As sure as the swallows return to Capistrano, the return of monstrous green tires on pro cyclists bicycles can mean only one thing, spring is here. To tackle the two monuments of spring, Roubaix and Flanders, takes a special type of rider. A rider that is impervious to weather, a rider that can handle the punishing cobblestones, and a rider that can stay relaxed and calm as the race heats up while still reacting in a split second during the finale. His tire must do the same thing, hence the appearance of those giant green tubulars; the Vittoria Pave’ EVO.
The Pave' EVO has won more Roubaix’s than Duvel’s have been drunk in the Arenberg forest. Okay, probably not, but it’s as close as one gets to standard equipment at the ‘Hell of the North’. Why has this tire been so dominant? A close look at the latest Pave' EVO gives us the answer.
All that cobblestone performance and resistance comes from an incredibly supple and robust casing. Thread count isn’t just for your bedsheets, a tire’s casing likes threads and lots of them. The higher the count, the smaller the thread, and the more supple your casing is. 120TPI is considered high, 220 is a high end race tire and 320 is called a Vittoria. This incredibly supple casing allows the Pave' EVO to deform more easily when you smash into a cobble stone creating a tire that floats over the less aggressive cobble sectors and helps keep the rider upright and on the gas over the nastiest sections on the course.
Those tiny supple threads are also made of pretty unique stuff in the tire business, 80% cotton and 20% kevlar. This creates an incredibly strong casing, in fact it can handle up to 200 PSI. Why is this important at Roubaix where some riders will roll out with 60 PSI in their tires? When they hit the corner of a cobble as big as your head the PSI will spike and your casing better be able to handle it or you’ll find your self standing around a group of crazed fans, wheel in hand, with a long wait for the team car.
The newest Vittoria Pave' EVO also gets a new belt which improves the tires puncture resistance while also reducing weight resulting in a 24c tubular that weighs only 270 grams. As a true cobblestone tire the smallest size you can get is the 24c with a 27c also on offer and most likely on all the sponsored riders bikes.
Come Flanders and Roubaix look for the Vittoria Pave' EVO to be well represented in any decisive move. With Rabobank, Lampre, and Quick-Step riding the tires they will have many options for victory. Of course the most likely candidate is one Tom Boonen. After having his hat handed to him by Cancellara two weeks in a row last year he has shown recently he is on form. Cancellara will need to arrive at the finish line alone unless he wants a great view of Boonen’s rear Pave' EVO sprinting across the finish line ahead of him.
Vittoria Pave' EVO
24c & 27c