Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang was outsprinted - you might say outsmarted - by Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin for the win in the 9th stage of the Tour de France yesterday, but the 28-year-old Danish rider proved again that he’s a serious talent at the top level.
Earlier this season, Fuglsang finished fourth in the Dauphiné while he won both the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour of Austria last year. He also has a fourth place finish in Amstel Gold and 11th overall in the Vuelta to his name.
Fuglsang criticized the management of RadioShack-Nissan last season and was left out of the Tour de France squad as a result. He left at the end of the season to join Astana on a three-year contract.
This is Fuglsang’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4. The SL4 has been in the range for three years now but it’s still a fine bike in terms of its lightness and stiffness.
As is the case with most top-end performance bikes, the SL4 comes with a tapered head tube/fork steerer. Although Specialized go with a standard 1 1/8in upper bearing, the lower bearing is a far more unusual 1 3/8in, the idea being to provide confident handling and sharp steering. As you can see, Fuglsang slams his stem right down on top of the headset to get the front end as low as possible.
Astana use Campagnolo groupsets, Fuglsang’s bike being fitted with Record EPS components (we didn’t see a lot of top-end Super Record when we checked out team bikes prior to the start of the race).
The exception is Specialized’s S-Works FACT chainset that comes with hollow carbon crank arms and an oversized alloy axle.
Astana use wheels from Corima, in this case the new Viva S. These come with 32mm-deep rims and 18 spokes up front, 20 at the rear. That spoking at the rear might look a bit random but there’s method in it: Corima use 12 spokes on the drive side and eight on the non-driveside.
The chrome-plated S hubs look cool.
We can’t say the same about the brake shoes that house Corima’s own red carbon-specific pads. They look functional rather than pretty.
Cockpit components are from FSA who have a massive presence in the pro peloton. Although the OS99 CSI stem looks carbon, it’s actually aluminium under there with just a carbon skin. The CSI stands for Carbon Structural Integration and FSA reckon that the permanent bond between the carbon and the aluminium makes a difference to the performance. The faceplate is alloy/carbon too. It looks like Fuglsang takes a fairly normal length stem by professional standards – 130mm, something like that. Unlike many pros, Fuglsang goes for composite bars from FSA’s top-level K-Force lineup. They’re a carbon/Kevlar construction.
The seatpost is K-Force too. It’s a one-piece carbon-fibre construction with a really small top clamp to keep the weight down.
The saddle is a Fizik Aliante VS with carbon braided rails. The VS is short for Versus, denoting that, unlike most of Fizik’s saddles, it comes with a channel down the centre because some people feel that helps reduce pressure. Using an Aliante suggests that Fuglsang is a bull according to Fizik’s Spine Concept.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.