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Olympics Tech 2012: Ryder Hesjedal's Cervélo R5ca

Check out the custom-painted bike the Giro champ will be riding in London this weekend

There’s just the slightest of chances you’ll have heard that the Olympic men’s road race will be fought out this Saturday (28 July), and Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal will be racing it on this maple leafed up Cervélo R5ca.

Hesjedal was forced to withdraw from the Tour de France after damaging his hip and leg in a crash on stage six but he says he has recovered and will be racing in London and Surrey.

Hesjedal rides for Garmin-Sharp although the Olympics is contested as national teams rather than ProTour teams. He’ll still be riding a bike from Garmin-Sharp sponsor Cervélo but rather than the usual livery, this one has been designed with maple leaves aplenty from the national flag of Canada. Both Hesjedal and Cervélo are Canadian.

The R5ca is Cervélo’s top-level lightweight road bike. It comes with Cervélo’s second generation Squoval tubing – Squoval coming from the words square and oval, to save you working it out for yourself. That’s because the tubes are square with rounded corners, the idea being, in Cervélo’s own words:

• Squared tubes have more material far from the centre to reduce side-to-side flex.
• Convex walls and rounded corners improve torsional stiffness.

Check out the skinniness of the seatstays. They’re among the thinnest out there in order to absorb vibration and add comfort.

The ‘ca’ bit of the R5ca name denotes that this is a Project California model. The Cervélo engineers have taken a standard R5 and altered the carbon layup and the tube profiles slightly to drop the weight a touch while retaining the stiffness. They reckon a size 54cm comes in at around 680g – incredibly light. These bikes are handbuilt in California.

Hesjedal uses an electronic Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and you can see that he has a satellite shifter on the tops so he can change gear when climbing without the need to move his hands back onto the hoods or the drops.

You can also see that the Di2 cable runs externally underneath the down tube; the R5ca doesn’t have internal routing. The cable stops on the down tube are redundant.

Garmin-Barracuda use Rotor cranks, Hesjedal going with 3D+ and an SRM power measurement system. Those pink highlights are a neat touch to mark his Giro win earlier in the year and, just in case you were in any doubt, Rotor have added ‘Ryder Hesjedal 2012 Giro d’Italia winner’ to the inside of the crank.

One other thing that’s worth noting is that front end. Hesjedal is 1.88m (6ft 2in) tall but he’s on a 56cm bike with a 140mm stem. Most pros run a lengthy stem, allowing them to get the stretched position they want on as small and light a bike as possible.

And check out the seal on top of the headset… or, rather, the lack of one. There’s nothing between the upper cartridge bearing and the stem, allowing the mechanics to position the 3T Ergosum Pro alloy bars a little lower on that already downward-sloping stem. That does leave the headset far more open to the elements but it’s very, very unlikely to rain in the UK summer anyway. Ahem!

The wheels are Mavic Cosmic Carbone, the post is a carbon-fibre 3T Doric Team and the saddle ia a Fizik Arione Tri2 with carbon braided rails. Those are Stainless Cages from Arundel.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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