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Video: A look at the Specialized Tarmac and Cervelo S5 race bikes of Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish before they left the Tour de France

We bet Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish are pissed this morning.

The world champion has been booted out of the race and the Manx Missile has fractured his right scapula. We're pissed too. We were hoping to run an in-depth piece on Sagan's brand new Specialized Tarmac today, the article was written and ready to be published, but the drama that unfolded yesterday has forced us to change our plans. 

So here then is a look at the bikes that Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish were riding in the 2017 Tour de France. 

Peter Sagan's Specialized Tarmac

Specialized pulled the wraps off its sixth generation Tarmac - lighter, stiffer, more aero and compliant - the day before the 2017 Tour de France, and Peter Sagan duly put the new bike to great use winning on stage three in dramatic fashion, before being DQed in even more dramatic fashion on stage four. What a race, the drama doesn't normally unfold until the mountains. 

Anyhoo, before all that drama, we had the chance to check out Peter Sagan's bike. It's the latest and greatest Tarmac, with a frame that in a size 56cm is a whopping 200g lighter than the previous model. It's also more aero too, which Sagan will have liked; he regularly flitted between the old Tarmac and Venge ViAS depending on the stage profile, but the extra aero performance of the new Tarmac might make the choice between the two much easier.

Peter Sagan Specialized Tarmac - 21.jpg

Peter Sagan Specialized Tarmac - 21.jpg

The new frame is wearing the same custom pearlescent paint finish, with the turquoise team colours of Bora-Hansgrohe and black and gold logos, as he's been racing during the 2017 season (not last year as I mistakenly said in the video above - he, of course, had a camo painted bike last year. How could I forget?). It's a more muted affair than we've seen from previous Peter Sagan custom paint finishes, you can see 6 of the best right here to see exactly what I mean. We'll now never know if Specialized had prepared another custom painted bike in case of him clinching the green jersey again...

Lead designer at Specialized Ron Jones tells us the story behind this paint job: 

“I wanted to create a more mature looking bike to match Sagan’s growth as an athlete and double world champion. I did some research on some new prismatic paints and found a product that did exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to have a ton of depth to the paint, with obvious references to the rainbow jersey but without explicitly adding stripes or patterns.The rainbow is reflected on the whole frame in a non-static way,” he explains.

Peter Sagan Specialized Tarmac - 9.jpg

Peter Sagan Specialized Tarmac - 9.jpg

Away from the paint finish, the build of the bike is fairly standard, well almost. There's the brand new Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset with a 4iiii power meter attached to the new crankset. Roval CLX50 tubular wheels are shod with Specialized Turbo tyres, and Specialized also supplies the Romin saddle and carbon fibre aero handlebar. 

Peter Sagan Specialized Tarmac - 15.jpg

Peter Sagan Specialized Tarmac - 15.jpg

The only non-standard equipment is the Zipp SL Sprint stem, its identity disguised by a strip of electrical tape. He's used this stem in previous seasons, and we can only presume he prefers the stiffness to those stems supplied by the team sponsors. 

Mark Cavendish's Cervelo S5

We managed to get a look at the specially prepared Cervelo S5 just hours after the mechanics had finished building it ahead of the race. Cav stuck with the Cervelo S5 that he was also riding last year, it's the Canadian company's most aerodynamic race bike.

What really set the bike apart from the regular Dimension-Data team bikes was the paint finish. Well, it's not really painted in the traditional sense. The finish on Mark Cavendish’s bike owes a lot to Formula One. Cervelo started working with a paint specialist company in Silverstone to produce a super light paint finish for the T5GB track bikes used by Team GB in the Rio Olympics last year, and this partnership led to Cav’s custom S5. 

Cavendish Cervelo S5 Tour Tech - 11.jpg

Cavendish Cervelo S5 Tour Tech - 11.jpg

The company - Silverstone Paint Technology- has developed a heat-shielding material used for Formula One brakes and engines that is just 10 microns thick and weighs just 1g when used on the S5 frame. And when it's applied to bare carbon fibre it produces the stunning chrome finish. The Cervelo lead designer has then added a green dye to the material to produce a fade finish across the frame. You can see how thin the finish is, the carbon weave shows through in several places.  Because so little paint has been used, the frameset weight has been reduced by 75g. 

It's not cheap this finish. It costs a staggering €4,000 to produce, and Cav only had two bikes done up like this. Don't get requesting this finish from your local Cervelo dealer, it ain't going to happen. Another special modification to Cav's bike is additional carbon fibre in key places to help it resist flex during a sprint, so it's essentially a custom made frame for Mark. That's the sort of treatment you get when you're a superstar.

Cavendish Cervelo S5 Tour Tech - 4.jpg

Cavendish Cervelo S5 Tour Tech - 4.jpg

The equipment on the bike includes a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Enve rims laced to green Chris King R45 hubs. The Dimension-Data team is sponsored by Rotor but Mark Cavendish has shunned sponsorship duties preferring to use an SRM power meter, even if it means the logo has to be concealed with a bit of black tape. There's also an Enve aero carbon handlebar and stem. Shimano Dura-Ace pedals complete the build. 

Which bike would you choose given the choice?

More Tech from the Tour de France right this way.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.