Fabio Jakobsen won stage four of the Tour of California on Specialized’s tubeless tyres

Is tubeless going to take over from tubs for racing?

(Image credit: Wil Matthews wilmatthewsphoto.com)

Specialized has announced that Fabio Jacobsen of Deceuninck – Quick-Step won the fourth stage of the Tour of California on its tubeless tyres, although it’s keeping exact details of the products used under wraps.

Specialized has always looked to its sponsored pros to test its products in the most arduous conditions, so Jakobsen’s win follows in this vein. It’s part of the brand’s on-going Project Black programme to develop its technologies of tomorrow.

>>> Tubeless tyres: are you doing it properly?

Spesh says that the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider had had a puncture earlier in the race, which had been effectively sealed by the latex sealant in his tyre. It’s one of the benefits of tubeless tech that a flat will usually seal itself without necessitating a wheel change.

Jakobsen rode a development tubeless tyre from Specialized to the win in Morro Bay (Wil Matthews wilmatthewsphoto.com/Specialized)
(Image credit: Wil Matthews wilmatthewsphoto.com)

Jakobsen was effusive about the test tyres, following his win, saying: “I’m really in love with them, because they take the bumps better in the corners. I feel more confident for sure. . .  when braking I feel I have more connection to the road with tubeless. From now on, if the team allows me, I race with them all the time.”

But Specialized was more tight lipped, refusing to give any more details of the tyres that Jakobsen was riding, just saying: “We have no further information to provide on this product other than to say Specialized firmly believes the future of road tire technology, both racing at the highest level and for every rider, is tubeless. The speed, handling, comfort and flat protection of tubeless tires is a benefit for every rider and something our athletes believe in as much as we do.”

Tubeless tech has largely been spurned by the pros, in favour of tubular tyres. Tony Martin has ridden clincher tyres in time trials, but this may be the first time that a road stage of a UCI–level race has been won on tubeless tech.

>>> Why don't the pros use tubeless tyres?

It will be interesting to see if the rather conservative pro peloton quietly switches to tubeless tyre tech, in the same way that disc brakes have now crept into races.

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Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.