Rich’s tweet about a Continental announcement caught my attention. Continental claimed that Tony Martin, 2011′s World Champion, had achieved his decisive win on their new Grand Prix TT clincher. A Worlds win on a clincher, let alone the time trial seemed a little far fetched.
Strange thing is, it DOES look like Martin is riding clinchers, although perhaps not the new TT clincher being claimed. Close scrutiny of his bike as he rolls out of the start house reveals him using two tires that, as far as I know, are only available as clinchers – the GP 4000 RS, and the GP Attack. (Rich informs me the 4000 RS has been available as a tubular before) The aluminum brake tracks also give a good indication he’s really riding clinchers – they appear to be HED Jet wheels, possibly a Jet 9 in front and a Jet Disc in back (confirmed by HED). With the newly announced TT tire being based on the GP 4000, it’s entirely possible that one is the new TT tire, labeled as a regular 4000 RS with a special layup. The differing labels between the front and the back further reinforces the idea that we’re not the victims of marketing subterfuge – otherwise we’d be more likely to see the same labeling on both tires.
Clinchers have been used to varying success by teams in a variety of race conditions. Is this the first time we’ve seen one that’s been used to win a World Championship?
Update: Here’s a pic of Bert Grabsch running a similar setup, with GP 4000RS front and rear