Doped Tour Tires
Beware of Continental?s new tire.
As if there already wasn?t enough doping controversy, I am here to tell the French authorities to beware of Continental?s new tire. Of course, I am only joking! <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
If you haven?t already viewed the story on <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Anyone who has ridden a bike knows about circulating mass. The lighter the mass, the better. This applies to cranks, hubs, rims, and tires. The required effort is reduced when the mass is less. On flat terrain, the significance is not as critical. However, apply this principal to inclines, and it becomes a major factor.
Continental has processed these tires with a special ?tuning liquid?. Hmmm?does EPO come to mind, hehe! I can?t imagine how this process works. Team T-Mobile has already tested the tires which resulted in a 15% drop in rolling resistance. Apparently, the interaction of the fluid and the tread pattern can reduce the time by 30 seconds on the Alpe d?Huez stage. The only way I ever knew to reduce resistance was harder compounds and higher pressure. I recall something to the effect of race cars using combinations of nitrogen/oxygen in their tires.
Speaking of compounds, Continental has also developed a variety race tires for various stages in the Tour. They have been formulated for dry and wet conditions in addition to having anti puncture plies.
Watch out Lance, as Continental (German company) has only made these tires available to members of the T-Mobile, Phonak, Lotto-Domo, Credit Agricole, and Saunier Duval teams.
I love the technology of racing. Unfortunately for me, I?m just an old guy who gets fat in winter and goes slower!