This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Having shapeshifted from a three-times time trial world champion to the general classification contender he is today, Australian Michael Rogers remains a rider to watch out for.
Rogers was unlucky to get embroiled in a crash during Sunday's final stage of the Tour Down Under, a race he won back in 2002 and taken this time around by Rohan Dennis. Rogers had previously been looking good for an overall top-10 finish in the race, and we managed to get a closer look at the Specialized S-Works Tarmac he's been riding for team Tinkoff-Saxo.
The S-Works Tarmac, which has been updated for 2015, is designed as a performance all-rounder. While the top sprinters may be seen on the aero Venge, and the rougher Classics will have riders on the Roubaix, the majority of Specialized sponsored riders will be on this new Tarmac for 2015.
Made of high-modulus FACT 11R carbon, the S-Works represents the very best from the Big S. The main story with this frame comes from Specialized’s Rider-First Engineered collaboration with McLaren, which involves looking at the frame tubes and angles of each individual size to ensure the smaller and larger frames aren’t just scaled versions of a 56cm, and that each size performs equally.
The new frame features some revised frame tube shapes for improved aerodynamics along with a nearly integrated seat clamp. Frame stiffness and ride quality is said to have improved too. However, as Rogers’ rides a 56cm, it’s unlikely he’s had to adapt much from his S-Works SL-4 from last year.
The gloss and glitter black paint is combined with fluoro yellow – it’s a hard one to look past – and the choice of colour and design layout is beautifully executed.
While rumours abound of an impending FSA electronic groupset and a sponsorship of the team, Tinkoff-Saxo team members are currently riding a mixed bag of drivetrain parts. These are a combination of sponsor-provided FSA, a pre-existing stockpile from SRAM and new components bought from Shimano.
As well as being on SRM FSA K-Force Light BB386 and FSA K-Force Light BB386EEVO (spare bike) cranksets, Tinkoff-Saxo riders have been using FSA chains, which are reputed to come from the same manufacturers used by other well-known and trusted brands.
Over the past few weeks, Rogers has been seen to snap two of those chains under race conditions. Time may tell if this was merely down to bad luck, a problem with the chains or a complication caused by the mixed-brand setup.
The SRAM RED chainrings are a complete mystery to us – Tinkoff-Saxo was previously sponsored by SRAM and so would likely have deep supplies of the rings, but, given the FSA sponsorship, we’re unsure why the team aren’t using its chainrings.
The rest of the drivetrain is made up of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, something we’re told was bought from Shimano as a filler groupset until the rumoured FSA is ready.
Tinkoff-Saxo will ride Roval wheels in 2015
The team rolls on Specialized’s own Roval wheels. Rogers’ bike features the Rapide CLX 40 tubular wheelset, which has a claimed weight of 1240g. These 40mm deep carbon wheels feature CeramicSpeed sealed ceramic bearings, a DT Swiss star-ratchet freehub, and skinny and round DT Swiss Revolution spokes.
Glued to these rims are Specialized Turbo tubulars in a 24mm width.
The cockpit components on Rogers’ bike are provided by FSA, with a traditional bend alloy handlebar held by a lightweight OS-99 stem in a 130mm length. A slender 27.2mm FSA K-Force seatpost with a 25mm setback holds a Prologo Scratch 2 saddle.