Shane Archbold, aka the Flying Mullet, is arguably one of the WorldTour's finest lead-out men. He has already led his teammate and long-time friend Sam Bennett to numerous victories in this currently-curtailed 2020 season.
Archbold's not just a carriage in a train, though. On February 16th, Archbold beat Jumbo Visma's George Bennett to take the New Zealand national championship title. A few days later he took to Twitter to express his gratitude to the team's kit sponsor Vermarc for his new custom national champion's kit.
Six days into being national champion and @vermarcsport have whipped together an exceptional kit for me! I’m biased but someone tell me this isn’t the coolest kit in the pro peloton! I’m thrilled to bring the #silverfern back starting tommorrow in uae @deceuninck_qst pic.twitter.com/hTYahaDvt8February 22, 2020
A week on from arguably the biggest win in Archbold's career, he was resplendent in the silver fern at the UAE Tour, where on stage 2, he led Sam Bennett to 2nd place.
The race was subsequently cut short in dramatic fashion due to an outbreak of coronavirus in the team hotel. Riders, staff and press were subsequently quarantined, with some teams being bound to their hotel rooms for the following two weeks.
Archbold has clipped in just once since, at the GP Monseré, where he led teammate Fabio Jakobsen to victory.
The more recent self-isolation and social distancing measures set out by countries worldwide have led to Archbold filling his time with indoor training and, according to Deceuninck-Quickstep's Instagram, jigsaw puzzles.
Our riders have a message for the fans in these difficult and trying times, when it’s important to stay safe, take care, think of others, and remain confident better days will come. Video: @lapedalecc Deceuninck - Quick-Step Team
A photo posted by @deceuninck_quickstepteam on Mar 19, 2020 at 10:28am PDT
The latest issue of Procycling magazine, Cyclingnews' sister publication, has recently compiled a feature on the Archbold-Bennett friendship.
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"When I don't win, I am not that relaxed, but he's there to calm me down." 🇮🇪 ⠀ ⠀ "That's probably another pro, that it wasn't forced upon us to be team-mates or friends." 🇳🇿⠀ ⠀ @Sammyben and @kiwiflyingmullet have been friends and team-mates on and off since 2013, at An Post, Bora-Hansgrohe and now @Deceuninck_quickstepteam. Procycling finds out why they get on so well together.⠀ ⠀ ✍️ @sophiesmith86⠀ 📸 @cauldphoto⠀ -----⠀ Never miss an issue of Procycling and subscribe to our print and/or digital editions. Get every issue delivered straight to your door 📬 Follow the link to get your copy.⠀ ➡️ https://buff.ly/2GrRjKs⠀ ----⠀ #procycling #procyclingmagazine #magazine #onsalenow #april #cycling #cyclingrace #roadcycling #cyclists #cyclingfans #athletes #instacycling #cyclinglife #itsallaboutcycling #thatcyclinglife #lovecycling #cyclinggear #cyclingapperal #cyclingphotography #cyclingshots #photography Procycling Magazine
A photo posted by @procycling_mag on Mar 23, 2020 at 3:25am PDT
Shane Archbold's Specialized S-Works Venge
Archbold's bike is a perfect stereotype of the 2020 WorldTour bikes. He is riding aboard Specialized's best aero road bike, the S-Works Venge, which is fitted with the range-topping Dura-Ace groupset from Shimano. Disc brakes reign supreme and Deceuninck-QuickStep are one of the many teams committing exclusively to the technology for 2020.
- Lotto Soudal to ride disc brakes only in 2020
- Movistar goes disc-only with SRAM, ending 37-year partnership with Campagnolo
- Bahrain McLaren to ride disc-only Merida road bikes in 2020
However, while numerous teams (QuickStep included) are trialling tubeless tyre technology in 2020, Archbold is sticking with the tried-and-tested and still-most-common tubular format, which is still considered by many riders to be the best road tyres for WorldTour racing.
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Shane Archbold's Specialized S-Works Venge
Shane Archbold's Specialized S-Works Venge full bike specifications
Frameset: Specialized S-Works Venge, 56cm
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, 53/39T
Bottom bracket: CeramicSpeed
Wheelset: Roval CLX 50 Disc tubular
Tyres: S-Works Turbo tubular 26mm
Handlebars: S-Works Aerofly, 42cm
Handlebar tape: Supa-Caz Super Sticky Kush Classic
Stem: S-Works Venge stem, 140mm
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace PD-R9100
Saddle: Specialized S-Works Toupe
Seat post: Specialized Aero
Bottle cages: Tacx Deva
Computer: Wahoo ELEMNT Roam
Rider height: 1.82m
Seat height (from bottom bracket at centre): 756mm
Saddle nose to handlebars (at stem): 590mm
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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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