Three bikes perfect for riding L’Etape du Tour
With less than a month to go before the 2016 edition of the L’Etape du Tour, we thought we’d take a look at some of our best road bikes for tackling this type of epic road cycling challenge.
Firstly, a little bit about the Etape. Running since 1993, it’s a chance for amateur riders to emulate their professional heroes by riding the route of one stage (or ‘etape’ in French) of that year’s Tour de France route. It’s run by ASO, the same company that organises the Tour, as well as the Vuelta a Espana. For many cyclists, this event is high up on their bucket lists – constituting as it does the culmination of a childhood dream for many of us!
The course is always tough, with most editions running along one of the Tour’s mountain stages. 2016 is no exception with the route including four serious categorised climbs. There’s an extra-special element this year too, because the stage the organisers have chosen to feature will be the 20th of the professional race – the one before the final day riding into Paris. That means whomever is wearing the yellow jersey as the race reaches the Alpine town of Morzine will be the winner of the 2016 edition. For the general classification guys it’ll be the final chance to take a victory, so we can expect plenty of fireworks on the slopes.
With all that climbing you’ll need a bike that’s up to the task – so here we’ve collected a few of our favourites from the Specialized range that’ll help you get through the epicness of the Etape, or any other tough sportive for that matter.
The Tarmac is the bike favoured by Alberto Contador, who will be challenging for the yellow jersey come July, and could even be wearing it already by the time the pros reach Morzine two weeks after the Etape comes into town. Everything about the Tarmac is geared towards going fast in competitions, so included are plenty of features that’ll help you get quickly over the climbs, smash it along the valley floors and hurtle through the bends on each descent. There are a huge range of models to suit different budgets, but regardless of which one you choose the Tarmac will always deliver results. Contador recently unveiled his S-Works Tarmac with a custom paintjob celebrating his various Grand Tour wins. Don’t know about you, but we absolutely love it.
The Roubaix may not be quite as fast as the Tarmac, but what it lacks in overall speed it more than makes up for in ride comfort – which is just as important when you’re going to be spending 146 gruelling kilometres in the saddle. The biggest reason for this extra comfort is the frame’s Endurance Geometry – optimised to give you an aerodynamic, but upright riding positions. The frame and fork is lightweight FACT carbon, with electronic shifting Di2 Shimano available on the top-end models.
Built with our exclusive D’Aluisio Smartweld Technology, the Allez is the most advanced alloy bike ever made. Our innovative method for joining together the tubes makes for greater stiffness and lighter weight – which is pretty much the holy grail of road cycling bike design. Add into the mix the increased ride quality and you have something truly remarkable. The Shimano 105 drivetrain gives you a great range of gearing to select from, so you have all the gears you need to tackle those Alpine cols of the Etape, while the FACT carbon fibre fork keeps weight down and responsiveness of the handling high.
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