UPDATE:Glad I said 'could'. Evans was bested by Carlos Sastre.
American Morgan Nicol owns aero specialist Oval Concepts and supplies go-faster parts to the Garmin-Chiptotle and Silence-Lotto teams. The Silence-Lotto team rides Ridley bikes; Garmin-Chipotle rides Felt bikes.
Garmin-Chipotle has had a good Tour de France, but Silence-Lotto could win the yellow jersey.
Nicol has been following the Tour very closely. He's wanted to track how his equipment performed, especially in the time trials. The right aero equipment can shave many seconds off a race against the clock.
And Australian Cadel Evans will need every second's advantage if he's to beat the current GC leader, Carlos Sastre. On paper, Evans is a dead cert. He was far faster than Sastre in the Tour's first, and shorter, time trial.
Part of Evans success is due to Oval Concepts.
All of the Ridley bikes on the Tour - the road bike is called Noah - are using Oval Concepts forks and some of the riders are equipped with Ridley time trial bikes with integrated Jetstream rear stays. Cadel Evans was first seen on his Jetstream-incorporated frame - the Dean - at time trials earlier in the year.
The Dean features an RFlow fork with airfoil technology licensed from Oval Concepts. Rflow accelerates the air passing over the fork using two airfoils in each leg and seatstay. The air passing over the outside edge of the first foil creates a vacuum around the upper axis of the spokes and tyre that 'sucks' air away from the wheel past the second foil’s outer edge.
RFlow forks also use R-Surface, a dimpled aerodynamic paint. The dimples produce a smooth boundary layer that allows air to move much more quickly than if it hit the actual surface of the frame.
According to Ridley, "the boundary layer is thin band of air that 'adheres' to the surface of an airfoil. A thin boundary layer allows the air mass to travel around the frame smoothly. Using data from extensive wind tunnel testing during the painting process, Ridley engineers applied texture to strategic locations on the frame. Air moving over the textured surface becomes excited, which causes it to travel smoothly around the frame instead of detaching, creating speed-sapping drag. The use of R-Surface on the new Dean and Noah makes Ridley the first company in the bicycle industry to use this aerodynamic technology."
Tests are said to show the Dean saves 15 watts of energy when it is ridden at 45kmh.
Ridley promotes the bike on a grandly titled website, thefastestbikeintheworld.com.
Ridley will make the Dean and Noah frames commercially available in October. If Evans wins Le Tour expect to see the "bike wot won it for Evans" at this Autumn's trade shows.