Q: Prior to the final time trial in this year’s Tour de France, I heard that Lance was going to ride experimental 19-mm-wide tires. Do you have an opinion on such narrow tires for the rest of us? — Randy P.
COACH FRED: It’s difficult to know if those tires were used. Some equipment choices are closely guarded. And if they were in fact “experimental,” the manufacturer may not have wanted to broadcast the fact. If a tire failed, it wouldn’t have been good press.
Using narrow tires in time trials certainly isn’t unusual. But I’d be surprised if Lance took too many chances with untested equipment in such an important stage — and on wet roads, too.
I tend to use wider clincher tires — 23C or 25C — for almost all of my riding and road racing. They give a smoother ride, have less chance of pinch flats and there’s little added rolling resistance.
I do use a 20C on the front wheel of my Litespeed Blade time-trial bike for what aero help it gives. But I have a 23C on the back for protection from flats and greater comfort.
I think my approach will work well for most riders while avoiding the risks of running very narrow tires.