When Tyler Hamilton crashed and fractured his collarbone in the final kilometer of the Tour’s first stage, many people felt that his race was over; there was no way a rider with a broken collarbone could tackle the big climbs that were to come. But we’d reckoned without Hamilton’s sheer determination, and a little help from component maker FSA. FSA supplied Hamilton with a special version of its new 515gram Carbon Pro Elite crank, with a 110mm bolt circle, allowing him to run a 36 tooth inner chainring with a 52 tooth outer.
The lower gears helped Hamilton stay seated on the climbs, and recover enough eventually to break away from the peloton on the first slopes of the Col de Soudet and take out a stage win.
And, this is really a good compromise between three rings in the front. It makes the range better for weak guys like to have 52-36 in the front vs. 53-39. Couple that with a 12-25 in back and you have a really wide range. Or if you have a 13-26 in the back, you can pretty much go anywhere.