Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) will race on another new, special world champion's edition Specialized Tarmac SL7, his fourth different version of the bike since taking ownership of the rainbow jersey in 2020.
When Specialized recently unveiled its range of paint jobs for the teams it sponsors across the men's and Women's WorldTours, Alaphilippe's was shown as the white bike he rode in the second part of last season.
However, Specialized have now revealed another custom design, which Alaphilippe will use when he kicks off his season next month.
Alaphilippe himself had a say in the process and has opted for an unostentatious design that is strikingly light on the rainbow colour theme. The Frenchman had suggested that the world champion's jersey weighed heavily on his shoulders in 2021 and so perhaps he is seeking to make less of his status and draw less attention to himself after retaining his title in Leuven in September.
The frame is a marbled white, with black components making for a sober design. The rainbow element only comes on the seat tube, with patches of blue, red, black, yellow, and green, stretching down towards the bottom bracket.
There are also special touches on the top tube within Alaphilippe's eyeshot, in the form of his logo, a vertical rainbow ribbon, and the words 'Imola 2020' and 'Leuven 2021' to celebrate the scenes of his Worlds double.
"I am very proud to have a unique and personalized bike. It gave me great emotion when I discovered it because it's the bike I've always dreamed of and which corresponds to who I am," Alaphilippe said.
"It is as I had imagined it: simple but with small details that are important to me. I'm glad I had the chance to collaborate with the Specialized team to make it happen."
Specialized's Tarmac SL7 is the US brand's flagship road race bike and was a merger between its old Tarmac model and the former Venge aero bike. Alaphilippe will therefore use it in every mass-start road race this season.
The new bike is Alaphilippe's fourth custom model since he first captured the rainbow jersey in Italy in 2020. He rode black-based frame with extensive rainbow flashes during his first races as world champion and into the 2021 campaign, winning Brabantse Pijl and La Flèche Wallonne on it.
He then switched to a white model with diagonal rainbow stripes ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and took it to the Tour de France, where he won the opening stage.
He then won Worlds again on a standard-issue matte-black Tarmac SL7, but soon received a special-edition from Specialized that was based on a mottled silver and was said to represent 'the swirl of competition'.
That bike is destined never to be raced, however, with Alaphilippe taking his simpler new design into a season that starts at the Tour de la Provence on February 10 and will take him to the Classics, the Tour de France, and to Australia for a potential shot at a Worlds triple.
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