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Bike at Bedtime: Julian Alaphilippe’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7

The bike of the World Champion is a lovely thing and this one has some interesting features.

The current World Champion is one of cycling’s biggest showmen and his bike of choice is this beautiful S-Works Tarmac SL7. The build features Roval wheels, a Pro handlebar, Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, and CeramicSpeed bearings.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Alaphilippe-2

If you’re a rider on a team that is sponsored by Specialized, you’ve got a pretty simple choice to make when it comes to picking your frame model for road races. Specialized has made the Tarmac SL7 that was launched last year the only option for its racers with the Venge having been all but killed off.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Alaphilippe-4

That hasn’t really made a difference to the World Champion. He was very busy doing some winning last year aboard the SL7 and funnily enough, it hasn’t taken Alaphilippe long to get the ball rolling in 2021 either.

> Review: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Dura-Ace Di2 2021

His setup is largely unchanged from last year, but some of the choices that the Frenchman makes are very interesting - a full-on aero machine this bike is not.

Juilen Alaphillippe S-Works Tarmac SL7 2

At the heart of the bike is the S-Works Tarmac SL7 frameset. It’s a full carbon design, only takes disc brakes and electronic shifting and costs a cool £4,250. When you become World Champion, yours will come with a fancy paint scheme too.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Alaphilippe-1

Deceuninck Quick-Step is one of the most prominent teams that Shimano sponsors. It’s riders have been rumoured to have been testing early samples of a suspected update to the Dura-Ace groupset.

Juilen Alaphillippe S-Works Tarmac SL7 5

For now, Alaphilippe has the R9170 groupset. That is to say that he’s running hydraulic disc brakes with 140mm rotors front and back, along with electronic derailleurs that shift the 11-30T cassette and standard 53/39T chainrings.

> Here's what we want to see from the new Shimano Dura-Ace groupset

Shimano’s R9100-P chainset provides Alaphilippe with dual-sided power data, though he’s not the type of rider to stare at his power numbers while racing.

Juilen Alaphillippe S-Works Tarmac SL7 3

Interestingly, CeramicSpeed is listed as an official partner for 2021, but we’re yet to see the SL7 getting an OSPW on the rear derailleur. They do provide the headset and bottom bracket bearings though.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Alaphilippe-5

Wheels are from Roval and Alaphilippe switches between the lightweight Alpinist CLX for the hilly days and the Rapide CLX for flatter stage profiles. Interestingly, both are clincher wheelsets. No tubeless or tubulars to be seen on any of the photos that the team has sent out.

> Tour de France tech trends - the rise of tubeless and clinchers, but are tubulars dead?

Even at Strade Bianche, the race that takes in Tuscany’s famous gravel roads, and the opening weekend of the Classics, it looked as though Alaphilippe was on the S-Works Rapid Air tubeless-ready clincher tyres. Tubular wheels are still seen as the safest option when a rider punctures as they are able to ride on the flat tyre without worrying about the tyre falling off. Will Deceuninck Quick-Step’s use of clincher setups change this?

> Psssssst! What happens when a rider punctures in the Tour de France? …More than you might think
Juilen Alaphillippe S-Works Tarmac SL7 4

Moving to a less contentious area, Pro supplies the handlebar with Alaphilippe choosing a traditional round carbon Pro Vibe bar over an aero option. This is wrapped in Supacaz bar tape.

The saddle is an S-Works Romin Evo, pedals are Shimano Dura-Ace and bottle cages are supplied by Tacx.

Images courtesy of Deceuninck - Quick-Step Cycling Team / Getty Images / Wout Beel

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

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