By any measure, Telenet-Fidea’s Bart Wellens’ first U.S. cyclocross campaign has been a success, with three victories in five races, one second place, and one late-race attack in CrossVegas that nearly netted him the victory. Wellens leaves the States with a pile of 2011 UCI points to bring home, and leaves behind a slew of new American fans who were delighted to see one of Belgium’s best make the trip across the pond.As to the two-time World Champion’s race-winning cyclocross bike? Wellens has ridden a Ridley most of his career (after piloting an Empella early on), and it’s no surprise that Wellens raced Ridley’s top-of-the-line carbon X-Night cyclocross bike to victory even in the U.S., despite the added difficulty traveling with the taller integrated seat mast (Ridley’s U.S.-sponsored riders all receive X-Fires because of their easier boxing with a standard seatpost). Wellens’ X-Night features many standard Telenet-Fidea team sponsor components, including SRAM Red shifters and rear derailleur (Force/Rival front derailleur), 4ZA carbon bar/stem combos, and Avid Shorty Ultimate cantilever brakes. Wellens opted for Dugast Typhoons for the slick grass of CrossVegas, and set up his Avid Shorty Ultimates in the low-profile setting both front and rear for maximum stopping power. For this early season campaign, Wellens raced with a SRAM S975-SRM-based crankset to measure his power output, and used the French Specialities TA Zephyr 39/46 110 BCD chainrings. Wellens values monitoring his race data, and not only raced with a power meter but also with a heart rate monitor strap.
Another unique feature on Wellens’ Ridley X-Night at CrossVegas was the discontinued 38mm Ritchey WCS Carbon Tubular wheelset. Wellens and the rest of the team typically race on Ridley’s housebrand of 4zA carbon wheels, but the borrowed Ritchey wheelset filled in nicely during CrossVegas. By the time the USGP’s Planet Bike Cup muddy Day 2 had arrived, Wellens was riding Reynolds wheels, freshly wrapped with brand new Challenge Limus tubulars.
Although they’re reconfigurable to a wide-profile, high-clearance setting, Wellens left his Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes on the low-profile setting even for the muddy conditions of the second day at the Sun Prairie USGP, and counted on his pit crew to keep the wheels rolling smoothly as he rode to a commanding victory at the Planet Bike Cup Day 2.