New Specialized prototype spotted at Flanders

Park Hotel, Kortrijk, West Flanders, Belgium – Ronde Weekend, 2012

Being ushered away from the back of a team truck usually means something is being hidden from us. A thorough going over of our snatched pictures proved instinct correct with a new Specialized model clearly visible.

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As you can see from the close-up of the rear stays, the Zerts inserts not only lose the Roubaix branding of the current bike, but also change shape and occupy both faces of the seatstays.

A clear view of the front of the bike was more difficult to get but it appeared to be a similar ‘cut and shut’ to the bikes the Specialized sponsored teams currently use.

Rather than a super-tall head-tubed production bike, the Saxo Bank, Astana and previously High Road, teams used a bike that was a Roubaix rear end mated to an SL2-styled front end to allow for pro-friendly low bars and power transfer.

This seemingly prototype incarnation appears to use the front end from an SL4. The tapered fork steerer is evident but the shadows seem to hide a Cobra-style top tube that wraps around the head tube.

We’ll be doing our best to get some more information on the bike as – if this weekend is an indication – it could be as successful a debut as the Venge enjoyed at Milan-San Remo now that the current cobbles king – Tom Boonen – is back on Specialized bikes.