Tour de France bike: Sylvain Chavanel’s Specialized Tarmac S-Works SL4

If, like us, you’ve noticed Sylvain Chavanel at the sharp end of the bunch during the Tour de France then chances are you’ve noticed it was him not just because of his attacking style but also his Specialized Tarmac frame that’s far from the standard Omega Pharma Quick Step paint job.

On the TV it looks red, we were therefore blown away when we saw it in person and realised it was much more like fluorescent orange and really stood out.

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A special edition made for the French rider the frame is a standard OPQS Tarmac S-Works SL4; made to celebrate his 34th birthday the Chava edition has had some neat graphics added to the top tube, inside the forks and back of the seat tube, that really make it work when you’re up close.

As a SRAM rider he gets access to the full compliment of wares from the US manufacturer, Red ten speed groupset, anything from the Zipp line up of wheels, on the rest day in Avignon it was 303’s, with yet more Specialized development tyres, these ones carrying the barely-legible letters ‘SWNC’ in what looked like a 24mm width.

The day after Mont Ventoux, the bike was equipped with 53/39 chainrings and 11-28 cassette, and we spotted the wet weather development brake pads from SRAM in the brake shoes. The rather beautiful Zipp SL Speed seatpost held a custom ‘Chava’ saddle. There’s plenty of attention to detail with what looked like a titanium stem cap-bolt, and the team mechanics confirmed Ceramic Speed bearings had been fitted to the bottom bracket.

In all, a tasty machine for an aggressive rider who must be desperate for a stage win.

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