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July 18, 2007

Unmasking the Tour tech impostors

cyclingnews.com | Top-level teams and riders get their way in the name of going faster

James Huang at CyclingNews has been keeping an eye out for Tour team equipment that doesn't look like it comes from team sponsors, and he's found quite a few.

The most flagrant I can remember is one Huang mentions, Lance Armstrong's Litespeed Blade, rebadged as an Eddy Merckx, when he raced for US Postal.

That's no EastonMost of the swaps this year seem to involve wheels, with Astana's time-trial “Eastons” suspiciously resembling Zipps and T-Mobile using a combination of Zipps and HEDs.

Many teams have tire sponsors who don't make clinchers or make a limited range of tubulars, so many team bikes are wearing tubulars with labels advertising sponsor tires.

In other cases, teams are using frames that differ slightly from production frames, or using forks or components that don't match the sponsor kit.

Posted by Frank Steele on July 18, 2007 in Tour Tech | Permalink


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You mean rebadged as a Trek, right? Armstrong time trialed on that Blade in the 1999 tour.

Posted by: James at Jul 19, 2007 11:41:31 AM

James -- I may be showing my age, but I was remembering this frame, from when Armstrong was riding for Motorola, and the bike is labeled Caloi by Merckx.

Steve Bauer mentions having a similar bike in this PezCycling News interview.

I'm not sure if he continued to ride them after the team switched to riding Treks.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 19, 2007 12:13:16 PM

I forgot all about Caloi. Great picture, but it makes me feel old. 1996 does not seem like that long ago, but the bike and National team kit look ancient. I was in Atlanta for the time trial, but I have no idea where my pictures are.

Lance only rode a Trek labeled Blade that one year with Postal. It was painted blue, but the bike stuck out like a sore thumb. From 2000-05 , he was on the new OCLV TT frames.

Posted by: James at Jul 19, 2007 1:18:33 PM

Lance rode a Litespeed Blade labeled as a Trek in 1999 for his first Tour win. But his bike when he won the the World Championships in Norway was a Litespeed Ultimate labeled/painted as a Caloi by Eddy Merckx

Posted by: Bob G at Aug 25, 2007 6:16:01 AM