An epic tour
Wow. Wow, wow, wow...what a Tour de France we’ve seen this year! We always hope for an exciting race and 2019 has delivered in more ways than one. With Peter Sagan’s wheelies winning him yet more fans, Julian Alaphilippe warming the heart of even the most jaded French cycling fan and Specialized right in the mix all the way to Paris, we’ve loved this year’s race every step of the way.
The fastest bikes and the best of times
One of the most momentous moments on this year’s race was Julian Alaphilippe’s incredible time trial victory on stage 13. The 27km individual TT around Gap was always expected to affect the GC hopes of many riders, but even we didn’t dare to dream that Loulou – the nickname by which he is widely known – could not only stay at the top of the GC that day but win the stage too. On his brand new Shiv TT he set a blistering time, 14 seconds ahead of defending champ Geraint Thomas, proving that when it comes to fast bikes, Specialized knows best.
Loulou’s Shiv TT bike handled the short, undulating and twisty course with style – the new model is designed to ride as well as a road bike while still retaining the astonishing speed of the previous model. He ripped that course to shreds.
Ever the showman, Peter Sagan took the stage slightly less seriously, however!
Loulou gave us early notice of his form by winning the 3rd stage, a lumpy one that heralded three consecutive days where Specialized bikes were first across the line. Elia Viviani stormed to victory in the sprint aboard his Venge on stage 4 and to complete the trio, Peter Sagan did the same on stage 5.
A true aero wonder machine, the Venge is that brilliant mix of stiffness and compliance, a bike capable of taking the phenomenal power of the likes of Elia Viviani and turning it into a full hands-in-the-air celebration.
There’s more to winning sprint stages than being the fastest in the last 500m mind – you’ve got to get through the rest of the stage first. Luckily, enhanced aerodynamics isn't the only thing about the S-Works Venge that is redefining the meaning of speed. A large weight saving of 460 grams creates a bike that is at home speeding on the flats as it is skipping up the climbs. It’s been developed using our very special Rider First Engineered technologies, something you can’t see but will certainly appreciate on long and tiring rides when you need to keep all your matches dry for that last push for the line.
For the majority of their French summer holiday, our Specialized riders have been rolling on their Tarmac bikes. A bike as handy on local sportives and lazy recovery rides as it is at the pointy end in the French Alps, the Tarmac is the complete all-round bike that wins Tour stages and turns heads at the café stop.
The Tarmac has been winning races since it was first launched in 2003, taking stage wins at all three Grand Tours and even managing to scalp major Monument victories across both the men’s and women’s calendars. Over the years we’ve refined it so that now it’s the most complete race bike we’ve ever built.
Just last year, in a quest to make it as aero as physically possible, we tweaked the frame one more time. After countless Win Tunnel tests, we developed a new Tarmac that is even more aero than the Venge.
It’s not just been the big names that have been showing off their Specialized machines as they ride around the French countryside. Kasper Asgreen, the recently crowned Danish TT champ riding his first Grand Tour for Deceuninck-QuickStep, has combined water bottle duties with breakaway attempts in an impressive debut.
It’s unlikely that the Deceuninck boys expected to spend so long defending the yellow jersey – even the most optimistic Loulou fan has been surprised this July. Kasper seemed to pass hours leading the peloton past fields of sunflowers and crumbling châteaux, his Tarmac proving its overall ability on the flats, up the hills and down the other side.
Watching the Tour this year has really got us gee’d up for riding, not that we need much encouragement. Come on down and see us and we’ll get you on the road in no time.
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