Danish national champion Matti Breschel's (Saxo Bank) Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL2 displayed all the usual tricks we've come to expect from bikes purpose-built to tackle the toughest one-day bicycle race in the world.
To Specialized's credit, many of them are already built in, including the slightly longer wheelbase and slacker angles to provide more stable and predictable handling on the cobbles, greater tire clearances to fit higher-volume rubber and the Roubaix's unique Zertz elastomeric inserts and engineered flex zones for a smoother ride.
Breschel's team-edition build goes a few steps further, however, with fork legs that are cut extra-long before the alloy tips are bonded in plus unique rear dropouts that add another 4mm of room at either end – an absolute necessity in case of a muddy parcours. The special team-only geometry further differs from standard consumer versions with its shorter head tube that allows for a more aggressive riding position.
Equipment throughout is classic Paris-Roubaix. Wheels are built with 32-hole Ambrosio Nemesis aluminum box-section tubular rims, unmarked DT Swiss 240s hubs and DT Swiss 14/15g double-butted stainless steel spokes with brass nipples for durability over the rough ground. Wrapped around is a pair of FMB Paris-Roubaix Pro tubular tires with a voluminous 27mm width, fine file tread and ultra-supple casing for better grip on the cobbles.
Similarly, gear ratios are tuned to Paris-Roubaix's relatively flat profile with 53/44T chainrings on the Specialized FACT carbon crankset and a tight 11-23T Shimano Dura-Ace cassette, joined together with a Dura-Ace chain [a SRAM chain and cassette were swapped in after the photo shoot but before Breschel started the race].
Otherwise, the rest of the Breschel's build is essentially standard road fare including FSA Energy T traditional-bend alloy bars with single-wrapped Specialized Roubaix tape and a carbon fiber FSA K-Force SB25 seatpost. Speedplay Zero Titanium pedals were installed at the time these photos were taken but those were also traded in prior to the start for Speedplay's special Paris-Roubaix edition models with milled-out aluminum bodies.
Total weight is a Paris-Roubaix-tough – but still light – 7.85kg (17.31lb).
Breschel sought redemption Sunday after a less-than-perfect bike change sealed his fate at Ronde van Vlaanderen a week prior (mechanics switched him to red brake hoods to more easily identify his rigs atop the car). But the day unfortunately didn't go as planned as he eventually abandoned with a painful knee.
At this point it's still unclear what team Breschel will ride for next year but you can rest assured the young Dane will be back for another run for glory at Roubaix.