tional equivalent, at about half the price? We thought so. The heart of Trek's 5200, its frame, is constructed of the com-pany's proprietary OCLV (optimum compaction, low void) carbon fiber. What does this mean? Two words: light, strong (in fact, this is very frame that Lance rode to his first TdF victory in '99). The 5200 is the lightest bike on these pages; the difference is most notable on steep climbs, though it's also worth a few pre-ride dropped jaws from your riding companions. Like the Cannondale, the Trek is equipped with Shimano's Ultegra components, which feel every bit as slick and sure as the slightly lighter Dura Ace parts that Lance uses to conquer France.

LEMOND ALPE D'HUEZ
Who should buy it: Avid riders willing to forgo cutting- edge materials for a proven design and comfortable ride

$1,430 (available with a triple crank for $30 more); (920) 478-4680 or www.lemondbikes.com

Before Lance, there was Greg LeMond, the first American to win the Tour de France (in fact, he did it three times). Now retired, LeMond has turned his attention to designing road bikes, and his Alpe d'Huez, named for cycling's most famous alpine climb, is classic in every sense of the word. While many modern road bikes are constructed of aluminum, carbon fiber, or titanium, the Alpe d'Huez relies on Reynold's 853 steel alloy, famous for its ability to quell the high-frequency vibrations that lead to sore wrists and bums. As such, it exudes a magical, float-over-the-pavement feel, despite the slight weight penalty incurred by the steel-frame tubing. Bedecked with solid, working-class components, the Alpe d'Huez is a quick ticket to the finish of any ride, whether you're touring France, or the Sunday morning coffee-shop circuit.

CANNONDALE R900
Who should buy it: Go-fast types looking for a light, reliable steed for fast weekend rides, and maybe, just maybe, the occasional race