Compact Crankset Used in Schleck vs. Stander Showdown

Burry Stander vs. Andy SchleckIn October 2009 Specialized Bicycles sponsored a mountain vs. road showdown in Madrid, Spain. The contest was held on a local 12k climb that features both a road and trail route. Saxo Bank rider Andy Schleck would take the road route while World Under 23 Mountain Bike Champion Burry Stander would take the rather technical mountain bike route. Each rider would be timed on the ascent and then they would switch bikes and each try the climb via the opposite route. Combined times on the mountain and road routes would yield the winner.

It’s not a surprise that Stander ended up winning the contest handily. He frequently trains on the road while Schleck’s mountain bike experience is limited. Schleck’s strength is also more evident at the end of a long grand tour, than it is in a short 12k climb. Both riders mounted Specialized S-Works Epic mountain bikes and Specialized Tarmac SL2s on the road. The interesting thing is that Stander chose a compact 50/34 setup for his road climb. I would think that an experienced cross-country mountain bike racer would be fine with a standard road crankset. But maybe he felt more comfortable with compact gearing that more closely matches that of a cross-country mountain bike. Perhaps the high cadence riding that helps cross-country riders zip up short, steep hills is better translated into road compact gearing than the 53/39 standard. Whatever the reason for going with a compact crankset, it seems to have benefited Stander because he finished the road climb in 36 minutes 29 seconds while Andy Schleck finished in 35 minutes 47 seconds.