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Victor Campenaerts set to use Classified hub and monster chainring at Opening Weekend

Cycling is a sport of tradition. The majority of riders tend to stick within unspoken boundaries, leaving the occasional maverick to push those norms. Victor Campenaerts is definitely someone who makes a habit of pushing those boundaries.

For Opening Weekend, Cyclingnews understands the Belgian will be using a wild setup, which comprises a Classified rear hub paired with an enormous 1x front chainring, extremely narrow bars, turned-in hoods, and wide tyres. Anything that he sees as beneficial to performance is on the table, regardless of whether it’ll get some funny looks in the bunch.

An image captured at the team’s recon ride in Belgium on Wednesday confirms our beliefs, too.

A close up of Victor Campenaerts riding a bike with a Classified hub and massive chainring

A close up of Victor Campenaerts riding a bike with a Classified hub and massive chainring

Cast your mind back; it wasn’t so long ago that skinsuits in a road stage were borderline unthinkable, and tyres above 23mm would be saved only for Paris-Roubaix. Campenaerts has been a pioneer of skinsuits in the past, as well as leading the pack in terms of adopting narrow bars and having the hoods turned in, something we have seen more recently being adopted on Tadej Pogacar’s bike and Remco Evenepoel’s bike to name just a few. 

Last year we saw him opt for a 58T chainring for Dwars door Vlaanderen, allowing for some downhill attacks while his rivals span out, but this year it seems he’s gone bigger again. While we can’t count the teeth in the images here, Cyclingnews has seen the Belgian trialling a 62T chainring, only two teeth smaller than that used on Ganna’s Hour Record bike.

A dura-ace crankset with 62t single front chainring

The monster 62T chainring up close, spotted at the team training camp in Calpe recently (Image credit: Will Jones)

The chainring looks to come from Alugear (opens in new tab), and is the largest that the brand manufactures. 

Yes, it’s an enormous gear, but that’s not the end of the story. It appears that this season the Belgian is opting to run a Classified rear hub, the first time we’ve seen it in competition since Uno-X trialled it at the Tour de Hongrie last year. The Classified Powershift offers two-speed hub gearing in a 1:1 and 1:0.686 ratio, meaning Campenaerts is effectively running a 62/42.5 double setup, but with the advantages of a more aero 1x system, the efficiency gains of larger chainrings in terms of drivetrain resistance, and a lower risk of chain drop thanks to the K-Edge chain catcher. Campanaert’s recent Instagram story confirms that his chain is waxed too, using Molten Speedwax.  

Victor Campenaerts riding behind a teammate on cobbles

Campenaerts’ bars are rather narrow, and his hoods have been turned in too

Narrow bars with hoods turned in aren’t groundbreaking anymore, though are still very much in evidence on the former hour record holder’s bike. 

What is unusual is his choice of tyres; these are the new Vittoria Corsa Pros, set up tubeless. So far, so normal, right? We’ve seen these new tyres in the peloton already. We haven’t seen anyone using them in these widths though. While it may change on race day, it’s understood Campenaerts will run a 32mm rear and 30mm front setup. If you want a safe bet you’d put your money on that being the widest in the peloton when the flag drops. 

A close up of Victor Campenaerts riding a bike with a Classified hub and massive chainring

There’s no denying that the chainring is enormous, and although it’s harder to tell, the cassette spacing looks to be the same as found on the Classified cassette, and sources on the ground confirm our suspicions. 

Elsewhere on the bike, spec choice remains largely standard. The Ridley Noah Fast frame is the same disc-brake aero frame that the Belgian team has been riding since 2020. DT Swiss wheels came on board at the same time as Shimano at the start of 2022, and as such, it’s expected he’ll use the DT Swiss Arc 1100 Di-Cut wheels in their 60mm depth, as shown here. It’s unlikely the team has too many wheels laced up with Classified hubs, so we don’t expect him to swap to the deeper 80mm wheels come the weekend. Shimano’s top-tier groupset – Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 – will provide the shifting and braking, and the left-hand shifter, which would otherwise control the front derailleur, is compatible with the add-on Classified Bluetooth transmitter, which replaces the left bar-end plug.