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.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL3Ou4ZLTMU

Continue to page 2 for more photos of Cavendish's Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS »



Wheels are Roval CLX60. Drivetrain is Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. Photo by Brakethrough Media

Wheels are Roval CLX60. Drivetrain is Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (click to enlarge). Photo by Brakethrough Media​

Cav prefers a small frame, which necessitates a lot of exposed seat post. Photo by Brakethrough Media

Cav prefers a small frame, which necessitates a lot of exposed seat post (click to enlarge). Photo by Brakethrough Media​

The rear brake is kept out of the wind behind the seat tube. Photo by Brakethrough Media

The rear brake is kept out of the wind behind the seat tube (click to enlarge). Photo by Brakethrough Media​

Like the rear brake, the front brake is placed in a unique spot, just behind the fork. Photo by Brakethrough Media

Like the rear brake, the front brake is placed in a unique spot, just behind the fork (click to enlarge). Photo by Brakethrough Media​

Complete bike specs

  • Frame: Specialized S-Works Venge ViaS 52cm
  • Fork: Specialized S-Works Venge
  • Headset: Specialized S-Works
  • Stem: Specialized ViAS 135mm
  • Handlebar: Specialized ViAS 42cm
  • Griptape: SupaCaz
  • Front brake: Specialized Venge ViAS
  • Rear brake: Specialized Venge ViAS
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace Di2
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura Ace Di2
  • Levers: Shimano Dura Ace Di2
  • Cassette: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Chain: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Cranks: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Power Meter: SRM
  • Bottom bracket: FSA Ceramic Bearings
  • Pedals: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Wheels: Roval CLX60
  • Front tire: Specialized Turbo team tubular
  • Rear tire: Specialized Turbo team tubular
  • Saddle: Specialized Phenom Expert 130mm
  • Seatpost: Specialized Venge ViAS
  • Complete bicycle weight: 7.59kg/16.7 pounds

Slam that saddle forward. Photo by Brakethrough Media

Slam that saddle forward (click to enlarge). Photo by Brakethrough Media​

Rider Fit Data

  • Rider height: 1.73m/5-foot-8
  • Rider weight: 69kg/152 pounds
  • Saddle height from BB, center to top: 69.8cm
  • Tip of saddle to center of bar: 54.9cm

For more information visit www.specialized.com.