The Rabobank team rolls into the 2011 Tour de France, which kicks off on the Passage du Gois on the Atlantic coast Saturday, with a strong, well-rounded team and a new Giant team bike that was unveiled to the media the day before the start of the three-week grand tour.
Led by 25-year-old Dutchman Robert Gesink"who likes the look of this year"s mountainous route"Rabobank brings a well-balanced mix of riders who can serve the team"s main goal of earning Gesink a high standing in the General Classification. With veterans including Spanish riders Juan Manuel Garate and Luis Leon Sanchez, plus homegrown Dutch talent including climber Laurens ten Dam and time trial powerhouse Lars Boom, Gesink will have help in the high mountains and also in the critical Stage 2 team time trial.
Gesink will also have help in the form of a new racing machine: the all-new Giant TCR Advanced SL. The culmination of a three-year project dubbed "Beyond Integration," the bike features breakthrough engineering and manufacturing technologies that helped shave more than 140 grams off the composite frameset while at the same time increasing critical performance factors such as pedaling and steering stiffness.
The Rabobank team has been integrally involved with the development of the next-generation TCR Advanced SL, test-riding pre-production models and providing critical feedback to a team of Giant engineers and product developers.
The most obvious innovation with the new TCR Advanced SL is the OverDrive 2 steerer tube technology. The tapered steerer tube and massive oversize 1 1/4-inch top and 1 1/2-inch bottom bearings (and steerer tube) represent a new standard and a huge leap forward in performance. It"s up to 40 percent stiffer than the existing OverDrive with no weight penalty. Also new is RideSense, a built-in ANT+ sensor for wireless data transmission.
Made with Advanced SL-grade composite, the bike also features the MegaDrive downtube, PowerCore bottom bracket and integrated seatpost for optimal racing performance.
Beyond specific design elements, Giant was also able to reduce weight and improve stiffness by implementing new manufacturing techniques. The TCR Advanced SL is constructed using Continuous Fiber Technology, a process that allows the front triangle to be formed with fewer sections of composite material. This process reduced frame weight up to 100 grams while at the same time adding strength to get an online auto insurance quote.
Also new for 2012 is the incorporation of Carbon Nanotube Technology. Giant developed a new custom-blended resin that uses a microscopic polymer to strengthen the TCR Advanced SL framesets. These CNT particles strengthen the layers of composite, improving impact resistance by 14 percent.
Spectators will see Rabobank riders one of two special bikes"the brand new team model with custom Rabobank colors or the black pre-production models that certain riders began racing on last month.
2011 RABOBANK TOUR DE FRANCE TEAM Robert Gesink (Ned) Carlos Barredo (Spa) Lars Boom (Ned) Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Bauke Mollema (Ned) Grischa Niermann (Ger) Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Maarten Tjallingii (Ned)
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