Rotor's 3D cranks use a unique longitudinal drilling pattern to create an effectively hollow structure.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM says this Red/Force hybrid front derailleur is a standard line item on its OEM price sheet.

SRAM says this Red/Force hybrid front derailleur is a standard line item on its OEM price sheet.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A SRAM Red rear derailleur is affixed to a replaceable hanger.

A SRAM Red rear derailleur is affixed to a replaceable hanger.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A bit of electrical tape keeps the valve stem from rattling inside the rim.

A bit of electrical tape keeps the valve stem from rattling inside the rim.
(Image credit: James Huang)

Cervélo TestTeam's special R3 machines for Paris-Roubaix bear almost no difference from the bikes that the company has provided to its sponsored teams since 2006 – which in this case, is a good thing. After all, the only slightly modified frames boast an enviable track record with wins in both 2006 and 2007, a second-place finish in 2008, and another third place position last year on a similar RS model.

Save for a new paint scheme, Thor Hushovd's R3 is a virtual carbon copy of its predecessors with 10mm-longer chain stays and increased rake on the fork for a longer and more stable wheelbase that measures almost exactly a full meter. The longer stays also lend additional tire clearance out back while a wider fork crown accomplishes the same goal up front. Otherwise, Cervélo principal Gerard Vroomen says the carbon lay-up, tube shapes and angles are identical to those of the stock R3 that consumers can buy currently complete with the company's trademark 'Squoval' profiles and pencil-thin seat stays.

Cervélo TestTeam has made a switch in componentry, however, leaving behind the complete Shimano Dura-Ace 7800 package it used in the past and moving to SRAM Red. Notable exceptions from the full group on Hushovd's bike include the quieter and more mud-tolerant PG-1070 cassette, Shimano carbon-specific brake blocks, and the clever Rotor 3D crank that the Norwegian strong man helped inspire since he thought the Agilis model wasn't stiff enough.

Gearing is typical Paris-Roubaix with 53/44T chainrings matched to an 11-23T cassette and Hushovd's bike is also fitted with SRAM's latest PC-1091R chain with more aggressively chamfered outer plates for smoother running. Even though team sponsor Rotor makes a chain watcher, Hushovd goes without here – perhaps a habit gleaned from his old Crédit Agricole mechanic Pascal Ridel, who told us two years ago that the tight chainring spacing provided enough security.

Rolling duties are handled by Zipp's latest 303 carbon tubulars and giant 27mm-wide Vittoria Pavé Evo-CG tubulars, both specifically geared towards survival through Paris-Roubaix's notorious cobbles. In the case of the former, Zipp says the new rim's wider rim bed, larger-radius edges and revised fiber blend lend themselves to fewer pinch flats and rim breakages. As for the tires, their fine file tread may help provide a little extra grip on the slippery stones and when it comes to Paris-Roubaix, there's simply no substitute for air volume.

Unlike many riders in the peloton, Hushovd doesn't bother with additional padding for his hands or even double-wrapped bars – apparently the R3's relatively cushy ride and the big tires will suffice.

Finishing things off are an alloy traditional-bend handlebar, forged alloy stem and carbon seatpost from 3T, standard Speedplay Zero Stainless pedals, a fi'zi:k Arione CX k:ium saddle, a pair of trusty Elite Ciussi Gel bottle cages and a CycleOps Cervo 2.4 computer.

Some Paris-Roubaix bikes we've profiled have been inordinately heavy – over 8.2kg (18.1lb) in fact. Hushovd's bike, however, weighs in just barely above the UCI-mandated minimum at only 7.10kg (15.65lb) but given the flat parcours, weight ultimately doesn't matter quite as much as usual. Previous performances have shown this setup to be adequately durable, though, so little if anything has been lost in the gram-shaving process.

All things being equal the reduced mass certainly doesn't hurt and in Paris-Roubaix, every little bit helps.

Complete bike specifications: