One of Pavé’s photograph suppliers, Balint Hamvas of Cyclephotos.co.uk, was kind enough to take a look at Zdenek Stybar’s Merckx cyclocross bike before this weekend’s Superprestige race at Hamme-Zogge. Glimpses of Stybar’s bike made our senses tingle this season, and we wanted a closer look. Since Merckx doesn’t offer a production cyclocross frame, we were curious about what Stybar would be riding while on QuickStep-Innergetic. We asked Balint to point his lens and his considerable photographic talents at it.
Hamvas’s photos of Stybar’s stable for Hamme-Zogge show Stybar equipped with two bikes that likely are Merckx-painted Ridley X-Nights. To wit: the top tube flattening and widening at the headtube junction; the shaping of the downtube; the cutout in the seatmast cap in the shape of the Ridley logo. And, the silver bullet is that Stybar’s bike features internal cable routing to the rear derailleur along the seatstay – which can also be clearly seen on Bart Wellens’ Ridley.
Interestingly, it seems that Stybar is still using a pair of prototype Dugast Pipisquallo tires from last season – the prototypes have a white center and black sides, and feature larger sideknobs than the production model.
However, it appears that Stybar hasn’t ridden these Merckx-painted Ridleys exclusively this season. Earlier in the season, we saw a photo from Luc Claessen during the World Cup race in Plzen, showing a Styby riding a frame with a conventional seatpost (as opposed to one with a seatmast), a curved fork, and devoid of the bolt-on derailleur hanger/dropout that Ridleys feature. Try as we might, we can’t figure out what this is.
What of it, Pavé readers? What is this mysterious back-up bike that Stybar was riding in Plzen?
All photos by Balint Hamvas, www.cyclephotos.co.uk.