Trek-Segafredo’s Toms Skujiņš hit the first few stages of the Tour de France on the US brand’s new Madone SLR - the one with a hole in the seat tube.
The WorldTour team played a considerable role in the radical frame design, asking Trek's engineers to create a faster and lighter Madone. All involved were rewarded with Mads Pedersen's stage 13 win in Saint-Etienne. His impressive victory, equal parts speed, strength and guile, was a fitting tribute to a bike also born from plenty of smart thinking.
However, Pedersen's success owed much to his teammates support, something with Skujiņš is adept at providing. On stage 15 to Carcassone, ridden in brutal temperatures that hit 40 degrees, the Latvian exemplified the need for watercarriers as well as stars by fitting 11 bidons down his race jersey, before distributing them to his grateful team.
Given the size of the hole in the Madone seat tube he could have possible secured bottle number 12 in the frame.
The odd cutout is called IsoFlow, and it replaces Trek’s adjustable ISoSpeed decoupler that allowed for fore/aft flex of the seatpost for comfort. IsoFlow supposedly offers just as much compliance while eliminating around 300 grams from the overall weight of the bike.
That’s not the only change on the new Madone. A redesigned cockpit system gets riders into a more ergonomic position, with flared drops and slightly sloped tops with narrower hoods.
Note the ergonomic shaping on the bar tops. The shape and direction more closely mirrors the natural bend of the wrists.The integrated stem also got redesigned, but Skujiņš is not using the integrated stem here.
Skujiņš is able to run a non-integrated stem by swapping out the headset cap, a neat feature of the new Madone that will appeal to those who like to choose their own bars and stem. Skujiņš set-up is probably a decision based on his bike fit data.
Trek partners with Wahoo, and Skujiņš has an Elemnt Bolt out front with a tether cord for safety.
Trek-Segafredo riders roll on a suite of SRAM Red eTap AXS components. Skujiņš has opted for a 54/41 chainring combo on his SRAM crankset, along with a Quarq power meter.
Also note here the 'tall' bottom bracket area, reshaped on the new Madone to reduce the distance between BB and bottle cage, which improves aerodynamics and helps to save a watt or two.
Skujiņš told us he’s running a 10-28 cassette in combination with his 54/41 chainring setup, which gives him an absolutely huge top gear should he find himself spinning out at 70kph.
Bontrager’s Aeolus RSL 62 wheels get wrapped in Pirelli tubeless tires on Skujiņš’s Madone. Skujins says he has tubulars at his disposal, but he has opted for tubeless tires and reported that has had good experiences on them for some time.
Skujiņš heads into the final week of the tour in 89th position overall. He'll be required to continue his domestique role as his Trek-Segafredo team search for further success.
This is perhaps most likely to come on stage 19, when the race leaves the Pyrenees. It's a classic transition stage, where the depleted number of pure sprinters left in the race could aid the speedy Pedersen at the finish in Cahors. However, Skujiņš, the current Latvian ITT champ, will get a chance to end his 2022 TdF in style on the following day, a 40.7km race against the clock, which could also decide the final destination of the yellow jersey.
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