Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) has kicked off his second successive stint as world champion with a fresh new rainbow-themed paint-job on his Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, considered by many as one of the best road bikes.
Alaphilippe has spoken of how his status weighted heavily at times this year, along with his intention to make changes in mentality for his second stint as world champion, and the new bike is a big departure.
Whereas the previous version was was largely white with a section of rainbow bands, the new look is darker, with blue starting at the headtube and turning to red, yellow, and green as it progresses along the downtube.
The major colour feature, however, is a mottled silver that dominates the bottom bracket area, chainstays and seat stays, as well as taking up large parts of the top tube and forks. This is said to be inspired by "the swirling storm of competition", and is accompanied by a blurry print of the words 'World Champ' on the top tube.
"If you look at the World Champ top tube logo, it’s offset, as though their vision was starting to see double and the world champion rainbow stripes are starting to blur on the downtube and headtube," explained Specialized's senior graphic concept designer, Tom Briggs.
"The silver granite represents the swirling of thoughts, emotions, training and everything else that goes into that one singular moment of glory as they become the world champion."
The colourscheme is not exclusive to Alaphilippe, but is instead part of a new range of world champion's bikes rolled out by Specialized. Christopher Blevins and Sina Frei have very similar versions of their mountain bikes.
The Tarmac SL7 is billed as 'one bike to rule them all' and equips Specialized's flagship race bike with the aerodynamic features of the Venge model, which is now out of production. Alaphilippe rode the bike to the world title in Imola in 2020 and again in Leuven last month.
The paint appears to be the only change, with Alaphilippe running Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Roval Rapide CLX wheels, Turbo Cotton clincher tyres, and an S-Works Romin Evo saddle.
Alaphilippe will ride his new bike for the first time on Wednesday at Milano-Torino, and again on Saturday in the season's final Monument, Il Lombardia.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a closer look at the bike, and to get up-close and personal with the bike on which Alaphilippe won Worlds, click here.
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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