Meet Russ; philanthropist and ultimate fanboy...

Russell Boyce won Mark Cavendish's bike in a Right To Play charity auction and then flew to London from Canada to get fitted and collect it.

A combination of devotion to the charity Right To Play and "huge admiration" for the newly-crowned World Road Race Champion and long-standing Right To Play Athlete Ambassador Mark Cavendish motivated Russell from Kingston, Ontario to put in the winning bid to buy one of the HTC-Highroad Specialized race bikes from the 2011 season.

The competition was for any one of the team riders' bikes depending on size but what Russell knew was that Mark Cavendish rides a size 52cm frame; the same as himself.

The auction was a special arrangement with Ebay and made possible by HTC-Highroad and Specialized.  The auction and associated promotion from Ebay has raised over £20,000 for Right To Play.

When Specialized UK and the new Specialized Concept Store in Covent Garden agreed to chip in with a Body Geometry (BG) Bike Fit along with the HTC-Highroad team's contribution of the bike, Russ didn't need convincing to jump on the plane for London to collect it.

...and stretch; part of Tom Kirkman's BG Fit assessment is the flexibility of his client.

The bike in question was Cav's S-Works Tarmac SL3 which Tom Kirkman from the Covent Garden BG Fit lab reckoned was used in the champ's Spring Classics campaign and possibly some of the Tour de France mountain stages. Crazing in the paint finish on the top of the monstrously stiff 14cm 'Mark Cavendish' branded carbon-fibre Pro stem suggested that plenty of sweat on long, hard rides had flowed in epic style as befits a Milan-San Remo winner although that particular ride in early 2010 wouldn't have been on this 2011 machine.

Leo Matlock from Right To Play, Specialized Covent Garden's Tom Kirkman and new owner Russell Boyce discuss saddle width.

We admired how the HTC-Highroad mechanics had adapted the SL3 frame neatly for routing Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronics where it was designed for Bowden cable and stroked the immaculate pair of HED 50mm carbon-fibre wheels which looked hardly used, the clue being no Highroad livery.

Glued-on Continental Grand Prix tubular tyres showed only the slightest wear and Russ was relishing using 'tubs' for the first time, possibly fitted with the HED wheels to his triathlon bike which is also a Specialized; a Transition last used for a Half Ironman.

The Right To Play charity evolved from an awareness and fundraising body called Olympic Aid which was founded in 1992 by the Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee with the mission "To improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace." Apart from support from Harlequins RC and Chelsea FC in the UK, Highroad Sports carries the torch for Right To Play in the cycling world although that's all set to finish shortly after Highroad's well publicised winding up at the end of the season.

Leo Matlock from Right To Play UK and a keen cyclist himself says, “Right To Play is proud to be well supported in the cycling world.  Cyclists such as Mark Cavendish are Athlete Ambassadors for Right To Play, Team HTC-Highroad and Team Net App are partners in the peloton and we have recently announced Specialized as a global partner.  This auction has been a great example of the level of support there is for Right To Play and I’d like to thank Mark, and the staff at Team HTC-Highroad and Specialized for doing all they can to support our fundraising initiatives.”
Each year Right To Play organises a multi day fundraising bike ride that follows a unique route and links up with the Tour de France.  Right To Play’s 2012 ride will see 200 people cycle from Liege to London and is supported by Specialized.

See www.righttoplay.org.uk/cycle for all the latest information.


BG Fit expert Kirkman gauges correct saddle height by measuring knee angle.


How does it feel? Cav's 14cm stem is a bit fierce, BG Fit suggested shortening to 10cm.


It has to go: Cav's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3 came with The Champ's 14cm stem.


Happy Russ? The bike is familiar with this stance.


Specialized Covent Garden Concept Store
11 Mercer Street, London, WC2H 9QJ
020 7438 9450