What a difference a year makes.
At 2020 Tour de France — bumped back into August because of Covid — Julian Alaphilippe won stage three and made additional headlines because he did so on clincher tires. With tubular tires a mainstay of professional racing for decades, winning on tube-type tires used by everyday cyclists was quite novel.
At the 2021 Tour de France, the entire Deceuninck-Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe teams are planning to ride clinchers for the whole race, according to sponsor Specialized.
And at this year’s Tour, Alaphilippe is racing a specially painted bike — one of the many benefits of the world championship title he earned in September.
James Startt, on the ground at the Tour de France this year for his third decade of covering the event, captured these images of Alaphilippe’s bike.
The Tarmac SL7 features routing underneath the stem and down into the head tube. Instead of routing through the stem, the brake hoses and shift wires are tucked inside a plastic sleeve that bolts onto the bottom of the stem.
Julian ‘n’ Marion.
Custom paint and designs are increasingly common at the Tour. But only one rider gets to claim what Alaphilippe can.
Marion Rousse, a former French national champion, is Alaphilippe’s partner.
Specialized has abandoned its aero bike, the Venge, in favor of making its primary race bike, the Tarmac, as aero as possible.
Alaphilippe will have three identical bikes at the Tour.
With its Roval wheels and Specialized tires and components, the Californian brand has extensive coverage of Deceuninck — including helmets and shoes.
Alaphilippe is a favorite for the stage 1 finish.
Alaphilippe’s low ‘n’ PRO bar makes for a compact front end.