Tom Boonen talks with Zipp
Tom Boonen smiles as he tells about a big purchase he made in the mid-1990s as a young bike racer in Belgium.
“My first pair of wheels I bought were Zipps, so you could say I was already into Zipp a long time ago,” Boonen of the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team said.
And he was pretty proud of those deep-section rims. “When you are a kid you like things that are beautiful,” Boonen said. “If you had a carbon pair of wheels you were already a big shot, huh?”
Today, the world's No. 1 ranked rider is still enthusiastic and studious about his equipment. We caught up with Tom at the Amgen Tour of California to talk with him about the Zipp wheels and components he’s been riding this season. Below are excerpts:
On wheel selection:
“We did the test on the track with Specialized in January to see some numbers. My first opinion was that the 808 (Firecrest) and the 404 (Firecrest), for me, is the best combination to use most of the time in the European racing and the sprint stages…. And the 303s I use for the classics. I like them a lot…. I would have liked to use a combination 404 on the back and 303 on the front in Flanders, but in the end I decided not to do that because the 303 on the cobblestones is a little bit more comfortable.”
On Firecrest technology:
“They’re really fast wheels.... they’re really fast and good for almost everything.”
On using carbon wheels in cobblestone Spring Classics:
“I already noticed the years before that a lot can be done on the wheels, and I was pretty jealous last year when I was riding a really old classic wheel group in Flanders and Roubaix…. This year was a big difference with the 303. It makes a lot of difference, especially if you go to the final and you’ve been on aero wheels all day. Also, the 303 on the cobblestones, I think they even give you more comfort than the aluminum wheels.”
On his narrower 44 cm (out-out) Zipp Service Course CSL bar:
“We tested it and we saw that I could gain some watts with it. So we said, ‘OK, we’ll try it.’ I didn’t feel anything that was less comfortable or less able to accelerate out of the corners… I think the narrower bar suits me better with my shoulders because it’s narrower; it just fits me together on the bike. In the end, I think all those little things together, they combined to make you go faster.”
On his 140 mm Zipp Service Course SL Stem:
“I was trying some other stems before but this one is really stiff, actually. Also from the stems I tested, it was the best.”