When Alpecin-Fenix rider Mathieu van der Poel crossed the finish line of the one-day Belgium Classic, Le Samyn, with a snapped handlebar (opens in new tab), all eyes turned to the team bike supplier: Canyon.
The Dutch road race champion led the front group to the finish straight, but wasn't able to launch his own sprint - instead, he valiantly chaperoned his colleague Tim Merlier to the win. (opens in new tab)
The lower part of the handlebar was seen flying off to the side of the road as Van der Poel took a corner. He later confirmed that the breakage occurred on a "long cobble sector. (opens in new tab)"
At 19:25 GMT on Wednesday, Canyon released a 'stop ride' notice to all riders who may be affected.
In a press release, the German brand stated: "On Tuesday 2 March, at one of the opening Classics races "Le Samyn", a part of the handlebar of our Alpecin-Fenix pro Mathieu van der Poel (NED) quite obviously broke off during the race. Experts from the Canyon development and quality management departments immediately began analysis and testing to understand the cause of this incident. The affected cockpits (CP0018 and CP0015) are [sic] only installed on the current Aeroad models CF SLX and CFR. The Aeroad CF SL model is not in any way affected by this issue."
It added: "Canyon is... informing all affected Aeroad customers and asking them to stop using their bike for the time being."
The CF SLX models retail from £6,199, with Shimano Ultegra Di2. CFR models start at £9,199, with a frameset listed at £4,899.
The early season race includes cobbled sections and there had been speculation as to whether the 26-year-old had crashed, unseen by cameras. Roman Arnold, founder of Canyon Bicycles said: "Mathieu fortunately did not fall. We want to ensure with absolute certainty that no one comes to harm before we fully understand the root cause."
Canyon's CEO Armin Landgraf added: "We are doing everything we can to equip affected Aeroad models as quickly as possible with a cockpit that meets both our and our customers' demands for total quality and safety."
All of Canyon's sponsored riders will switch to alternative bikes with immediate effect. They will be riding the previous model of Aeroad or the current Ultimate.
The new Aeroad comes with an adjustable handlebar (opens in new tab) that features bolts to allow riders to change their bar width. They can also be folded, to aid ease of travel. As yet there has been no indication that this is the cause of any problem.
Images of the cracked bar show that the damage was not on the tops, but at the curve of the drop.
It was initially speculated, by CyclingTips, (opens in new tab) that the crack may have been caused by the overtightening of the lever clamp. However, the stop ride notice implies that this was not caused by a mechanic's error or faulty torque wrench. The design does however use a proprietary clamp band, to cater for the shape of the handlebar.
The new Aeroad was unveiled towards the end of 2020, and performed well in initial reviews. However, over longer-term use, some customers have raised issues with the seat post (opens in new tab) as well.
As reported by Cycling Weekly last month, the truncated post is clamped low in the seat tube, and designed to provide flex. However, customers have found that this results in damage, especially when the rider is heavier or has more of the seatpost exposed.
Canyon told Cycling Weekly it is addressing this with a "solution available to all existing and future Aeroad customers in the coming weeks."
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Cycling Weekly's Digital Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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