Romain Bardet, like the rest of the cycling – and wider – world, is currently undertaking unprecedented social distancing and self-isolation measures in order to stop the spread of coronavirus. Cycling has been banned in Bardet's home country, France, itself an incomprehensible step in what is arguably the cycling capital of the World, and home to the biggest cycling race of the year, the Tour de France.
We caught up with Bardet before the 2020 season came to its abrupt hiatus and spent some time with his race bike, the Eddy Merckx Stockeu69. For the foreseeable future, the lightweight bike will be providing a different service: hooked up to a turbo trainer and plugged into Zwift, but let's delve into the details of the AG2R La Mondiale team-issue bike that Bardet hopes to ride again this year.
Romain Bardet's Eddy Merckx Stockeu69
With the eye-watering velocity at which new technology is filtering up from end-user preference and onto the bikes of the WorldTour pros, the Eddy Merckx Stockeu69 foregoes those marginal gains in favour of traditional style. If you were to believe various brands' marketing departments, you might assume that Bardet's bike is completely unrideable. Just look at that frame shape: there are no dropped seat stays, the tubing is round, there's no D-shaped seatpost and the cables are left to billow wildly in the wind.
There's not a tubeless tyre in sight, instead, Bardet's bike is fitted with primitive tyre technology called tubulars (remember them?) which are absolutely sponsor-correct. Honest. Nothing to see here, move along please, no black pens were harmed in the colouring-in of these Continental Pro Ltd tubs.
Finally, the bike is fitted with an ancient form of stopping power you might've read about called the rim brake - more commonly seen on the bikes that your grandfather would ride.
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However, against all probable assumption, Cyclingnews can report that Bardet's bike does in fact work just fine. It was ridden to 2nd place on general classification at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var in February. Perhaps this is a true testament to his ability, or perhaps it's a reminder that the bike in your garage is just fine, and that when all this blows over, we should all get together and enjoy a ride, whatever bike you own.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Romain Bardet's Eddy Merckx Stockeu69
Romain Bardet's Eddy Merckx Stockeu69 full bike specifications
Frameset: Eddy Merkckx Stockeu69
Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 rim brake
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 rim brake
Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9100, 11-30T
Chain: KMC X11-SL Gold
Crankset: Rotor 2InPower power meter crankset, NoQ chainrings 53/39T
Wheelset: Mavic Comete Pro Carbon SL
Tyres race day: Vredestein Fortezza Senso Tri tubular
Tyres shown: Continental Pro Ltd tubular
Handlebars: Deda Alanera integrated bar/stem, 42cm
Handlebar tape: Lizard Skins
Stem: Deda Alanera integrated bar/stem, 140mm
Pedals: Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic Ti
Saddle: Fizik Arione 00
Seat post: Deda Superleggero, 25mm set back
Bottle cages: Elite Vico Custom Race Plus
Accessories: K-Edge number holder
Computer: Garmin Edge 530, not shown
Rider height: 1.82m
Seat height (from bottom bracket at centre): 760mm
Saddle nose to handlebars (at stem): 610mm
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