Tour de France 2015: Mark Cavendish’s stage 7 winning Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS

Manx Missile breaks through for first Tour triumph since 2013

Road Bike Tour de France
Cav is using the unique handlebar/stem combo where the a negative 17‐degree stem provides better aerodynamic profile, but the bars have a positive 25mm rise. Photo by Brakethrough Media

Cav is using the unique handlebar/stem combo where the a negative 17‐degree stem provides better aerodynamic profile, but the bars have a positive 25mm rise (click to enlarge). Photo by Brakethrough Media

It’s still not clear why Mark Cavendish was swapping back and forth between his old and new Specialized S-Works Venge aero race bikes during the first week of the Tour de France. One journalist on the ground at the race claims the Manx Missile had issues with the braking performance on the new bike and was reticent to ride it in the rain or mountains.

Indeed, the Venge ViAS (as in Venge Integrated Aero System) takes a unique approach to brake placement, with the front brake residing behind (not in front of) the fork and the rear brake nestled into the backside of the seat tube. Specialized claims to have done significant testing to assure braking performance is on par with the best-in-class Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 set-up, but perhaps Cavendish didn’t agree.

This is the bike behind Specialized's bold 5-minute gained claims. It hasn't provided quite that much benefit yet, but a win is a win. Photo by Brakethrough Media

This is the bike behind Specialized’s bold 5-minute gained claims. It hasn’t provided quite that much benefit yet, but a win is a win (click to enlarge). Photo by Brakethrough Media

It’s also possible the Etixx-Quick Step rider was simply still trying to dial in fit and feel. When millimeters matter, it can be hard for top-level pros to change bikes without significant adjustment time. Cavendish only got his full production model last month at the Tour de Suisse. Maybe he blamed the new bike for his lack of stage wins over the race’s first six stages, which included two triumphs by top sprinting rival Andre Greipel, who rides a Ridley.

Whatever the case, Cavendish was back on the new Venge for stage 7 — and finally broke through with his first Tour stage win since way back in 2013. (You’ll remember Cav crashed out of the race last year near the end of the first stage.) Here’s a look at both the stage and the winning bike.

Continue to page 2 for more photos of Cavendish’s Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS »
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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