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Gallery: The bike of the world’s most exciting rider

10 Jan 2020

Cyclist got a closer look at Julian Alaphilippe’s 2020 Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc

Words and photography - Joe Robinson

Julian Alaphilippe is a man in demand. After a 2019 in which he pocketed Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche and Fleche Wallonne, led the Tour de France for 14 days and reminded France why they love cycling, his stock rocketed into the stratosphere.

It means that when you fly out to the Deceuninck-QuickStep team camp in Calpe, getting any sort of valuable time with him is near-impossible so we’ve gone for the next best thing, we spent some time with his bike.

For the coming season, the swashbuckling Frenchman will be riding almost exclusively on the Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc, the America brand's all-rounder road bike.

After forging a path to becoming the comandante and poster boy of the world’s best team, Alaphilippe is one of the few Deceuninck-QuickStep riders to have been graced with a custom painted bike, a reward granted to only the very best.

A similar frameset was released at the back end of last year to celebrate the team’s 11-year association with Specialized, and only 199 framesets were produced for retail consumption with some being produced for the team as well.

Alaphilippe’s frame is a slight rework with the majority being coloured matte black and a slight navy blue detailing near the bottom bracket and on the forks.

A compact rider, Alaphilippe rides a 52cm frame with a 100mm stem.

You may cringe at the team’s self-chosen nickname of ‘the Wolfpack’ but it’s something the team have truly bought into wholesale, and with how many races they win it’s probably not to be sniffed at.

The little wolf head symbol is everywhere. The kit, bike stands, cars and even on the bike, with the word wolfpack on the inner fork and a wolf head sticker on the top tube acting as a reminder to the team that they ‘always ride as a pack’, as one rider told me.

Specialized does not only provide the team with bikes, but it also supplies its saddles, tyres and wheels too.

Interestingly, it looks as though Alaphilippe's bike has been rigged up with a tubeless-ready setup, opting for the Roval CL38 all-rounder disc wheelset with Specialized S-Works Turbo Rapid Air tubeless tyres in a 26mm width. A potential nod to the pro peloton moving away from tubular?

Like the rest of the team, Alaphilippe rides full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 disc, with a standard 53-39, 11-28 gearing set-up.

But what is interesting is that Alaphilippe has asked for an after-market K-Edge chain catcher to be fitted alongside the front derailleur. I’m not sure why but we could speculate it’s there in preparation for his Tour of Flanders debut this April.

Another small touches we noticed is the K-Edge Wahoo mount. The team has partnered with the American brand for 2020, replacing former providers Bryton. Riders will be using the Wahoo Elemnt Roam but also have access to the smaller Bolt unit.

There was also the Supercaz bar tape that the team is using. It was superbly wrapped, to the millimetre perfect.

It’s almost a given that Julian Alaphilippe will win big races in style this season, it’s what he does, and this is going to be the bike he does it on.