Peter Sagan tested his Specialized S-Works Roubaix bike during the Tinkoff team's final reconnaissance ride of the Paris-Roubaix pavé on Friday morning, giving the machine a serious shakedown before Sunday's all-important race.
The bike was still clean when Cyclingnews captured this gallery of images before the ride but was no doubt covered in dust and mud after the world champion rode the most important sectors of pave between Denain and Carrefour d'Arbe with his Tinkoff teammates.
Sagan has opted for a conservative looking all-black bike, with only a few personal touches such as his custom decorated Prologo saddle and Look pedals, which have flashes of rainbow colours and the PS logo. The Roval CLX 40mm deep rims also have rainbow stripes but the bike is very similar to those of his Tinkoff teammates who will also be in action on Sunday. Sagan's bike is fitted with the beefy stem and deep handlebars that he normally uses, with padded bar tape that has extra grip to ensure he does not lose control of the bike on the cobbles.
The major difference and perhaps a surprise, was Sagan's choice of Shimano components. Instead of using the electronic Shimano Dura Ace Di2 he used so far this season, Sagan has an all-mechanical groupset on the Roubaix bike. The mechanical chainset is fitted with 44-53 chainrings to give Sagan a range of gear options for early in the race and for the finale on the pave.
Tinkoff's chief mechanic Christophe Desimpelaere revealed to Cyclingnews that it as Sagan's choice to revert back to mechanical gears.
"Last year he had an issue in the finale, so he wants to go on mechanical this year," he said. "With Roubaix, there's no guarantee against problems. Cancellara had a mechanical issue in Harelbeke using mechanical groupset. If you have bad luck it doesn't matter if you're on electronic or mechanical.
"The components are very similar set up to the road bike. The position is identical, it's only the frame set that changes and the tyres."
The Specialized frame is similar to the model used in 2015, with large oversized tubes and the Specialized proprietary Zerts inserts in the fork and seat stays that are design to help absorb the blow that the rough cobbles throw up to the riders via the bike.
It is designed for the pave of Paris-Roubaix and very different to the Specialized S-Works Tarmac that Sagan used to win the Tour of Flanders.
"The wheelbase is longer, to make it more comfortable for the impact," Desimpelaere explained. "From the front axle to the rear axle is longer. Also there is more clearance in the fork and rear stay, because of the bigger tyres. These wheels wouldn't even fit into the bike on Flanders frame."
While some riders opt for 28mm tyres for Paris-Roubaix, Sagan has gone for 30mm, leaving little clearance in the frame but giving him some extra grip and comfort. The final decision on tyres and pressure will be made on Sunday morning; depending on the final weather forecasts and depending on of the cobbles are wet or dry.
"The tyre pressure is less than normal but I won't say how much,” Desimpelaere said. "Weight is different from rider to rider and so everyone has their own pressure."
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