Despite Peter Sagan leaving Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of the season for UCI ProTeam outfit Team TotalEnergies, the 2021 UCI Road World Championships won't be his last on a Specialized bike. The three-time world champion is a man with an immense brand image and substantial marketing clout, and as such, in the wake of the news of his signing, Specialized followed suit and announced a deal with the second-division team.
As a three-time world champion, the Slovakian clearly has the mental fortitude to win Sunday's race, but following a decline in his once-clinical form over recent years, many have already written him off as Wout Van Aert (Belgium), Mathieu Van der Poel (Netherlands) and Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) steal the headlines. Nonetheless, the fact remains that Sagan cannot be completely discounted on what is ultimately a route that suits his strengths.
His tilt at victory will be undertaken aboard this, his Bora-Hansgrohe team-issue Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7. While on the face of things, the bike looks no different from an off-the-shelf model, there is one spec choice of particular note: the derailleur cage and pulley wheels.
Sagan's bike is fitted with a 14-tooth bottom pulley wheel constructed from aluminium, rather than the 11-tooth thermoplastic option that comes standard on Shimano Dura-Ace.
No branding is present on the pulley wheel itself, but based on Sagan's relationship with CeramicSpeed, Cyclingnews believes it to be this 14-tooth alloy option from CeramicSpeed, which are actually designed for 12-speed mountain bike use. What's more, despite using a Dura-Ace Di2 derailleur, the derailleur cage appears to be from Ultegra - noticeable by the small hole at the bottom on the outward-facing side of the cage.
The obvious conclusion is that Sagan believes there's some drivetrain efficiency benefit to be had from using this setup, although a potential alternative solution could be a more simple case of Sagan - or Bora-Hansgrohe - suffering from the parts shortage just like the rest of us. We cannot know for sure.
The rest of the bike is a little less complex. Shimano's Dura-Ace R9170 groupset supplies the rest of the drivetrain and brakes. This may surprise some, given the recent launch of new Dura-Ace R9200, but the new groupset is, interestingly, still a rare sight in the WorldTour and women's WorldTour pelotons.
Sagan's choice of clinchers is an interesting one given the cobbled nature of the Belgian roads, but the choice of aero wheels - Roval's Rapide CLX - will surprise no one given the speeds at which climbs will be covered.
The bike's paint will be unlike any other in the peloton, as it comes from the 'Peter Sagan Collection' a collaboration between the man himself and Specialized, with whom he's launched five collections in total.
Like his wheels, Sagan's cockpit is as aero as he could get - without breaking sponsor agreements - as he's gone with the recently launched Roval Rapide handlebar, which is held in place with the proprietary Tarmac Stem.
Wrapping the bars is another brand that Sagan has a personal connection to, Supacaz, whose founder is actually the son of Specialized boss Mike Sinyard, and completing the build is yet more of the Specialized brand, in the form of the S-Works Romin Evo saddle.
Tech Specs: Peter Sagan's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
|Frame||Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7|
|Groupset||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2|
|Pulley wheel||CeramicSpeed XTR 14-tooth|
|Brakes||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc|
|Wheelset||Roval Rapide CLX|
|Stem||Specialized Tarmac Stem|
|Power Meter||Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P|
|Pedals||Shimano Dura-Ace R9100|
|Saddle||S-Works Romin Evo|
|Tyres||Specialized Turbo Cotton|
|Computer||Wahoo Elemnt Bolt|
|Computer Mount||Specialized BarFly proprietary|
|Bottle Cages||Specialized Carbon Rib Cage|
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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