Giro d’Italia: David Millar’s bike set up to spin through the mountains
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Giro d’Italia: David Millar’s bike set up to spin through the mountains

by Ben Atkins at 10:31 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tech News, Giro d'Italia
Garmin-Cervélo rider’s S3 borrows from SRAM’s mountainbike components range

Former British champion David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo) was running one of the more unusual set ups in this year’s mountain stages. In order to save his legs, and to enable him to spin at his usual high cadence, Millar’s Cervélo S3 was equipped with an unusual mix of parts from equipment supplier SRAM, giving him a almost unknown small gear of 42 x 36 to get up the steep slopes of the Dolmites and Alps.

Garmin-Cervélo’s bikes are equipped with Red, SRAM’s top road groupset with chainsets from Rotor, but in order to get his small gears, Millar has had to borrow from SRAM’s other ranges, even resorting to mountain bike components.

In the early mountain stages Millar was reportedly using a cassette and rear derailleur from the mid-range Apex group, which is designed for non-climbers who don’t want to use a triple chainset. The problem with that though, was that the biggest Apex cassette is 11-32, so to get the gear he really wanted Millar had to cross codes to SRAM’s XX mountainbike group.

An 11-36 XG-1099 cassette was paired up with a long cage XX rear derailleur. This complete switch to the mountainbike group for the rear end was reportedly also to take up the enormous amount of slack between the massively ovalised O-Symmetric 53-tooth chainring and the 42-tooth inner.

David Millar“It’s more like mountainbiking than road riding,” he told VeloNation at the start of the Bergamo to Macagnaga stage. “It just means I can just take it as easy as I llike; and I can use the big ring lots more.”

With this small gear, Millar says he can maintain his preferred pedalling cadence of around 100rpm, even on the steepest of climbs; this he hopes will, as much as possible, spare his legs the inevitable muscle damage and keep him as fresh as possible for Sunday’s time trial in Milan.

As well as his highly unusual gearing, the like of which is usually only seen on touring bikes, Millar has also selected an extremely narrow set of bars. While the British rider is certainly very slim, the choice of 40cm wide bars would not be considered wide enough to

There is one simple reason for this though, Millar says: aerodynamics; giving him as small a profile into the wind as possible.

Should Millar get a result, or even win Sunday’s 26km test around the streets of Milan, he will likely have one of the most eccentric bikes in the peloton to thank for at least part of that.

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