Monday, July 18, 2005

Little Leonardo, former Lanterne Rouge

Some details about diminutive (52 kg/114 lb.) Leonardo Piepoli's bike, from

"Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli one of the smallest men in the Tour and therefore rides a size S frame. That means his frame is lighter than most and grams also drop off because he's also using shorter cranks and stem, a narrower handlebar and so on. It's only five grams here and five grams there but it adds up. Or rather, it subtracts, and the practical upshot is that, with Campagnolo's lightweight Record carbon group on the bike, Piepoli's machine ends up well under the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit.

Since the UCI's regulations don't specify what constitutes a bike for the purposes of the weight rule, various inventive ways have been found of getting bikes to hit the target over the last couple of years. We've heard, for example, of mechanics dropping chains down the seat tubes of bikes belonging to female track cyclists to get them up to the weight. The Saunier Duval mechanics are even more blatant - Piepoli's bike has 140g of lead strips bolted on under the water bottles!"

There's a photo of those lead weights here. No wonder Leonardo dances up those mountains so incredibly well!

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