On Easter Sunday, Kasper Asgreen was first to cross the line at the Tour of Flanders. Perhaps more notable than out-sprinting Mathieu van der Poel was Kasper’s equipment – specifically the tires. It wasn’t on tubulars. Or even tubeless. Asgreen won on clinchers.

Specialized Cotton Hell of the north clincher tire

Photo c. Billy Lebelge

It hasn’t been long since Julian Alaphilippe made news by winning the first stage of the Tour de France in recent years on clincher tires. But winning one of the cycling ‘monuments’ on clinchers is an entirely different story. In a race punctuated by imposing cobble stones that are prone to puncture tires, the win is indeed newsworthy.

In fact, Specialized calls it historic. Ricardo Scheidecker, Technical and Development Manager for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, makes the claim that this “is the first monument won with clinchers.” While we can’t confirm that as true, it does seem like it’s the first win on clinchers in modern history.

Ricardo went on to say, “We’re really proud. It’s about using the best, Specialized has the best, and we just execute. It’s unbelievable, Kasper is such a bike rider and he did it. The team was once again tremendous. In Flanders, you don’t win by luck. We should all be proud and when I say ‘we’ I mean the team and Specialized. They are part of the victory big time.”

Specialized Clincher win Kasper Asgreen Tour of Flanders

Photo c. Cauld Photo

Photo c. Cauld Photo

Photo c. Cauld Photo

Specialized Tarmac

Photo c. Billy Lebelge

Kasper’s choice of ride for the day was the new Specialized S-Works Tarmac outfitted with Roval Rapide CLX carbon clincher rims. Those rims were clinching Specialized’s Turbo Cotton Hell of the North Clincher tires in a 700c x 28mm size with 320 TPI casing, BlackBelt puncture resistance, and their Gripton rubber compound. Specialized is proud to point out that “not a single Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider suffered a flat tire with their Turbo Cotton Hell of the North clinchers.”

Specialized also points out that the choice of tires was not just about durability. They claim that a bike outfitted with their clincher tires benefits from a reduction of 10 watts in rolling resistance compared to the team’s mos competitive tubular tire for this race.

Will the same tires and wheels help you win Flanders? Unlikely. The top pros could probably win on just about anything. But it is interesting to see tubed tires winning races at a time when tubeless technology is gaining in popularity (even if it is on a very expensive carbon wheelset with very expensive tires and (likely) latex inner tubes).


Behind the scenes at Ronde van Vlaanderen

Want to see more of how six hours of cobbled racing played out for the 26-year-old Dane? Follow Kasper Asgreen, plus teammate & world champion Julian Alaphilippe as Deceuninck-Quick-Step take you behind the scenes on Asgreen’s Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour of Flanders win.


  1. Tom on

    Are tubeless tires open on the bottom and clinch to the side of the rim when mounted? Yep. Tubeless tires are clinchers.

  2. AJ on

    next thing that can make they proud will be someone win a cycling ‘monument’ on a shallow profile rim.
    so shallow even they call it a box-section rim.

  3. Ixion on

    I don’t think top pros could win on just about anything! I also reckog that anyone trying to improve their FTP would find a free 10 watts difference huge!

  4. Larry Murphy on

    I know one thing I am getting fed up with my tubeless adventure. One tiny hole that just won’t seal even after renewing sealant twice .

  5. B on

    You know you can add slime to tubes right? I can’t believe the tube didn’t have a slight bit of sealant in it a protection. Those tires arent completely flat proof, though they could be pro only version or prototype

  6. KT on

    Am I crazy or have I seen this news blurb before? Or is Specialized pushing out press released every time a rider wins on one of their tires?

  7. Bryin on

    You are wrong. Tubeless tires are MUCH different to clincher even if their basic design is the same. Tubless specific tires are heaver than clinchers… run with a tube they have much different ride and they are designed to work at MUCH LOWER PRESSURES THAN CLINCHERS. Try running a tubeless tire on a tubless rim at 110pis, you will blow it off the rim.


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