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Tour Tech 2014: Mark Cavendish’s (special) Specialized Venge

Check out Cav's new bike for the Tour de France

Here is the Specialized Venge that Britain’s Mark Cavendish will be riding in this year’s Tour de France which starts in Yorkshire this weekend, as you might have heard!

Cav has his own colour scheme with the fork legs and sections of the frame painted in a colour close to British Racing Green but with an bit of iridescence about it. CVNDSH, the Cavendish/Specialized brand, is written down the seat tube.

We were driving along in Yorkshire this morning when we saw a lone rider up ahead in Omega Pharma-Quick-Step (OPQS) kit getting the occasional tow from a motorscooter. As we got closer we saw that it was none other than Mark Cavendish getting a feel for his new bike, so we pulled in for a closer look.


The Venge is Specialized’s aero road bike. They claim it gives you a 22 watt advantage over the Tarmac at 40kph (25mph). As well as being slippery, it’s also designed to be lightweight and stiff.

Cav is on a standard Venge (save for the finish) – the same one that you can buy from your local dealer. The design is about due a revamp, we’d have thought, although we’ve heard no rumours of a new model coming from Specialized any time soon.

Believe it or not, Cavendish rides a 49cm frame. Yep, 49cm – which is very small for a rider who is 175cm (5ft 9in) tall. He went down to 49cm last year and hasn’t switched back.

Cav’s bike is fitted with a SRAM Red groupset with cable-operated rim brakes, a Quarq powermeter and Specialized’s own S-Works cranks.

The wheels are Zipp’s well-respected 404s with Firecrest rim profiles rather than the new Firestrike profile that we told you about a couple of weeks ago. As you can see, Cav’s wheels are marked up with his name so they don’t get mixed up in the team truck.

The stem comes from Zipp too. It’s the super-chunky SL Sprint Stem that Zipp reckon has the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any stem on the market in order to stand up to the abuse dished out in a full-on sprint finish.

Zipp provide the handlebar as well. It’s a Service Course SL-88 which is a 7050 aluminium bar with a classic round drop and a lot of rearward extension down the bottom.

That’s a new Specialized Body Geometry Toupé saddle and Cav uses Tacx’s carbon Uma bottle cages that weigh in at just 19g apiece.

Those are Look pedals on there, Look being OPQS team sponsors, but Cav didn't seem to have them set up to his liking.

He was even fettling the cleats himself. We're going to be looking carefully to see that he actually sticks with Look over the next three weeks rather than switching to another brand.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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