Tour de Suisse: Bike mechanical costs Christian a shot at stage victory

Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) got himself into the early breakaway on the sixth stage at Tour de Suisse before a mechanical in the final 30 kilometres cost the Manxman a chance to contest the stage victory. He eventually crossed the line 2:16 back in 46th position.

Clearly frustrated at the finish line, the 27-year-old who is in his second year with the Pro Continental squad and currently leading the mountain classification at the Tour de Suisse, spoke with Cyclingnews, "[That's] probably the best legs I've ever had in a race and then the fucking bike just let us down again, I can't say any more about it, to be honest.

"I fucking… well I fancied myself do a top-10. It would have been the best result I've ever done, so I'm absolutely fuming, to be honest. I've never been so pissed off. You can write all that down as well."

In their second year as a team, Aqua Blue Sport switched from Ridley bikes to the 3T Strada bikes for the 2018 season. The 3T Strada is an aero frameset, available only with disc brakes and a 1X drivetrain system - which has not been seen before in the modern professional peloton.

While disc brakes are beginning to become more widely used in the professional peloton, each team that has opted to use them for the Tour de Suisse still has an option of racing a rim brake-equipped bike for a stage, should they wish.

Aside from the issues regarding larger gear jumps while racing with a 1X drivetrain, the mechanical for Christian on the stage looked to be a dropped chain.

Dropping the chain can happen on a traditional drivetrain with a front derailleur, and Christian's mechanical could be down to a number of factors - low clutch tension, a slightly too-long chain, the lack of a chain guide and a number of other reasons could all be to fault.

However, a rattling from the rear derailleur at the finish line suggests low clutch tension, or a failed clutch system, could have been the cause of the dropped chain and the reason Christian lost time.

Nicki Sorensen, a directeur sportif for the team, said at the finish line from his team car, "he just dropped a chain I think." When pushed if it was the rear derailleur that failed, he said he didn't know.

Cyclingnews understands the bikes have been unpopular amongst the Aqua Blue Sport riders since their implementation, and while they have taken one victory on the bike earlier this year, losing out on a chance of stage success at the same race where the team's first professional victory occurred last year will be a bitter pill to swallow.

Even team owner Rick Delaney complained on Twitter, saying "This lab rat thing is now costing results."

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