Home
Cervelo R3 Mud with brand new Enve SES wheels, and mechanical Dura-Ace

Mark Cavendish finished Paris-Roubaix for the first time in his career, on only his second attempt. He finished 30th, a credible result for a rider lacking the experience on the pavé of the likes of classics specialists Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen. Teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen was fighting for the win in the decisive break, finishing fifth behind winner Mathew Hayman.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 8.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 8.jpg

Although Team Dimension Data’s hopes for success in the race clearly laid on the shoulders of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Cavendish’s bike had the team leader number board fitted to his bike. There’s clearly a pecking order in the team. 

The entire Dimension Data was riding the rare Cervélo R3 Mud. It’s the regular R3 but modified to provide extra clearance for the fatter tyres needed for this cobbled race. It’s a frameset that has been in use for a number of years, in fact it’s the same bike that Johan Vansummeren won Paris-Roubaix aboard way back in 2011. If it works...

- Paris-Roubaix Tech: Fabian Cancellara's Trek Domane SLR

You can’t buy the Cervélo R3 Mud though the Canadian company did a short production run a few years ago, enough to satisfy the UCI that any equipment used by the professionals must be available to purchase. The key changes over the standard R3 are longer rear stays and a longer fork, providing extra tyre clearance and also resulting in a longer wheelbase, producing better stability on the rough roads and cobbled sections.

- Pro bikes: Cobbled Classic tweaks that will boost your ride

Had it rained, as it did the night before the race, might we have seen the team racing the disc-equipped R3 with Rotor’s new Uno hydraulic groupset that the team has been spotted testing outside of races this season? Maybe, but we couldn’t spot any reserve bikes knocking about the team truck, so it looks like there was no short notice backup plan. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 6.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 6.jpg

While the frame is showing its age (though it clearly still works just fine) the team was rolling on brand new Enve SES wheels. They have been designed specifically for 28-30mm tyres. The new wheelset has been dubbed the 4x4 ahead of its launch later this year and shows the growing trend for wide aero rims designed to better work with wide tyres. We’ll go into detail on this wheels in an upcoming article…

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 7.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 7.jpg

Look closer at that photo above and you’ll also spot the use of an Ultegra brake caliper, not the Dura-Ace item you might expect to see. This isn’t down to cost, it’s simply because the Ultegra caliper allows greater tyre clearance than the more expensive Dura-Ace brake. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 16.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 16.jpg

Cavendish’s bike was fitted with Continental Competition ProLtd 28mm tubular tyres, a common spot in this race. The mechanics were making final tyre pressure checks in the half hour before the start of the race. As one mechanic noticed I was zooming in for a closer photo, he politely but firmly shouldered me out of the way. Tyre pressure is a closely guarded secret in this race. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 9.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 9.jpg

Like Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish also opted for a mechanical Dura-Ace groupset with a close ratio 11-25 cassette. The team is sponsored by Rotor and so it’s the latest 2InPower crankset with an integrated power meter and round QRings. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 12.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 12.jpg

Some sort of guard device, to prevent the chain falling off the chainring and onto the bottom bracket shell is employed by every team. This is Rotor’s own chain catcher. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 4.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 4.jpg

Cavendish has also changed pedals. He used to race Shimano SPD-SL, but he’s now using Speedplay, with the cobble-specific Pave pedals used, which have the normal pedal body removed for better mud clearance. Dimension Data is sponsored by Speedplay, of course, but it’s interesting that Cavendish, a rider known to be demanding and reasonably particular about his equipment choices, has swapped pedals this season.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 3.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 3.jpg

Tacx plastic bottle cages with the addition of some tape to ensure the bottles don’t eject on the bumpy cobbles. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 13.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 13.jpg

Aluminium handlebars are commonplace in the peloton throughout the season, and especially a race as harsh on equipment as the Hell of the North. The Dimension Data team, however, is sponsored by Enve, a company that specialises in carbon fibre products. So the team has to use carbon fibre handlebars and stems. Enve has produced a smart Garmin mount that fixes to the stem faceplate bolts. 

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 2.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 2.jpg

A generous wrap of snazzy Lizard Skins bar tape for Cavendish.

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 15.jpg

Mark Cavendish Cervelo R3 Mud - 15.jpg

Also providing additional comfort is the deeply padded Fizik Arione saddle from the Italian company’s triathlon range. The saddle is mounted to an Enve inline carbon fibre seatpost. That plastic contraption bolted to the back of the saddle is the GPS receiver now being used in the WorldTour to provide 

More Paris-Roubaix tech soon...

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.