Peter Sagan will ride Paris-Roubaix on a custom version of Specialized's new Roubaix bike, and like his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates, Tom Boonen and the rest of the Quick-Step Floors team, he has opted against disc brakes due to the risk of a long, possibly race-losing wait for a wheel or bike change on the cobbles.
The new Roubaix is only available to the public with disc brakes but Specialized have made a limited production model with dual mount rim brakes for its professional riders. There was speculation about if this respected UCI rules, which state that bikes must be available for sale to the public. However Specialized said the rim brake model was approved by the UCI because it is only a change in brake type and minor changes to geometry, rather than a completely different bike.
Sagan tested the bike during Wednesday's Scheldeprijs and then gave it a final shakedown with his tyres of choice for Paris-Roubaix during a recon ride on Thursday. It seems Sagan has opted to ride Shimano Dura Ace mechanical gears, instead of his usual choice of Di2 electronic gears, as he tries to reduce the risk of any problems on the pave.
The images provided by Specialized show Sagan's frame equipped with the new Shimano Dura Ace Di2 but he rode on mechanical gears and an older Dura Ace chainset on Thursday. He is likely to ride on 53x44 chainrings, fitted with a white 4iiii dual sided power metre.
Sagan's bike stands out for its grey colour scheme that has turns iridescent when it catches the light. It is subtle but offers a flash of rainbow colours to match Sagan's world champion jersey.
The Specialized Roubaix offer some extra comfort and shock absorption thanks to Specialized's Future Shock suspension cartridge in and above the head tube and the low seat post bolt position on the down tube. The spring and damper cartridge can be changed to tune the stiffness of the bike but the pro riders have a more rigid option.
Specialized Racing's Chris D'Alusio explained to our sister site BikeRadar that Specialized and its teams worked together to test a variety of different springs for racing on the cobbles. The final product was a stiff, progressive spring that ramps at both ends of the travel. It is harder to engage initially and harder to bottom out than any of the three stock springs, but relatively softer in the middle of the 20mm of travel.
The hits from the Paris-Roubaix cobbles are so jarring that the stiffest of the stock springs bottomed out too quickly, D'Alusio said.
Shimano's latest all-black Dura-Ace direct mount brakes provide the stopping power and provide clearance for up to 28mm tyres. Sagan is using 28mm Specialized S-Works Turbo Gripton tyres. They are mounted to Roval CLX 50 wheels, the same deep-section carbon wheels Sagan races in other races.
Sagan has insisted on using a Zipp Sprint stem rather than a sponsor's product, with black electrical tape covering the logos. It is paired with PRO aluminium handlebar, which is preferred over carbon for Paris-Roubaix because it's less likely to break in a crash. The bars have a single wrap of SupaCaz tape, while Sagan prefers the Specialized Romin Pro saddle.
With its gum-wall tyres and grey primary colour, the bike is subtle and somewhat conservative in component choices but is also packed with technology that Specialized hope will help Sagan dominate the pave of Paris-Roubaix.
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