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Anna van der Breggen's World Champs S-Works Tarmac and its rainbow chain

Joe Robinson
27 Sep 2019

A custom rainbow chain and cassette for the defending women's road race World Champion. Photos: Peter Stuart

When you are as good at riding bikes as Anna Van der Breggen, you can get away with having cool stuff on your bike. The 29-year-old will take to the Bradford start line on Saturday as the defending road race World Champion and as part of a Dutch team that is stacked with a host of favourites for the 2019 title in Yorkshire. Van der Breggen, Vos, Van Vleuten, Majerus – it's honestly frightening. 

Van der Breggen has been one of the best riders, if not the best, in the world for almost half a decade. She has won all three editions of Liege-Bastogne-Liege Femmines, the previous five Fleche Wallonne titles, two Giro Rosas and one World Championships.

This Sunday that roll call could get one race longer if she reaches Harrogate's Parliament Street finish line first.

Van der Breggen’s weapon of choice for Saturday’s 150km slog is the Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc, the bike which arguably combines aero and lightweight better than any other.

Riding a 52cm frame, Van der Breggen has opted for a super aggressive setup which matches the punchy nature of this year’s Worlds course. A Zipp SL Speed carbon stem is slammed and attached to some matching Zipp carbon bars.

Van der Breggen will ride Sram Red eTap AXS 12-speed with a 48/35 chainring, complete with integrated Quarq DUB power meter, and a 10/32 cassette to give a gear ratio suited to the punchy climbs and sheer descents that the women will tackle.

The real interest with Van der Breggen’s drive chain, however, comes with the special cassette and chain the defending champion will get to ride on Saturday.

Sram has provided its former and current holders of the rainbow jersey with special iridescent chains and cassettes to race this weekend.

The technicolour combo was initially developed for Sram’s Eagle mountain bike groupset, although it perhap makes sense in that setting. Mountain bikes get really dirty which means the chromatic effect would often be quickly lost.

On a road bike, however, it makes tonnes of sense and with the Yorkshire sunshine beaming down on Van der Breggen’s bike, it looks absolutely blingin'.

The lack of flat roads means that Van der Breggen has opted for a fairly shallow wheelset in Zipp’s 303 firecrest disc wheels with a set of 26mm Specialized S-Works turbo cotton tubular tyres.

Another small note is that Van der Breggen is a user of relatively niche pedal brand Time opting for its top-end Xpresso carbon pedals, probably the least-used pedal brand in the professional peloton, men's or women's.

Van der Breggen may not defend her title this weekend but at least she is giving herself the best chance possible with one of the best looking bikes in the peloton.

Photography by Peter Stuart