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Rim brakes and a personalised paint job: check out the Specialized S-Works Tarmac that Peter Sagan rode to Tour of Flanders victory in 2016

With less than a fortnight until this year’s Tour of Flanders, let’s take a look at the very special bike that Sagan piloted to his first Monument win

Excited yet? The 2024 Tour of Flanders takes place on Sunday, 31st March so we thought we’d whet your appetite by taking a look back at the Specialized S-Works Tarmac that Peter Sagan rode to victory in 2016.

Sagan has retired from the road, of course, but he’s hoping to compete in mountain biking at this summer’s Olympics. That said, he has just announced that he’ll be undergoing a second heart surgery this week.

“Nothing to worry about, you could say that my heart needs a pit stop,” he said. “I am sure I will be back in the saddle very soon.”


A post shared by Peter Sagan (@petosagan)

We wish him the best of luck. 

Going into 2016, Sagan had been among the biggest stars in cycling for several years, but that year he moved things up to another level, winning Gent-Wevelgem, taking three stage victories in the Tour de France and the points classification for the fifth consecutive time (he won it in 2018 and 2019 too), and adding the second of his three World Road Race Championships titles. He also finished on the podium at Tirreno-Adriatico and E3 Harelbeke and was awarded the Vélo d’Or for the best rider of the year. 2016 really did belong to Sagan.

His most impressive win of the year, though, was arguably at the Tour of Flanders – his first Monument (one of the five most prestigious Classics). Sagan bossed the race, and led a splintered field up the day’s penultimate climb, the Oude Kwaremont, with Sep Vanmarcke.

Peter Sagan bike - 17.jpgComing over the top of the Paterberg, Sagan dropped Vanmarkce and managed to solo the last 14km to the line, despite the best efforts of Fabian Cancellara to close him down.

Sagan was riding a Specialized S-Works Tarmac fitted with Roval wheels and a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, including rim brakes.

Peter Sagan bike - 7.jpgThe Tarmac frameset was painted in a custom livery that celebrated Sagan’s 2015 World Championships win. It was a stunning finish with multicoloured flecks in the paintwork and Sagan’s name in World Champion colours on the top tube. 

Although Sagan rode custom-sized Cannondale frames when he was at Liquigas (which combined a 58cm top tube with a 54cm seat tube for a long and low position) he used a stock 56cm Specialized S-Works Tarmac.

Peter Sagan bike - 25.jpgFor Flanders, Sagan used tried-and-tested equipment, including a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 11-speed groupset, although he swapped from a regular 39-tooth inner chainring to a 36-tooth. Combined with an 11-28t cassette, it provided some lower ratios for the steeper climbs.

Peter Sagan bike - 10.jpgHe used a Vision Aero Stem with a generous spacer above the CeramicSpeed top headset cover. The Shimano Di2 junction box positioned underneath the stem looks old-fashioned now, even though we're talking about a top-level bike from just eight years ago.Peter Sagan bike - 9.jpg

Some riders like to double up the bar tape to provide extra cushioning over the cobbles, but Sagan preferred just one layer. Although it has had a much higher profile since then, this was the first time we’d seen Supacaz in the professional peloton.Peter Sagan bike - 8.jpg

Sagan used an FSA Energy Traditional handlebar, made from double-butted and tapered aluminium with a flat top section. Weighing in at 269g, it wasn’t the lightest option out there, but he liked the traditional bend.

Peter Sagan bike - 26.jpgSagan’s bike featured SwissStop brake pads and a CeramicSpeed bottom bracket. CeramicSpeed bearings also featured in the hubs of the Roval CLX40 Rapide wheels.

Peter Sagan bike - 12.jpgThe rims were 40mm-deep carbon fibre fitted with 26mm Specialized tubular tyres which would be considered pretty narrow by today’s standards. Most teams in 2016 stuck with 25mm tyres for Flanders, the same as they used in regular road races (the wide tyres and special frames really only come out for Paris-Roubaix; the cobbles in the Tour of Flanders are far less crazy). 

> Why wider tyres on road bikes are here to stay… and why they may get wider still 

Peter Sagan bike - 4.jpgSagan rode on a personalised Prologo Scratch 2 Nack saddle with carbon fibre rails on his. In fact, most of the components were customised especially for the bike, including the FSA seatpost, Vision stem and Look Keo pedals. You can get that sort of special treatment when you’re World Champion.

Check out loads more Bikes at Bedtime 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 technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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.

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Surreyrider | 4 months ago

Looks pretty much like the current Aethos.

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