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Specialized is letting a new Roubaix bike be seen under Saxo Bank star Fabian Cancellara this week in Belgium. Cancellara was spotted on the unpainted Specialized at the midweek Scheldeprijs race outside of Antwerp, and then on Thursday he and his team took their bikes to the second half of the Roubaix course for some reconnaissance. VeloNews joined a small gaggle of journalists who tagged along to check out both the bikes and the punishing paths known as pavé on Thursday before the race.

Specialized marketing manager Nic Simms is keeping mum on the details of the new Roubaix bike. “It’s part of Project Black, like the Shiv was last year,” said Simms. But he refused to describe any of its features or construction details.

“Project Black is what we call our development program,” he added. Referring to the new bike, he said, “It may or may not see production,” but it’s hard to imagine that Specialized would decline to pursue a retail future for their high level projects like this one.

Despite his reluctance to describe features of the bike, it’s not hard to see some obvious differences between the new bike and the Roubaix SL2 used by both the Saxo Bank and Quick Step teams last year. It’s got internal cable routing, a reworked bottom bracket, a new fork, and different rear dropouts. In the gallery, comparison photos of the two bikes seen back-to-back reveal the differences.

Win a print of this Graham Watson Paris-Roubaix photo, autographed by George Hincapie

Other than the frame itself, Cancellara’s new bike is similar to the rest of Saxo Bank’s quiver. It wears a SRAM Red component group with Nokon cable housing, a bar and seatpost from FSA, and Spartacus’s own Swiss flag Prologo saddle. For the race on Sunday, Cancellara and the whole team will ride Ambrosio rims laced to DT Swiss hubs and wrapped in FMB rubber.

Click here to enter full gallery of cobbles bikes, including Cancellara’s prototype Specialized.