Mathieu van der Poel raced on a modified Canyon Aeroad CFR at Strade Bianche

Cable ports were drilled into the frame to enable to use of an alternative handlebar, while the investigation over the snapped cockpit at Le Samyn continues

Although Canyon has issued a ‘stop riding’ order for the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX and CFR models, observant viewers of Strade Bianche on Saturday will have noticed that Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) sailed to victory aboard his same Aeroad CFR.

The order came after Van der Poel’s right hand drop snapped off at Le Samyn on Tuesday March 2 – although this didn’t stop him still leading out team-mate Tim Merlier to a winning sprint.

However, it has meant that Canyon sponsored athletes (and every customer who has bought one of these models) now have been forced to swap bikes while an investigation into the reason for the failure takes place.

Strade Bianche bike selection

It was expected prior to the race that Van der Poel would switch to riding the Canyon Ultimate—the lightweight climbing bike of the German brand’s range. And so it was quite a surprise when the cameras started rolling and it became apparent that Van der Poel was remaining astride his Aeroad CFR.

It’s not long ago that a simple handlebar change would have been a very easy modification to make. But as the Aeroad CFR was designed with fully integrated cable routing in mind, it doesn’t come with any cable ports in the frame to enable the use of alternative handlebars.

The consequence being that Van der Poel’s Aeroad frame must have been specially drilled in order for it to accept the internal cable routing which now enters at the top of the downtube.

Mathieu van der Poel’s Canyon Aeroad CFR

Mathieu van der Poel at Strade Bianche 2021 (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It would obviously have been far simpler to just switch to Canyon Ultimate climbing bike, as other Canyon sponsored teams, such as Movistar and Arkéa-Samsic, did. Going to the trouble of modifying the Aeroad clearly highlights the extent to which Van der Poel values the benefits of an aero frame.

Given that over the final 10km, Van der Poel averaged 40.8kph in a three-up break with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), the choice has most certainly been confirmed as a good one.

Canyon’s take

A photo posted by on

After the finish at the Piazza del Campo in Siena, Canyon confirmed in an Instagram post that: “Mathieu won today riding an adapted Aeroad CFR that was equipped with our CP00010 cockpit. This setup will continue to be raced by our teams while we investigate the incident with the CP00015 and CP00018 cockpits that emerged with Mathieu’s bike at Le Samyn on Tuesday.”

Canyon added: “Taking the responsible steps for the safety of all riders, we have contacted the owners of Aeroad CFR and Aeroad CF SLX models equipped with the CP00018 or CP00015 cockpits, requesting they stop riding their bikes while we fully investigate the issue at the shifter clamping interface on the bars.

“We will update them again informing of any progress and clear next steps in due course.”

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Stefan Abram
Tech features editor

After winning the 2019 National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Biking Championships and claiming the plushie unicorn (true story), Stefan swapped the flat-bars for drop-bars and has never looked back. 

Since then, he’s earnt his 2ⁿᵈ cat racing licence in his first season racing as a third, completed the South Downs Double in under 20 hours and Everested in under 12.

But his favourite rides are multiday bikepacking trips, with all the huge amount of cycling tech and long days spent exploring new roads and trails - as well as histories and cultures. Most recently, he’s spent two weeks riding from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia

Height: 177cm

Weight: 67–69kg