So begins my three weeks of sleep depravation. As I write the 2013 Tour de France is in its first few kilometres on the island of Corsica, where the first three stages will be held, before heading to mainland France for the next 18 stages.
Of course my heart has me going for the 2011 champion, Australia’s own Cadel Evans, to repeat his time on the high step of the podium on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Evans is the number one rider for the BMC Racing Team, and will of course be riding a BMC bicycle. The road bike he and the team is riding is the BMC SLR01 teammachine (pictured above), while for the time trials he will switch to the BMC TMR01 timemachine (below).
If you want to be like Cadel, and ride something like the bikes he is riding, depending on the setup you choose, the BMC SLR01 teammachine starts at around $5,600, while the top of the range Dura-Ace model sells for around $10,000. The time trial bike, the BMC TMR01 timemachine, is available in configurations costing from around $6,500 to $11,500.
For the money, you’re getting a lot of research, and a hell of a lot of carbon. The bikes are light, and strong. The framset for the BMC SLR01 teammachine weighs only 1,390 grams, the BMC TMR01 timemachine comes in at 1,100 grams.
These bikes are light enough to push up Hors Catégorie mountains, and tight for quick acceleration and control on tight corners. And what was Cadel’s main requirement in the design of these bicycles? Comfort. Fair enough I think, given that the Tour de France riders have 3,399.5 kilometres to cover over the 21 stages of the race.