Victor Campenaerts has been unmissable so far this Classics season. Though he’s yet to get a stand-out result, the Belgian has been an instigator of the action in the biggest races of the year. Previously a time-trial specialist, Campenaerts is constantly hoping that one of his attacks will pay off and he’ll go solo to the finish line. His Lotto-Soudal team bike will be a key vehicle in helping him achieve his goal. With an aggressive aerodynamic position and huge chainrings, it is optimised to assist a lone, long-range effort.
After the Lotto-Soudal rider’s recon of the Hell of the North, we were able to get a close-up look at his Ridley Noah team bike and were taken aback by just how severe his position really is. As the UCI bans aero tucks such as ‘puppy paws’ Campenaerts and his mechanics have adjusted his bike as much as possible to aid the Belgian in getting as low and narrow as possible on the road.
Campenaerts' narrow handlebars had the Shimano Dura-Ace shifters pointed aggressively inwards, using a Deda bar and stem combination alongside an aero mount for his head unit. Lizard Skins bar tape finished off the cockpit set-up.
The other striking feature of Campenaerts’ bike was his huge 58T chainring. After Dwars door Vlaanderen, other riders commented that they were unable to follow the Belgian on the descents due to the huge gear (in contrast, Tom Pidcock rides a 53T chainring). The gear ratio also aids a smoother chain line for maximum efficiency. We’re liking the gold chain too, maximum bling.
The Belgian rider was running 30c Vittoria Corsa Control tyres in a tubeless set-up, maxing out the clearance on his Ridley. The team mechanics likely made this call due to the dry weather forecast for Paris-Roubaix this year. Interestingly, Campenaerts was riding Continental GP5000 tyres at the Tour of Flanders a few weeks ago, despite Vittoria being named as sponsors for Lotto Soudal. Campenaerts' is using shallower DT Swiss wheels than he did at the Tour of Flanders too, opting for a 50mm rather than 62mm rim depth.