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Bikes of the Tour de France: Julian Alaphillipe's S-Works Tarmac Disc

Peter Stuart
8 Jul 2019

Julian Alaphillipe S-Works Tarmac Disc looks every bit the all-round breakaway speed machine of the French rider himself

Julian Alaphillipe took an incredible solo win today on Stage 3 of the Tour de France, showcasing the rider's increasingly impressive all-round form. The S-Works Tarmac he rode may have played a smaller part than the Frenchman himself, but is well worth some admiration. 

Alaphillipe's S-Works Tarmac is arguably the perfect breakaway weapon of choice, with a mix of aerodynamics, stiffness and light weight.

While the S-Works SL6 Tarmac is less aerodynamic than the S-Works Venge, it is still every bit as aerodydnamic as the original S-Works Venge, and has been honed in Specialized's own 'Win Tunnel.'

Alaphillipe has sided for relatively deep Roval CLX50 wheels, which most likely brings the weight right up to the UCI minimum of 6.8kgs. The wheels have been paired with S-Works Turbo tubular tyres, which mix grip and weight together nicely. 

It's impossible to overlook the use of disc brakes by a high-profile GC contender like Alaphillipe, where many have opted to remain on rim brakes. The S-Works Tarmac uses 140mm rotors, smaller than some, but Alaphillipe's fast descending suggests that the smaller rotors are up to extremely harsh braking.

Alaphillipe uses a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, with a standard 53-39 groupset, paired with a relatively rangey 11-28 rear cassette. That suggests the rider is confident he can make cadence on even the steepest of inclines without the use of a compact chainset.

His front end is a little conservative by pro cycling standards, with a 10mm stem rather than the super-long 140mm stems that have become common in the WorldTour. That will aid his punchy and aggressive descending style.

Alaphillipe has used a soft felt fastening for his handlebar tape, rather than the cruder electric tape that normal consumers use, most likely to save on weight but also make for a more comfortable grip when on the tops. His tricolour K-Edge GPS mount is also a fantastic subtle flourish to the build.

Alaphillipe, like all of Quickstep, uses a Bryton Rider 450 computer to relay speed and cadence, along with the power data from his integrated Shimano Dura-Ace power meter.

Looking at Alaphillipe's form today, we can him to be putting his S-Works Tarmac through its paces in the mountains when vying for a possible GC victory.