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Tour Tech 2016: Laurens ten Dam’s Giant TCR Advanced SL

The lightweight bike Team Giant-Alpecin are riding in the Tour de France

Dutch rider Laurens ten Dam can climb fast and hammer out the watts on the flat, and he has a Tour de France top 10 finish to his name from 2014 although he’s had a fairly quiet race so far this year supporting Giant-Alpecin team leader Warren Barguil. Here’s the Giant TCR Advanced SL he is riding.

Giant’s TCR bikes are designed to be lightweight, stiff and agile rather than particularly aerodynamically efficient. If you want aero, you need to look to the Propel range, also ridden by Team Giant-Alpecin.

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The TCR SL is made from Giant’s top level Advanced SL-Grade Composite. Unlike other brands, Giant makes its own carbon fibre in its own facility. The fork, which turns on a 1 1/4in upper bearing and a 1 1/2in lower bearing, is made from the same material. 

Whereas brands like Trek, Merida and Bianchi have all introduced superlight race bikes to the market recently and other brands have concentrated on improving aerodynamic efficiency, Giant has gone after stiffness-to-weight.

Check out our complete guide to Giant’s road bikes here. 

The TCR Advanced SL is the flagship frameset in the range with a claimed frame weight of 856g and a claimed fork weight of 302g. It’s Giant’s lightest road frameset ever.

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Giant says that the TCR Advanced SL comes out higher than any of its competitors in both a frameset pedalling stiffness-to-weight test and a frameset and wheelset pedalling stiffness-to-weight test, although other brands would doubtless dispute this.

When we got the chance to ride the TCR Advanced SL we described it as “an amazingly stiff race bike that’ll suit aggressive riders who prioritise all-out efficiency and super-sharp cornering in their efforts to get to the finish line first”. 

Check out our Giant TCR Advanced SL First Ride here. 

The TCR Advanced SL features what Giant calls its Variant integrated seat post which is designed to absorb shocks and vibration. As you can see, Laurens ten Dam has a high saddle height relative to the frame size.

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The Giant-Alpecin bikes are built up almost entirely with equipment from Shimano.

The groupset is Dura-Ace in its Di2 electronic incarnation. This bike has a 53/39-tooth chainset and a close ratio cassette. The pedals are Dura-Ace too.

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The Pioneer power meterA deviation from the Dura-Ace theme is the Pioneer power meter. One unusual feature of the Pioneer system is force and direction of force measurement. It measures 12 times per revolution and can display force in real time, so you can use it to analyse your pedal stroke.

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The wheels are Dura-Ace C50s shod with Vittoria tyres.

Shimano sub brand Pro provides the handlebar and stem. The saddle is from the Pro range too. It looks like a Griffon.

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The bottle cages are from Elite: Custom Race Plus.

This is Laurens ten Dam’s new Giant Pursuit helmet. Giant says that it has been designed to blend aerodynamics with ventilation and a precise fit, and that it weighs under 250g. 

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The openings in the front are said to act as “drag-neutral” intake ports that pull air through the helmet and stream it via deep, wide internal channels from front to back for cooling. The air is then pushed out of rear exhaust ports.

Find out more about the Giant Pursuit helmet here. 

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. 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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