Τρίτη, 26 Φεβρουαρίου 2008

Mario Cipollini runs with Rock Racing rider Victor Hugo Pena in tour de california

In fact, 'Cipo' is using virtually none of the team's officially sponsored gear. His bike is fitted with Shimano Dura-Ace instead of Campagnolo Record, Lightweight Standard wheels rather than the official Cole Products hoops, and he even uses Specialized tubular tires instead of the officially supplied Challenge rubber. In place of a Stella Azzurra stem is a carbon fiber Bontrager Race XXX Lite model (painted black on one bike) and Cipollini head is protected by a Specialized helmet, not a LAS.

But what of the frame itself? Cipo's frame bears no resemblance to anything in the DeRosa stable and is decorated only with large 'Cipollini' badging on the main triangle. Even JFK conspiracy theorists would be impressed with the amount of speculation that has circulated around exactly what the make and model is. We confirmed today that it's not a DeRosa of any sort, but contrary to popular belief, it isn't a Specialized or Max Lelli model, either.

Cipollini's aluminum frame does apparently use a handful of tubing and dropouts similar to what he used on his old Specialized E5 bike but it isn't welded in a Specialized factory. According to our sources, his frame was built by Simone Carlesso of Bassano del Grappa, Italy, the same person who built his bikes when Cipollini rode for the big 'S'.

In fact, it seems that Cipollini's choice of machine has little, if anything, to do with a dislike of Rock Racing's official equipment but rather a desire to stick with something familiar. The flamboyant Italian sprinter may still be fast but at this stage in his career he's not terribly interested in getting accustomed to something totally new. Seeing as how he is Mario Cipollini after all, apparently even Michael Ball can't tell him what to do.

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