Specialized Down Under
The start of the new season always brings with it a whole host of new tech, and what better place to show off the new bling than beneath the sparkling sun Down Under? A lot of our new kit has been spotted, from new bikes to new shoes, so here’s the lowdown on some of the tech we sent to the first World Tour race of the season.
Sagan debuts the Allez Sprint Disc
As most other riders climbed aboard their super lightweight carbon fibre bikes at the Down Under Classic criterium, Peter Sagan and a selection of his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates chose an alternative and unlikely frame material – alloy.
The Allez Sprint Disc takes alloy to the next level, constructing a bike that – as Sagan says – feels stiffer than both the carbon fibre Venge and Tarmac. Here’s what the three-time world champion had to say about the bike in an interview with Cyclingnews:
“I did some training on the bike at the team camp in Mallorca in December. Now they've built me a new bike, with new colours. It's a lot stiffer than the Venge and the Tarmac. We're going to try and race it in the criterium and then we'll see how it goes.”
Welcome Alloy to the WorldTour. ⠀ ⠀ At this weekend's Down Under Classic criterium, @petosagan and some of his @borahansgrohe teammates will be piloting the Allez Sprint. With Red Hook victories, National Championships, and now WorldTour racing, there's not much the Allez Sprint hasn't handled. #allezsprint⠀ ⠀ Photos: @cyclingimages⠀ ⠀ #iamspecialized_road #allezsprintdisc #tourdownunder #cycling #iamspecialized
We think it went pretty well for Sagan, the super-stiff Allez Sprint propelling him to an impressive second place in the Down Under Classic criterium, beaten only by home favourite Caleb Ewan. To customise the bike and make it perfectly suited for a fast finale, Sagan chose to employ his regular unmarked carbon stem and incredibly aero S-Works Aerofly handlebars – a cockpit that has worked wonders on his Venge machine.
Upon closer inspection, you can just about pick out the innovative Smartweld system. These welds are moved away from the traditional locations and placed in other, less conventional spots, producing a frame with much greater stiffness and overall comfort.
I'm happy with my result today at the Down Under Classic. It was a hot and fast day and I'd like to thank all my teammates for their work, especially @daniel87oss, @gatto_oscar and @maciejbodnarofficial that protected me. They helped me keep clear of the crashes in the finale and that was important today. Overall, I'm satisfied with the start of the @tourdownunder and the season. (Photos @veloimages) Som spokojný s mojím dnešným výsledkom na Down Under Classic. Bol to horúci a rýchly deň a rád by som samozrejme poďakoval všetkým svojim tímovým kolegom za ich prácu, najmä Danielovi Ossovi, Oscarovi Gattovi a Maciejovi Bodnarovi, ktorí ma celý deň chránili. Pomohli mi, aby som sa vyhol pádom vo finále a práve to bolo dnes dôležité. Celkovo som spokojný so začiatkom pretekov Tour Down Under a aj celej sezóny.
It’s this expertly crafted welding system that makes the Allez stand out from the crowd. It’s a bike that balances nippy responsiveness, comfort and sublime handling, all in one neat package. If there ever was a bike that fit the bill for both beginners and pros, then it’s the Allez Sprint.
The not-so-secret S-Works climbing shoe
Another piece of brand-new tech spotted Down Under was a pair of our super lightweight climbing shoes. The shoes are yet to be released, but let’s talk about what a few of you may already have spotted.
They’re a similar shape to our S-Works 7 shoes but differ in the fact that they’re light on material and largely smoothed out on the upper with only a single Boa dial on the tongue. We’ve added more Dyneema mesh as well, making the shoe’s upper material even stronger and stiffer than ever before. This makes the shoe not only super sleek but also extremely light – perfect for galloping up the steepest of mountains.
If you want to appease your hungry appetite for a super shoe, then check out our existing S-Works 7 road shoes which Specialized sponsored riders rode to countless victories across the 2018 season, attesting to their sheer awesomeness.
Off to a flying start Down Under
Our riders have started the 2019 season just how they finished the last – by winning races. It was the women who got us off to a flying start, with the Specialized Black Sheep team lighting up Women’s Tour Down Under with their full complement of young Aussie riders.
The team placed two of their riders in the top 10 overall, with both Jaime Gunning and Taryn Heather looking comfortable among some of the top names in women’s cycling. Gunning finished 6th and claimed the U23 White Jersey with almost a two-minute margin ahead of her closest rival.
It was on stage three that Gunning and the rest of the Black Sheep team really shone, with the youngster skipping up Mengler Hill alongside some of the Women’s World Tour’s top climbers. Aboard the super-lightweight and truly versatile women’s S-Works Tarmacs, it seemed there was nothing that could stand in the way of the Black Sheep team.
In the men’s race, it was the newly named Deceuninck-Quick Step team that started strong, with Elia Viviani romping home for an impressive stage win on his S-Works Venge. The Italian expertly picked his way through a hectic final bunch sprint, launching from the pack at such a speed that he won the stage by several bike lengths.
It wasn’t long before Specialized, and the aero Venge, were notching up another victory, this time on stage three thanks to the three-time world champion himself, Peter Sagan. After surviving a savage mid-race selection that saw most of the sprinters shelled, Sagan hung on to contest the final sprint alongside the punchy climbers, beating the likes of Luis Leon Sanchez and Daryl Impey with a well-practised lunge across the line.
The men’s race now heads to the Adelaide Hills where attention suddenly turns to the GC riders. Friday’s iconic Corkscrew stage forced the riders over the infamous category one Corkscrew climb (8.9% average over 2.3km) within the last 15km before plummeting down a gorge road for a rapid descent into the finish. There was a decisive split on climb which saw most of the GC favourites grind it out, staying away to finish about 30 seconds ahead of the charging pack. Defending champion, Daryl Impey, clinched the win ahead of ochre jersey-wearer, Paddy Bevin, and our top finisher was Dries Devenyns from Deceuninck-Quick Step.
After a lumpy start, Saturday’s stage five should be one for the sprinters before the grand finale of a double ascent of Willunga Hill on Sunday. One of the pre-race favourites, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jay McCarthy, will be hoping that both their knowledge of home roads and an incredibly versatile bike – the S-Works Tarmac – can spark some fireworks on the slopes of the iconic climb.
The World Tour has officially returned and if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably already been swept away by cycling fever. If you have, then keep an eye on our news page where we’ll be posting updates from the world of bicycle racing.
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