Mark Cavendish has announced that this year will be his last in the pro peloton and he’ll go out with at least 34 Tour de France stage wins to his name; let’s check out the Pinarello Dogma that he rode to three of those victories in 2012.
When people mention Mark Cavendish they always talk about the Tour de France – understandably because he’s currently tying with Eddy Merckx for the most stage victories ever with the possibility of going even higher in this year’s race. Let’s not forget, though, that Cav has won 15 individual stages in the Giro d’Italia (along with a couple of team time trials) and three stages in the Vuelta a Espana (plus one team time trial). He’s also won the World Road Race Championships, Milan–San Remo, several world titles on the track… the list of achievements is, frankly, ridiculous.
Reigning World Champion Cav rode for Team Sky back in 2012, a team focused on making Bradley Wiggins Britain’s first Tour de France general classification winner. Cav won three stages including – for the fourth time in a row – the final sprint in Paris. No one who saw it will ever forget race leader Wiggins putting in a big shift in the lead-out train. That just isn’t supposed to happen.
Cav’s bike was a Pinarello Dogma 2 rather than the Dogma 65.1 that was launched just before the start of the Tour de France and there were some great details that we really love.
The Dogma 2 was made from Toray’s 60HM1K carbon fibre and the Onda fork was made from the same material, coming with a tapered 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in steerer for a little extra stiffness compared to a straight steerer.
The most distinctive features were the wavy chainstays, seatstays and fork legs that Pinarello said resulted in improved damping. Did it work? Put it this way: no one copied Pinarello and the brand has really dialled back the curves over the years. Visually, you either loved it or hated it.
The down tube was asymmetric to take account of the higher forces on the driveside of the frame compared to the non-driveside. Although disc brakes add a further level of complication these days, Pinarello has stuck with asymmetry.
There’s a lot going on at the front end with Cavendish opting for his own signature edition of Pro’s Vibe Carbon Sprint Stem and handlebar. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? The massively oversized stem was unidirectional carbon fibre while the bar was 7050 alloy with internal ribs for reinforcement, keeping things stiff on that final sprint to the line.
Rather than smooth, round drops, the bar was an anatomic shape. We’re not 100% sure about the dimensions but we think that bar was 40cm, possibly 38cm, and the stem was around 130mm.
Look closely and you’ll see that the hoods on the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 dual control levers are double-layer. Why? Although a lot of people prefer a slim handhold, Cav simply wanted a chunkier grip. How do you keep that second hood in place? Some super glue will do the trick.
The bar tape was double-wrapped too, but only the top section from the shifter clamp towards the centre. This is the sort of thing we see riders do for more comfort in Paris-Roubaix, but there were no cobbled stages in the 2012 Tour de France – Cav just wanted a larger circumference to the handlebar. This was a bit of a thing at the time; lots of the Team Sky riders had two layers of bar tape and Bradley Wiggins used three.
You can see that there are small holes cut in the tape for the auxiliary shifters, allowing Cav to change gear easily while sprinting out of the saddle with his hands down on the drops.
Rainbow bands on the frame announced Cav’s status as World Champion...
...as did rainbow details on the bottle cages.
Shimano launched 11-speed Dura-Ace 9000 in 2012 – the electronic Di2 version was called 9070 – although Cav’s bike was equipped with the previous 10-speed 7970 Series Di2 because the new version wasn’t available at the time. He used an SRM power meter. Although there are loads of power meters to choose from these days, SRM ruled the roost back in 2012.
The wheels are Shimano Dura-Ace too, in the form of C50 tubulars. The team also had the shallower C35 for the mountains and the deep-section C75 for the really fast days. Veloflex provided the tubular tyres.
Cav’s saddle of choice was the Fizik Arione CX with braided carbon rails.
If you’ve ever wondered how a rider gets special wheels when they’re leading a particular classification, it’s simple stickers applied by a tired mechanic the night before the next day’s stage.
Although Team Sky was well prepared, Cav didn’t lead the points classification at any stage during the 2012 Tour de France, that honour going to Fabian Cancellara for a couple of days before Peter Sagan took the green jersey for the remainder of the race.
Still, Cav won three stages, Wiggins won two and Chris Froome chipped in with another. Wiggo won overall with Froome in second, so it was a hugely successful Tour de France for Team Sky.
Make sure to check out our other Bike at Bedtime features for some very cool-looking bikes here!
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.