Images courtesy of Walter Pettinati

Streamline Goes Racing

Louis Moore of British Elite team Wheelbase Cabtech Castelli reports back on the Italian Summer campaign

The Italian Job

Italian racing is old school, fast, chaotic, but most of all, incredibly beautiful. With a hilly selection of foreign national races, it was time to put the Streamline AIR-Base wheels through their paces.

The Setup

The 8-race block would cover a variety of terrain, but the general theme the race organisers followed was to find a big hill of 3-7km, and to do as many laps of it as you could within 140-180km. When picking equipment, keeping weight down was a great consideration but we also wanted to have a fast setup that wouldn't compromise rhw aerodynamic performance for the whittled-down bunch sprints at the finale either. The Streamline Air-BASE 32mm wheels provided the perfect platform, weighing about 1400g and offering nearly as much aero advantage as the AIR-64 covers. These were laced with Specialized Turbo Cotton 26c tyres for the first four races, then 28mm Vittoria Corsa G2.0 tyres for the latter half. Latex tubes were used throughout to drop some weight and to keep rolling resistance low. This was a familiar combination used during a successful 2022 hill climb campaign, so this gave me confidence it was a safe bet for high performance for the hilly races.

Trek Madone SLR with Streamline AIR-Base wheels

The going gets tough

When one thinks of Italian roads they may envision vineyards, hairpins, Ferraris and smooth well maintained roads. The race organisers had other ideas. With roundabouts, potholes and oil slicks galore, it was carnage. One race in particular stands out, the GP Rovescala. A hilly race that completed 7 laps totalling 140km and over 2300m climbing. While the 4km climbs tested the stiffness and lightweight construction of the wheels, it was the downhills that provided the real challenge. Potholes and bumps on corners were smashed through at over 80kph, testing the limits of rider and equipment. One blessing was that the heavy rain downpour that persisted through the race briefing curtailed before we rolled out...

The tough get going

We began to find our flow in the next series of races, bagging two more top ten finishes in Foreign National 1.12 races, including the prestigious, 77th edition of the Florence-Viareggio classic. The best was still yet to come though...

11km climb during the Florence Viareggio Classic

Taking it to the Italians

Our best results came in the final two races, on back to back days. The first was a hilly 180km race with a brutal finishing circuit. Our recon ride proved helpful as we were able to dominate the final breakway, with 3 of the 8 riders representing Wheelbase. After getting distanced on the final climb I managed to bounce back and sprint for 6th at the line. Up the road, teammate George Wood had managed to clinch victory, propelled by a strong leadout from teammate Tom Martin. Placing us 1st, 4th and 6th on the day, with one more opportunity to go. This final race was a welcome change, a flat parcours! This was well received as we dragged our heavy legs up to the startline. Our legs eventually got turning though, and we got 3 riders in the 35-man breakaway that slipped away with 30km remaining. I missed it, but kept my cool. I held my nerve until the one lap to go marker, then unleashed a hail-mary solo bridging attempt to chase them down. After getting good initial separation from the peloton it was looking promising, but there was a long way to go to get to the breakaway. The 25 seconds gap began to close and eventually the junction was made with half a lap remaining. I found my teammates, we regrouped, and planned our tactics for the final leadout.

With several big continental teams represented - Including the infamous Colpack-Ballan team - we had our work cut out for us. Holding position near the front of the bunch we came into the last 500m with Colpack on one side, and a bush on the other... Now it was time to be brave. Ben threw a nudge into the rider closing us in, giving me just enough space to launch on the outside and the 200m drag race ensued. This drag race I did not win, coming up short to finish second place. It was a good day out and an excellent last two races of the trip. The Streamline wheelset I used proved fantastic during the hilly races, which were extremely selective. Next time I'll make sure I have some AIR-64 fairings for those flat bunch sprints...

An extremely fast 46kph average speed at Targa Libero National
A close 2nd to finish the trip, Ciao!