Specialized has created two custom S-Works Tarmac SL7 road bikes for the two current UCI road world champions, Anna van der Breggen and Julian Alaphilippe, ahead of this weekend’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Decked out with a white and rainbow stripe paint job, and designed by Elena Aker (a concept bike designer for Specialized), each SL7 is inspired by the iconic world champions’ jersey, and blessed with a series of individual flourishes intended to celebrate the two riders.
There’s no new tech here – underneath that paint it’s the same Venge-killing, aero-yet-lightweight race bike we reviewed last summer (a bike Specialized says is the “the winningest bike of 2021 so far”) – but it’s always worth pausing to appreciate beautiful custom paint jobs when you get the opportunity.
Anna van der Breggen’s custom-painted Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7.
SD Worx’s mechanics set about building the frameset up from scratch.
The early part of the build involves sorting out all of the internal routing for the hydraulic brake hoses.
Van der Breggen is a two-time world champion, so this isn’t her first rainbow-themed bike.
Van der Breggen’s bike has a SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset.
The wheels are Zipp 202 disc wheels, shod with Specialized Turbo Cotton ‘Hell of the North’ 28mm tubular tyres.
The rainbow stripes mirror the iconic jersey worn awarded to UCI world champions.
Even the pros love new bike day.
Van der Breggen taking her custom Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 for a test spin ahead of Sunday’s final Ardennes classic, Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
Riding for Team SD Worx, van der Breggen’s bike is decked out with a SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset, Zipp 202 disc wheels shod with Specialized Turbo Cotton ‘Hell of the North’ 28mm tubular tyres, a Zipp handlebar and stem, Time pedals and a Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror saddle.
Being one of the most decorated riders in the peloton (van der Breggen won La Flèche Wallonne for a seventh consecutive time on Wednesday), this is actually the second time Specialized has created a world champion-themed bike for the Dutch rider. The first came in December 2018, when Specialized created a custom S-Works Tarmac SL6 for the recently-crowned world champion.
Julian Alaphilippe’s custom-painted Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7.
A Deceuninck-QuickStep begins the build for Alaphilippe’s custom Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7.
Alaphilippe’s position on the bike is painstakingly replicated using precise fit measurements.
The frameset is adorned with small details inspired by Alaphilippe and his team.
More details on the down tube.
Alaphilippe’s bike has a Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 groupset.
Alaphilippe chooses PRO handlebars.
Deceuninck-QuickStep are currently racing on Roval Rapide CLX wheels with Specialized Turbo Cotton clincher tyres.
Specialized’s latest Tarmac is said to be so fast it made the Venge obsolete.
Alaphilippe receiving his custom-painted Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7.
He seems to like it…
Alaphilippe will attempt to win Liège–Bastogne–Liège for the first time on Sunday.
Alaphilippe’s bike is built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 groupset and pedals, with a PRO handlebar, a Specialized S-Works Romin Evo saddle and a Roval Rapide CLX wheelset shod with Specialized Turbo Cotton clincher tyres (yep, that’s correct – Deceuninck-QuickStep riders are using and winning on clinchers at the moment). The valve stems also appear to be those of Vittoria latex inner tubes.
This is Alaphilippe’s first season in the rainbow stripes, but the ‘curse of the rainbow jersey’ appears not to have held him back so far, with the Frenchman finishing second at Strade Bianche, winning a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and winning La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.
Both van der Breggen and Alaphilippe will race their new bikes for the first time at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, on Sunday, before continuing to use them throughout the rest of the 2021 season.
What do you think of the two custom bikes? Would you ride a bike with a rainbow paint job, or should they be reserved for world champions only? Let us know in the comments below.
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