For 2020, Irish National Champion Sam Bennett has swapped from Bora-Hansgrohe to fellow Specialized-sponsored team Deceuninck-QuickStep. Although the stable of bikes available to the Irishman hasn't changed, his first outing for his new team was at the Schwalbe Classic criterium aboard an aluminium Specialized Allez Sprint Disc Down Under edition.
Specialized released these bikes along with a range of kit and equipment inspired by the Australian budgie and announced a $100,000 USD donation to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue organization, which is working to rehabilitate the budgie and other species affected by the blaze.
What's also notable about Bennett's crit ride is the fact that it's made from aluminium. The frame is produced using Specialized's D'Aluisio Smartweld Technology which sees the welds moved away from the joints to make the frame stiffer. The brand says it's the most rigid alloy bike it has ever tested — a claim Bennett agrees with: "I'm just blown away by how the bike felt. I thought 'okay, aluminium bike, budget bike', but getting on it, it felt equally as good as the Tarmac, it felt stiffer than the Tarmac."
When asked if that extra stiffness could increase fatigue on longer days, Bennett added: "Maybe in a Tour de France stage, but you're still riding a better bike than 60% of the peloton," before adding "I really want to win on the bike to prove a point."
Shod with a full Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, at the back, Bennett's bike sees a direct mount derailleur hanger and an 11-28t cassette. The Irish sprinter is pushing standard 53/39t chainrings, and his cranks feature Shimano's integrated power meter — although there was no magnet glued to the frame that we could see.
Bennett's rolling stock was the Roval CLX 64 aero wheelset, dressed with 26mm S-Works Turbo RapidAir tubeless tyres. Bennett was the only rider of the six aboard the Specialized Allez to opt for tubeless tyres.
The QuickStep rider's seating arrangements come in the form of a Specialized Power saddle, and he's opted for the 'Pro' spec with titanium rails instead of its carbon-railed S-Works cousin. At the front, a beefy 130mm Pro Vibe Stem doesn't sacrifice anything to flex, and the S-Works Aerofly bars have a deep drop to allow the Irish champ to maintain an aero sprinting position.
With the deep wheels, beefy stem, alloy frame and discs, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Bennett's bike is anything but feathery, tipping our scales at 8.15kg — luckily it's only here to be raced around a pan flat criterium course, as Bennett will return to Specialized's carbon aero bike, the Venge, for Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under.
"The Venge is just such a quick bike, that you have to ride the Venge", Bennett added.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Sam Bennett's Down Under edition Specialized Allez Sprint Disc.
Sam Bennett's Down Under Specialized Allez Sprint full bike specifications
Frameset: Specialized Specialized Allez Sprint TDU edition, Size 52
Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 Hydraulic Disc Dual Control Lever
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-28t
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P w/ Dual sided power
Bottom bracket: CeramicSpeed
Wheelset: Roval CLX 64 Disc
Tyres: S-Works RapidAir Tubeless Ready 26mm
Handlebars: S-Works Aerofly
Handlebar tape: Supa-Caz Super Stickey Kush Classic
Stem: Pro Vibe Sprint, 130mm
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace PD-R9100
Saddle: Specialized Power Expert Ti Rails
Seat post: Specialized Aero
Bottle cages: Tacx Deva
Computer: Wahoo ELEMNT Roam
Rider height: 1.78m
Seat height (from bottom bracket at centre): 740mm
Saddle nose to handlebars (at stem): 580mm