The SL3 may have won the Tour on its debut, but now there's a new Tarmac SL on the block

It's only 12 months since Specialized unleashed the Tarmac SL3 to a 1-2 finish at the Tour de France… , but that hasn't stopped Specialized rolling out a new Tarmac the SL4 for this year's race.

According to Specialized their new baby enjoys a stiffness to weight ratio that's a whopping 19 per cent better than last year's model, due in part to the features like the King Cobra headtube, which is claimed to stiffer, stronger and lighter too, a new fork and wider seatsays and one piece chainstays and bottom bracket – an approach to stiffening the back of the bike up that seems to be gaining ground: Specialized did the same on the SL3 and Cannondale have been using a one piece design for a number of years on their SuperSix.

We're also guessing that the rapid pace at which carbon technology has had something to do with it too – the Specialized guys we've talked to say they've learned a lot from their collaboration with McLaren, indeed Alberto Contador (and selected other riders will be riding a prototype Mclaren Tarmac SL4… We'll find out a lot more and have a lot more pics (and video too) in a few hours time when we get to see it in the flesh and talk to the man who designed it, Chris D'Alusio Specialized's Director of Advanced R&D.

In the meantime here's some pictures they've released of their new bike built up with both SRAM Red and Shimano Di2.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.