This was Blythe’s first race on the Venge ViAS after his transfer to Tinkoff from Orica-Greenedge for the 2016 season, and the bike was certainly in its natural environment in a short, fast race with an average speed approaching 50km/h.
Despite being unveiled just before the 2015 Tour de France, the Venge ViAS hasn’t actually seen that many racing miles, with only a limited number being available for last season, and limited to star riders such as Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish. However, this year should see the aero super bike opened up to riders on all three of Specialized’s WorldTour teams.
When designing this bike, Specialized’s engineers were given the green light to pursue aerodynamic performance above all else, meaning that it’s no surprise to see the brakes hidden away out of the wind, with the front caliper extending backwards from the top of the fork, and the rear being located on the back of the seat tube.
The bike also comes with its own special stem and handlebars, meaning that Blythe does not use the same FSA finishing kit that’s found on his team issue Specialized Tarmac. The bar and stem contain all of the gear and brake cabling, which are routed through them and then into the frame, meaning that you don’t see the cables at all apart from the last centimetre or so where they exit the frame.
Watch: aero bike vs lightweight bike – which is faster?
Blythe matches his Specialized bike with the American company’s in-house Roval wheels, opting for the CLX 64 deep section options, a perfect choice for a race as fast as the People’s Choice Classic, which have also apparently been designed to work in perfect harmony with the Venge ViAS frame. These wheels are topped with some super-wide 28mm Specialized Turbo Cotton tubular tyres, meaning seriously close clearance at the rear brake.
The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset has a standard setup, with a 53/39t chainset at the front and an 11-25 cassette. The chainset does however come with an SRM power meter, which its PC8 head unit mounted on a specially designed out-front mount.
The finishing touches are provided by a Prologo Nago Evo CPC saddle that looks rather smart in team colours, CeramicSpeed bearings, and Look Keo Blade2 Carbon pedals which are already showing a few scuffs after their first outing.