German racer Marcel Kittel sprinted to the stage win yesterday in the Tour de France’s first road stage aboard his customized Specialized S-Works Venge Disc. Besides making him a ten-time Tour stage winner, Kittel put his name down once more in the record trivia books as the first road cyclist to win a Grand Tour stage on disc brakes. Kittel has been a strong proponent of road racing on discs and after his win said, “I sincerely believe the disc brakes are a major improvement and give you better control, especially on rainy days as today.” Prepping for the Tour Specialized painted up a particle accelerator themed bike for Kittel to showcase his explosive speed, and we got an up close look at the bike before the start of the stage…
Disc brakes give us a chance to take a good look at the non-driveside of a bike. As a sprinter Kittel prefers to race o the aero S-Works Venge over the just introduced Tarmac update. In fact his bike is very similar to the disc brake Venge that we saw Tom Boonen ride in his farewell classics campaign earlier in the year.
Kittel does get the update for the tour to the full Shimano R9100 series Dura-Ace Di2 Disc group that we test rode back at the start of the year. But here Kittel is racing on 140mm rotors, which means he does not get the benefit of the neutral support from Mavic that only has 160s. It seems that Kittel did have a puncture during the stage, but his Quick-Step team had a full spare bike (with the same custom paint) on the roof of one of the team cars, as well as plenty of spare wheels, and were able to get him back racing without any problems.
Kittel’s cockpit is fairly straight forward for a sprinter, with a stiff integrated Metron bar+stem combo from Vision, plus Di2 sprint shifters peeking through his bartape.
A paint theme of a particle accelerator seems rather appropriate for the explosive accelerations of the German sprinter. And surely Kittel himself, plus his team, and bike sponsor all seemed thrilled to have him ride the new bike to a Grand Tour win in its first outing.
At 1.88m/6’2″ tall Kittel is a tall rider and even with the tall headtube of his large frame, gets an extra spacer to put his bars up where he wants them. Di2 makes his cable routing a bit more tidy in the wind care of a heat shrink tube, but minus a grommet in the downtube. His bike still keeps the Di2 junction box external as the Metron bar doesn’t have the proper holes for a fully internal new Di2 setup.
There isn’t a lot of overly new tech on Kittel’s race winning bike other than it’s eye-catching colorful paint job. Custom detailing runs from the dropped Venge seatstays…
to the top of the downtube and S-Works logo…
even underneath to the front wheel cutout.
A customized S-Works saddle rounds out the colorful particle theme.