Quick-Step Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe lined up for the opening road race stage of the Criterium du Dauphine with two riders from each team aboard a previously unseen aero bike from bike sponsor Specialized.
The new bike shares several design features from the current iteration of the aero-specific S-Works Venge model and although the frame model decals on the chainstays were masked with electrical tape, it is highly likely this is an updated S-Works Venge Disc frameset.
Several subtle design updates appear on the new frame. However the most obvious update looks the be on the forks. A deeper fork blade, square-taper at the dropout area (although the forks are thru-axle) and the removal of the deep fork crown on the current model all seem to be design features taken from the latest Shiv fork - Specialized's time trial frameset.
At the head of the down tube, an indent in the tube looks to encourage stability as air flows over the frame.
Like the fork, several areas of the frame seem to have deeper, truncated tubing, which is likely to reduce turbulence and improve aerodynamics. The most obvious tubing design updates are on the aforementioned fork alongside the seat stays and head tube.
While the current version of the Venge appears to have more of a sloping down tube, the new frameset seen at the Dauphine appears to have a flatter profile and loses the raised crown at the head of the top tube.
Interestingly, at first glance the seatpost looks to be similar to the existing Venge-specific post, the seatpost flares at the top just below the saddle to accommodate the Di2 junction box to the rear, which keeps the frame profile as smooth as possible.
As with the existing Venge - and is a common trend with the latest marquee framesets - the aero bike appears to have an integrated stem system, although Quick-Step Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe looked to have different stem cap systems.
As well as the new frame and stem, new aero handlebars were seen on the new bikes and Peter Kennaugh (Bora-Hansgrohe) also looked to be running them on a regular stem on his S-Works Tarmac SL6 frameset. Labelled up as S-Works Aerofly, the swoop, shape and carbon lay-up look to be different from the current iteration of the range-topping aero handlebars.
The four bikes spotted at the Criterium du Dauphine were all equipped with disc brakes. As with the latest Specialized Roubaix, it is highly likely Specialized will only produce a disc version of the frameset as key design features of the fork and rear end would need to be redesigned for calipers.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a detailed look at the new aero frameset from Specialized.