Like a number of sprinters, Mark Cavendish appreciates the sprint-shifter concept, so he can change gears mid-sprint while keeping all of his fingers wrapped around the bar. Unlike all the other sprinters’ bikes that I have seen, though, Cavendish only uses a single sprint shifter — the one on the right side of his handlebar drop to move his chain into an increasingly larger gear.
Cavendish’s forward-facing position on the sprint shifter is also fairly unique, as most others will position the trigger facing somewhat inward to be activated by the thumb or a finger. I’ve noted Cavendish’s forward placement since at least 2017.
Cavendish won Milano-Torino Wednesday on his Specialized Tarmac SL7, equipped with unreleased tubeless tires that Specialized isn’t commenting on, and an older Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 power meter on his otherwise new Dura-Ace 9250 group.
James Startt captured the bike photos below at Tirreno-Adriatico, but the bike and equipment set-up is the same as Cavendish used at Milano-Torino.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl are racing on bikes that are Specialized and Shimano, tip to tail (if you count Shimano’s brand PRO and Specialized’s brand Roval, which we do).
The Shimano Di2 sprint shifter can be programmed to do various things, but the default is for the right shifter to move the rear derailleur into a harder gear. In the sprints, that’s all Cavendish needs.
Note the absence of a sprint shifters on the left side.
A PRO aero bar is bolted onto Specialized’s Tarmac stem.
Specialized has abandoned the Venge aero bike, but has incorporated some aero design work into the Tarmac.
A 54/40 9150 crank is used with the 9250 group. While 9150 is 11-speed and 9250 is 12, the crank works fine. Shimano has declined to comment on why a number of WorldTour pros are using the 9150 meters instead of the new 9250 option. Note that Quick-Step is also using their own direct mount rear derailleur attachment instead of the stock rear derailleur hanger.
Roval Rapide CLX is Specialized’s top-end race wheelset. Here, Cavendish is using a tubeless tire that is only labeled Specialized, and which the company won’t yet comment on.
Cavendish races on a 3D-printed Specialized Mirror saddle.
Another look at Cavendish’s new shoes, yet another upcoming Specialized product that is still under wraps despite being used in public.