Stage 21 of the Tour de France saw Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) sprint to an emphatic victory on the Champs-Élysées. His win rounded out a Tour de France to remember for the Irish national road race champion, who earlier in the day had mathematically secured victory in the green jersey competition, during the intermediate sprint which his rival, Peter Sagan, chose not to contest.
His win marks the first Irishman to win the green jersey since Sean Kelly in 1989.
It has become customary for brands to showcase their successes with custom componentry on the Champs-Élysées. Colnago wasn't going to pass up its first-ever Tour de France win, supplying Tadej Pogacar with a yellow V3Rs. Specialized has a history of supplying custom bikes to its winners. Last year, Sagan rode a green Venge. This year, it was Bennett's turn.
Given his green jersey leadership was all but sewn up already, Specialized supplied Bennett with the all-new bike ahead of Sunday's final stage into Paris. A custom-painted, predominantly green S-Works Tarmac SL7 with 'Together We Win' artistically written across the top tube.
The bike features a dual-sided design. The drive side's basecoat fades between different green hues, and it is possible to see the graffiti-like lettering across the top tube, while the non-drive side features the same wording in a smaller typeface across the seat stay painted over what looks to be a faded photo collage base.
“We wanted this bike to pull in more than just the single jersey colour to exemplify that it’s never just one colour or one human that makes change or helps a person be victorious," explained the bike's designer, Kayla Clarot.
"The frame’s intent was to convey a sense of peaceful energy and feel like a breath of fresh air. It’s a moment of celebration and we did it together.”
The custom frameset forms one of a limited run of 100 frames available to the public at Specialized.com.
While the battle was between two Specialized-sponsored athletes in Bennett and Sagan, Specialized has confirmed that if the pendulum did swing the other way, Sagan wouldn't have been riding this exact design.
"Our graphics team typically has quite a few designs dialed with a story behind each one," explained Kelly Henningsen, Global PR at Specialized.
Despite Bennett's usual preference of tubular tyres, and despite being photographed with Turbo Cotton clinchers, the Irish national champion's raced using Roval's Rapide CLX clincher wheelset, fitted with the Turbo RapidAir tyres.
The tyres are designed as a tubeless tyre but have been used by riders in this year's Tour de France with inner tubes. The reason is that they offer slightly greater puncture resistance compared to the Turbo Cotton tyres, and thanks to a differently shaped tyre bead, sit tighter on to the rim, so there is a lower chance of shedding the tyre in the event of a puncture.
The limited-edition S-Works Tarmac SL7 frameset will cost $6,500 USD.
A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the OUTRIDE Foundation, an organization dedicated to proving that cycling benefits your brain, through research, cycling programs, and grant-giving activities.
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