Sticky tape and a compact chainset: the tech behind Alberto Contador's bike

We take a look at the custom-painted Specialized Tarmac that Alberto Contador is riding at this year's Critérium du Dauphiné

alberto contador specialized s-works tarmac

After really going to town with Vincenzo Nibali's bright pink Tarmac after his victory at the Giro d'Italia, Specialized has been similarly adventurous with the paintjob for Alberto Contador's Tarmac at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

alberto contador specialized s-works tarmac top tube 3

The chrome paintjob looks incredibly nice in the sunlight

Receiving its debut as the Spaniard took victory in the opening stage of the Dauphiné, the bike features a chrome mirror finish that must be shiny enough for Contador to do his hair in when preparing for podium appearances.

alberto contador specialized s-works tarmac

Contador gets his own special name sticker to go on the frame

Complementing the mainly silver paintjob are yellow, pink, and red stripes which celebrate Contador's victories in each of the three Grand Tours, while the name sticker on the top tube includes a logo in the shape of his famous "El Pistolero" victory salute.

>>> Alberto Contador close to signing up with a new team for 2017

alberto contador specialized s-works tarmac srm power meter compact chainset

Even the pros need a compact when the road ramps up to 25%

Moving away from the paintjob, Contador is one of the few of the old guard of riders (alongside the likes of Nibali and Fabian Cancellara) who continues to use mechanical shifting. While a number of his rivals, including Chris Froome, used a 11-32t cassette (meaning they had to use an Ultegra long cage rear derailleur, Contador stuck with an 11-28t cassette and a Dura-Ace rear derailleur, but switch the chainset to an Ultegra 50/34t compact. This setup would offer a similar gear range to his rivals, but is a little lighter.

alberto contador specialized s-works tarmac fsa kforce handlebars

The bars and stem match the frame

>>> Buy Now: Specialized S-Works Tarmac at Evans Cycles

The wheels are Roval CLX 40s with medium depth 40mm rims, topped with 24mm S-Works Turbo tyres, while the Contador's perch of choice is a Prologo Nago Evo Pas saddle. The seatpost, stem, and handlebars all come from FSA's K Force range, with the stem and handlebars neatly painted up to match the mirror finish of the frame.

alberto contador specialized s-works tarmac bottle cage bolts tape

Alberto Contador using marginal gains to put time into Froome

Finally, we move onto the little touches that would save the Spaniard the odd few watts that could make all the difference later in the week. Both the bottom bracket and the Roval wheels have been fitted with ceramic bearings from CeramicSpeed, while the bottle cage bolts have been removed and the holes covered with insulating tape to save a scant few grams and watts.

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