While pottering around Mechelen during the World Championships this week, we happened upon the Jumbo-Visma team bus. Despite having quite a bit of work to be getting on with, their mechanic Dirk Van de Ven was kind enough to let us have a close-up look at hot favourite Wout van Aert’s Cervélo S5.
With athletes catered to by a mixture of national federations and trade teams, Jumbo-Visma has more than enough contenders spread across the week to make it worth hopping across the border from Holland with the team van.
Also offering mechanical assistance to Marianne Vos, Anna Henderson, and Romy Kasper, along with Pascal Eenkhoorn, Mike Teunissen, and Primoz Roglic, the team’s mechanics are likely to find themselves even busier as the week comes to a close.
Nevertheless, Van de Ven was happy to allow a bothersome journalist into the team’s pit and nab van Aert’s bike for an impromptu photo shoot.
A winning combination?
Electing to use Cervélo’s aerodynamic S5 and not the more mountain-focused R5 on Sunday's rolling 268km course, Wout’s bike has been built up with Shimano’s 11-speed Dura-Ace rather than the recently released 12-speed. One subtle feature that showed the attention to detail over the build was the zip-tied Di2 cable at the rear shifter – leaving no room for a stray cable or loose connection mid-race.
With what looks to be quite a narrow cassette and a 53/39 crankset, he’s clearly taking a no-prisoners approach to what is likely to be a very attritional race.
With Dura-Ace also supplying the deep section carbon wheels, these are currently fitted with 26c Vittoria Corsa tyres. Not overly broad, their moderate volume should help keep things under control during the race’s repeated cobbled climbs. Unlike an increasing number of riders, Van Aert is sticking with tubular tyres – that seems like a safe bet given the Classics profile of the race.
With just a single spacer underneath the bike’s distinctive v-shaped bar and stem assembly, its position isn’t one anything other than the most flexible of riders would enjoy adopting for the almost seven hours the race is expected to last.
Having taken silver in the opening time trial on Sunday, the in-form Wout will hope for better luck this week. With most gamblers getting 2/1 odds on him achieving a first World Championship title on the road, this could well be the bike that helps him do it.
You can see Cervélo's finest bikes in London November 4-6th at the Rouleur Live show.