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Race tech: Cannondale previews new Slice time trial machine in Colorado Springs

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Ivan Basso (Liquigas) runs a 10mm armrest spacer on his Vision Vector aerobars.

Ivan Basso (Liquigas) runs a 10mm armrest spacer on his Vision Vector aerobars. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cannondale looks to have built a neat cable interface into the top of its new Slice. Exactly how the cables are routed underneath the cap is a mystery at this point but the setup does keep housing length to a minimum while being seemingly easier to manage from a mechanic's standpoint versus other top competitors.

Cannondale looks to have built a neat cable interface into the top of its new Slice. Exactly how the cables are routed underneath the cap is a mystery at this point but the setup does keep housing length to a minimum while being seemingly easier to manage from a mechanic's standpoint versus other top competitors. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Specifically placed pen marks on the top of the saddle make for more accurate fore-aft positioning.

Specifically placed pen marks on the top of the saddle make for more accurate fore-aft positioning. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The seat cluster on Cannondale's latest Slice looks especially sleek.

The seat cluster on Cannondale's latest Slice looks especially sleek. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Note the pocket inside the wheel cutout on Cannondale's new Slice.

Note the pocket inside the wheel cutout on Cannondale's new Slice. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This is what the wind sees as it approaches the seat stays on Cannondale's new Slice.

This is what the wind sees as it approaches the seat stays on Cannondale's new Slice. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The seat stays on Cannondale's new Slice hug the rear wheel before making a quick turn outward to the dropout.

The seat stays on Cannondale's new Slice hug the rear wheel before making a quick turn outward to the dropout. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Last year's smoothly curving seat tube has changed into a much more angular bit on the new Cannondale Slice.

Last year's smoothly curving seat tube has changed into a much more angular bit on the new Cannondale Slice. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The new Cannondale Slice's perfectly upright "Naero-Tec Post" is indeed very narrow but also very short front-to-back so as comply with the UCI's 3:1 rule.

The new Cannondale Slice's perfectly upright "Naero-Tec Post" is indeed very narrow but also very short front-to-back so as comply with the UCI's 3:1 rule. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cannondale includes an aero-shaped faceplate on its new Slice time trial bike.

Cannondale includes an aero-shaped faceplate on its new Slice time trial bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Rear-facing horizontal dropouts on the new Cannondale Slice allow the rear wheel to stick very closely to the profiled seat tube cutout.

Rear-facing horizontal dropouts on the new Cannondale Slice allow the rear wheel to stick very closely to the profiled seat tube cutout. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear mini-V brake - which looks to have been made for Cannondale by TRP - is hidden from the wind behind the bottom bracket.

The rear mini-V brake - which looks to have been made for Cannondale by TRP - is hidden from the wind behind the bottom bracket. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ivan Basso's (Liquigas) new Cannondale Slice is fitted with straight extensions.

Ivan Basso's (Liquigas) new Cannondale Slice is fitted with straight extensions. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cannondale looks to have retained the company's long-running BB30 integrated bottom bracket for the new Slice

Cannondale looks to have retained the company's long-running BB30 integrated bottom bracket for the new Slice (Image credit: James Huang)
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An SRM power meter is attached to the Cannondale Hollowgram SL crankarms.

An SRM power meter is attached to the Cannondale Hollowgram SL crankarms. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cannondale's latest Slice time trial machine switches to an external steerer for '12.

Cannondale's latest Slice time trial machine switches to an external steerer for '12. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Brakes are now neatly integrated on the new Cannondale Slice.

Brakes are now neatly integrated on the new Cannondale Slice. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The front brake arms are almost perfectly blended into the rest of the fork shape. The cable is fed down the center of the steerer tube so no housing is exposed to the wind.

The front brake arms are almost perfectly blended into the rest of the fork shape. The cable is fed down the center of the steerer tube so no housing is exposed to the wind. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cannondale broke out its new Slice time trial frame for Ivan Basso (Liquigas) at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Cannondale broke out its new Slice time trial frame for Ivan Basso (Liquigas) at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cannondale was long overdue for a new time trial frame but this new Slice looks to have been worth the wait.

Cannondale was long overdue for a new time trial frame but this new Slice looks to have been worth the wait. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Just like up front, the rear brake is perfectly blended into the rest of the frame structure.

Just like up front, the rear brake is perfectly blended into the rest of the frame structure. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The public may not have seen much of Cannondale's new Slice but the company has done its due diligence and gained approval from the UCI.

The public may not have seen much of Cannondale's new Slice but the company has done its due diligence and gained approval from the UCI. (Image credit: James Huang)

Cannondale is finally set to replace its long-running Slice time trial bike with a striking new model that will piloted by Liquigas team captain Ivan Basso in this Monday's inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge. A far cry from its predecessor, this latest Slice not only sports a more aggressive, angular shape but also a higher level of component integration and presumably a lower drag coefficient for faster times.

One of the biggest changes is the new external fork steerer similar to those used by Felt, Look, and Scott. In addition to lending additional front-end stiffness, the stouter arrangement also allows for narrower headset bearings to decrease frontal area. For the same reason, the stem now sits inline with the level top tube.

The seat tube shaping has been dramatically changed as well with its more angular shape terminating in a curious tailcone that Cannondale will invariably claim reduces drag once more official information is released. Up top is a new "Naero-Tec Post" that is indeed very narrow but also very shallow from front-to-back – likely to comply with the UCI's 3:1 maximum allowable cross-section depth.

Whereas the previous Slice was starting to look decidedly yesteryear with its conventional brakes and mostly exposed cable routing, this latest version has righted that situation and then some. Both the front and rear brakes – which look to be made by TRP – are now neatly integrated and proprietary to the Slice with the front linear-pull calipers tucked behind the fork crown and the rear arms hidden down below the chain stays just behind the bottom bracket.

Even the cable routing has been well thought out with the front line coming down directly through the center of the steerer tube and the rear sprouting out the center of the down tube.

Speaking of routing, Cannondale's engineers have devised a novel setup up on top of the fork with all four control lines feeding into a sort of steerer cap 'hub'. We were unable to get a response from Cannondale officials before this was published so exactly how the cables are routed underneath is still a mystery but the setup leaves minimal housing exposed – and what does reside outside the frame is all hidden behind the aerobars so there should be negligible aero costs. Moreover, all of these short sections of housing rotate with the bars so while mechanics clearly need to trim the lines carefully, they don't have to leave any excess to account for turning.

We weren't able to get frameset weight information from the Liquigas mechanics but Basso's complete Slice as pictured here was 8.92kg (19.67lb) – hardly considered svelte and curiously, exactly the same weight as his 2009 setup. In fairness, though, Basso's latest rig was fitted with a clincher Mavic disc rear wheel and steel spindles in his Speedplay Zero pedals so we expect the full-blown race version to be a bit lighter and if this new Slice is as big an improvement in terms of aerodynamics as it appears, the weight won't matter much anyway.

This article appeared first on BikeRadar.com.