Early on in last year's Tour de France, Julian Alaphilippe stormed into the yellow jersey on Stage 3 with a daring attack on the Cote de Mutigny, 15km from the finish into Epernay.
This year he went a day earlier, taking the maillot jaune on Stage 2 into Nice. With a little over 13km remaining, Alapahilippe jumped toward the top of the Col des Quatre Chemins. Only Marc Hirschi could follow - Adam Yates later bridged - but the Frenchman's power was too much for his breakaway companions and the onrushing peloton led by Greg van Avermaet, giving the Deceuninck QuickStep leader his 16th day in yellow.
He did so aboard the all-new Specialized Tarmac SL7, the race bike that Specialized calls the 'one bike to rule them all', replacing not only its Tarmac SL6 predecessor but also the brand's Venge aero bike.
As sponsors to both Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora Hansgrohe, the Tarmac SL7 is being ridden by all riders from both teams, including GC contenders Alaphilippe and Emanuel Buchmann, as well as Sprinters Sam Bennett and Peter Sagan.
His win marked the first road stage win for clincher tyres and inner tubes in modern cycling history. Despite the risk of being unrideable when flat, riders from both Specialized-sponsored teams have been seen using the technology, which Roval claims "is delivering the lowest riding resistance and supple road feel."
This use of clinchers will come partly due to the non-tubeless-compatible nature of Roval's newest wheelsets, although curiously, at the time of shooting, Alaphilippe's bike is seen fitted with Specialized's Turbo RapidAir tyres, the dedicated tubeless road tyres from the American brand.
The Rapide CLX is the aero wheelset in the range, and it puts emphasis on stability in crosswinds with the use of a shallower front rim. The Alpinist CLX is the lightweight offering, weighing in at just 1,248g. This is further exampled with Alaphilippe's use of Shimano XTR mountain bike disc brake rotors, which are 10 grams lighter than the Dura-Ace counterparts.
Equipment choice comes day by day, however, and for the flat stage 3 into Sisteron, Alaphilippe was back onto Roval CLX50 wheels fitted with tubular tyres.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Julian Alaphilippe's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
Julian Alaphilippe's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 specifications
- Frameset: Specialized Tarmac SL7
- 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, 11-30T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P w/ dual-sided power meter, 53/39
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Wheelset: Roval Alpinist CLX, Rapide CLX, CLX50 tubular
- Tyres: Specialized Turbo Cotton, Specialized Turbo tubular, Specialized Turbo RapidAir
- Handlebars: Pro Vibe Superlight
- Bar Tape: Supacaz Super Sticky Kush
- Stem: Specialized Tarmac Stem
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace PD-R9100
- Saddle: Specialized S-Works Romin Evo
- Seatpost: Specialized Tarmac seatpost
- Bottle cages: Tacx Deva
- Cycling computer: Wahoo Elemnt Roam
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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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