Spotlight on the Tarmac
Spotlight on the Tarmac
The month of May has a great weight of significance in the cycling calendar as it brings with it the first Grand Tour of the year. The Giro d’Italia is finally here which means immense GC battles, gorgeous scenery, and above all else, insane mountain stages. For these races, the biggest of the year, the teams need only the very best equipment to help them get over the line – or over the summit – faster than everyone else. This year, the men of Quickstep Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe are riding Specialized frames. For the flat and sprint stages, the Venge will be their weapon of choice, while the mountains call for the Tarmac, a significantly lighter beast. Let’s take a look at its merits.
The Specialized Tarmac doesn’t just do one thing well, it does everything exceptionally. It can win three-week long Grand Tours just as well as it can reign victorious at the Tour of Flanders, all with very few alterations, besides tyre choice, and of course, the rider. Not only is it an all-round performer, but the Tarmac range is accessible to almost all levels of cycling. It starts with the Tarmac SL4 Sport, the all-carbon, Shimano 105 equipped starter model, and works all the way up to the S-Works Tarmac Di2, which brings together all the very best equipment, from its electronic groupset to its Roval CLX32 carbon rims.
It is not uncommon for bike frames to vary in performance depending on the size of the frame. That is, a small rider’s geometry may lend itself to a stiffer and perhaps less responsive ride, while a larger rider might experience a more spongy feel. Specialized has sought to beat this through unprecedented Ride-First Engineered technology in collaboration with McLaren. The size-specific approach to frame manufacture has been achieved through a combination of extensive data acquisition, professional rider feedback and a meticulous approach to carbon construction. The result is that cyclists of all shapes and sizes will benefit from exactly the same performance characteristics on their Specialized Tarmac.
A Proven Champion
Besides Peter Sagan and past Grand Tour winners like Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali, there are countless riders who deserve a mention alongside their Tarmac steeds. Last year’s Giro d’Italia was a ground-breaking edition for the Etixx-Quickstep team (now Quickstep Floors) who had been labelled a squad largely devoted to the Spring Classics. However, thanks to Bob Jungels and Gianluca Brambilla, the team made the world sit up and pay attention to their general classification prospects. This year we can expect the same story to play out as both young riders return to fight for pink, or perhaps white, as Jungels goes head-to-head with Adam Yates in defence of his best young rider status. We can’t forget Bora-Hansgrohe who bring a young team to the Giro. The German squad are without intended leader Leopold König, but Patrick Konrad is among those who have shown formidable climbing form so far this season.
Make sure you tune in to the Giro this May and look out for low-flying Specialized Tarmacs, especially in the first two weeks. Don’t forget that you too can enjoy the spectacular speed and versatility of the Tarmac range. There’s a model to suit every rider.
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