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1X drivetrains come to the WorldTour at cobbled Classics

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) lined up in Gent, Belgium for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad equipped with a 1X drivetrain setup.

The Danish rider - who finished second at last year's Tour of Flanders - started the first cobbled Classic of 2019 aboard a Trek Madone Disc. The bike was running the new SRAM RED eTap AXS 12-speed groupset, with Pedersen opting to race without a front derailleur and a single 48-tooth chainring.

Pedersen's Trek-Segafredo teammates, Katusha-Alpecin, CCC-Liv and Canyon-SRAM were all using the new 12-speed groupset from SRAM, however, on the start line it appeared that just Pedersen was running the 1X setup.

The extra cog on the rear cassette from the 12-speed groupset allows for a similar gear range as traditional double chainring combination of 53/11 using just a single chainring and with less extreme jumps than previous 1X drivetrains.

Pedersen told Cyclingnews on the start line in Gent that he had combined a 10-33 cassette with a 48-tooth chainring for the race. The gear range ratios are similar to a 53x11 and 39x27 double setup, albeit with the 12-gear steps slightly further apart.

The short and sharp hellingen climbs around Flanders suit powerful riders, however, and with the longest climb of this year's Omloop Het Niuewsblad only 1,268 metres long, it is unlikely Pedersen will really notice the missing gears during the race.

The now-defunct Professional Continental squad Aqua Blue Sport were the first modern professional cycling team to commit to 1X drivetrains during last season. The implementation of the technology did not run smoothly though, with mechanicals occasionally ending race opportunities for the team.

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