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Giro Stage 14: New Tech and Plappy's Performance

Giro Stage 14: New Tech and Plappy's Performance

Posted by Joe Laverick on 23rd May 2024

A time trial for the purist: 31.2 km mostly-flat TT. The GC riders were going to come out to play, but everyone knew it was Ganna’s to lose.

While the sprinters worry about timecut, the TT specialists get their opportunity to shine. Given this one is mostly flat, it’s all about “Watts per CdA”, and on-trend with 2024, many bespoke driveline solutions on display, with the goal of minimising driveline losses.

Walscheid was the early leader, nudging 51 km/h for the 31.2 km course. The average speeds kept creeping up through the day and then the main man himself came out to play, Pippo Ganna. He put down the marker: 35:02, some 53.5km/h average.

All eyes were on Pogacar. Could he upset Ganna once again to take victory in pink? The difference with Stage 14, is that there wasn’t a final climb for Pogacar to drop a nuclear watt bomb. The man in pink was comfortably the best GC rider, finishing some 40-seconds ahead of third place, but he was still a half-minute behind Ganna.

On the home front, Luke Plapp’s Giro continues to go from strength to strength. Plappy’s final result was nothing short of exceptional. A 5th place on the stage, against top-drawer GC riders - just a handful of seconds behind Geraint Thomas, and 10-seconds from the podium.

We’ve worked with Luke since the inception of Sync Ergonomics. From his junior years, to his Grand Tour performances. He’s an athlete who is dedicated to improving in every way he can. Luke may be riding the worst-kept secret in the cycling industry, a bike that we can’t yet talk about, but there are a few things that we can touch on.

For the last six months we have been putting our final prototype 1x chainrings through their paces. On stages such as this one, the days of running two chainrings are over. Well, as INEOS have shown earlier this Giro, arguably the days of two chainrings are over, for hilly TT too. They used the hub-based Classified system, which currently seems the solution for bringing the best driveline performance to the table with TT application.

Sync X cSixx - The Story of our New 1x Chainring

The process started over two years ago. From the first prototypes, our strategy has been to optimise the functionality of the 1x solution. Our first prototypes used a power2max track spider, Rotor crank and a zero offset chainring, to achieve our 45 mm chainline target. While being very effective, the track spider and Rotor crank combination limited versatility.

For 2024, we had the requirement to make a 1x solution for World Tour application, specifically built around the Shimano R9200 crank. Our solution, launched in June, delivers the optimal chainline using the Shimano R9200 crank, with a second variant available for regular 4x110BCD cranks / spiders.

Made in combination with cSixx, our 1X chainrings have been designed to rectify the limitations of 1x and push the limits of driveline performance. From the start, cSixx understood our needs, having dealt with chainline considerations throughout their various product developments. But what cSixx also brings to the table is arguably the most refined 1X tooth profile we have seen to date.

Chainring offset is absolutely critical for aligning the chain with the targeted cogs on the cassette (delivering a straight chain line). But, achieving the optimal offset has another effect on driveline performance - Full use of each cog on the cassette. This is absolutely critical for driveline function, chain and chainring longevity, limiting the dreaded “cross chaining”. The chainline that our 54-62t 1X solutions deliver is 45mm*.

The advanced Thick-Thin 1X tooth design, in combination with chainring offset, creates the smoothest running 1x setup we have ever experienced. We consider this mission accomplished, with what we believe is the best-performing 1X TT driveline on the market.

*The 45mm chainline is dependent on crank, bottom bracket and bottom bracket spacer configuration. The Shimano 9200 crank has been used as the reference. 

About the author

Joe Laverick’s cycling introduction was via the British time-trial scene, since starting the sport, he has been all about speed. He’s a freelance writer and privateer racer who mixes road, time trial and gravel racing. To this day, he remains one of the only riders on the planet to have beat Remco Evenepoel in a time trial.