All of Canyon's sponsored athletes have been forced to switch bikes after Van der Poel's handlebar inexplicably snapped during the final stages of Le Samyn, leaving the Dutchman needing to throw away a portion of his bars, and complete the race with his shifter hanging by the cables.
Prior to the race, it was rumoured that Van der Poel and his teammates would switch to Canyon's lightweight race bike, the Ultimate, which shares the same top-spec CFR carbon layup as his preferred Aeroad race bike. However, once the race began, it became clear that Van der Poel was aboard an Aeroad.
Cyclingnews originally reported that the frame was the Aeroad CF SL, the budget-spec frame that follows the same lines and tube profiles of its more expensive sibling, due to the cable entry ports featured on the shoulder of the head tube.
However, in a post on Instagram, Canyon has admitted that Van der Poel did in fact ride an 'adapted version' of the top-spec Aeroad CFR.
"Mathieu won today riding an adapted Aeroad CFR that was equipped with our CP00010 cockpit," the Canyon statement read. "This setup will continue to be raced by our teams while we investigate the incident with the CP00015 and CP00018 cockpits that emerged with Mathieu’s bike at Le Samyn on Tuesday."
The adaptations mentioned are undoubtedly the addition of cable entry ports in the frame, and a likely fork switch to that used on the CF SL. Whether it was a Canyon engineer or team mechanics that carried out the adaptations is unconfirmed, but Canyon has confirmed that all of its sponsored teams will continue to use the adapted Aeroad CFR.
The decision to adapt the frame to accept a non-conventional cockpit system goes a long way to shed light on the importance of aerodynamics versus weight for Van der Poel. Many of his teammates, as well as various riders from Canyon's other sponsored teams, Movistar and Arkea Samsic, used the pre-existing Canyon Ultimate CFR, in what would have undoubtedly been a much more straightforward solution.
The weight of the Aeroad CFR frame is quoted by Canyon to be 915g, while the hyper-lightweight figure of 614g is quoted for the Ultimate CFR. We're not aware of any aero tests that directly compare the new Aeroad frame shape with that of the Ultimate, but the difference is clearly significant enough for the Dutchman.
With Van der Poel riding the bike on the WorldTour stage, Canyon also took the opportunity to reaffirm the ongoing stop-ride notice: "Taking the responsible steps for the safety of all riders, we have contacted the owners of Aeroad CFR and Aeroad CF SLX models equipped with the CP00018 or CP00015 cockpits, requesting they stop riding their bikes while we fully investigate the issue at the shifter clamping interface on the bars." The statement continued. "We will update them again informing of any progress and clear next steps in due course."
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