Look time trial bikes, which took a black eye a few years ago with some weak forks, pulled off the ultimate Tour victory – an entire team winning a stage on them. This, the day after Laurent Jalabert notched a win with a Look road bike, and two days after Stuart O’Grady took over the yellow jersey riding yet another.
There are more Look bikes in this Tour than any other make, as four teams (Credit Agricole, Kelme, Big MAT and CSC) are riding them. That puts Look ahead of Pinarello, which has three teams (Telekom, iBanesto and Fassa Bortolo), and Colnago, which has two (Rabobank and Mapei). But who could have predicted how well some of Look’s teams would be doing against the powerhouses riding Pinarellos and Colnagos? Look’s big-name CSC team was starting to look like a washup akin to Colnago’s COAST formation until yesterday’s victory by Jalabert, and Look picked well with Credit Agricole.
The Look KG 396 CLM frame is molded in one piece out of carbon fiber and is the same design as the KG 396 frame that won six medals (four of them gold) on the track in Sidney. (CLM stands for “Contre La Montre,” French for “time trial.”) The frame comes in four sizes, XS, S, M and L and is claimed to weigh 2.4-2.7kg (5.3-5.9 pounds), with fork. The fork is hinged off the front of the frame, mounting above and below the head tube and presenting a sharp edge to the wind.
Credit Agricole’s aero’ bikes were equipped with Cinelli bars and Fir deep-section front spoked wheels and flat rear discs. The green and white riders looked to be more together in terms of equipment as well as in riding speed than all but a couple of teams. They all had shoe covers and aero’ helmets, and the team car was loaded with spare time trial bikes. Many of the teams had riders with bare heads, caps and headbands among those in aero’ helmets, a mixture of riders with and without shoe covers, a mixture of different types of wheels, and support cars loaded with standard road bikes.
ONCE is another together organization followed by a team vehicle bristling with spare time trial bikes equipped the same as the ones being ridden. It used HED3 front wheels with Campagnolo Ghibli discs on the rear. It’s sloping-top-tube Giant TCR aluminum frames had the trademark Giant adjustable stems and aero’ seatposts held in by double binder bolts pointed in opposing directions. Its bars are Cinelli down-slung wings.
The Look KG 396 CLM monobloc (i.e. monocoque) aero’ frame helped the green and white riders win the stage that kept O’Grady in yellow and put Bobby Julich into third place. The win also brought a French TV crew into the team bus that got Jonathan Vaughters to sing opera for millions of viewers in a stunningly deep and sonorous voice.