Five tech conclusions from Opening Weekend

Alas, Opening Weekend is now officially behind us, and what a racing weekend it was. Whether it’s Wout Van Aert’s solo attack from the bottom of the Bosberg, Annemiek van Vleuten proving she’s already unbeatable, or Taco van der Hoorn’s stubbornness in the Kuurne breakaway, our appetites have been suitably whetted for the Spring Classics season that lies ahead.

The storylines continued beyond the riders, too, and into the bikes and equipment as they so commonly do at the first Belgian Classics of the season. Specialized’s new Roval Rapide CLX wheels caught our eye early on, and a new Cervelo’s S5 has been hiding in plain sight in recent weeks, but there are a number of other key plots that have rumbled on in the paddocks of the three races, which we ‘ve rounded up below.

1. Rim brakes are dead, finally

Omloop tech

(Image credit: Josh Croxton)

Following Ineos Grenadiers’ switch to disc brakes in late 2021, this one has been on the cards for a while now, but while recent races have seen the British team swap between disc and rim, the Opening Weekend races both saw the entire team opt for disc brakes. As a result, the spinning rotors of doom – sorry, disc brakes – have finally got their monopoly in the race. In fact, the only rim brake bike we saw all weekend was atop the Ineos car.

2. Clinchers are dead, again

A close up of Roval Rapide CLX wheels that are tubeless

Tubeless tires return to the narrative in the Specialized sponsored camps (Image credit: Josh Croxton)

When Roval launched the Rapide CLX wheels in 2020, the standout feature was the lack of tubeless compatibility. Specialized pulled a U-turn on its prior narrative and instead pushed hard on promoting clincher tires, both Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora Hansgrohe committed to using them throughout the season despite the puncture risks and were so happy with the results that they committed to using them at the 2021 Spring Classics, including the delayed Paris Roubaix.

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