Race Tech

Pro bike: Marcel Kittel’s Tour de France stage-winning Specialized Venge ViAS Disc

German sprinter becomes the first rider to win a Tour de France stage on a disc-equipped bike

Update (11/07/17): Marcel Kittel has now won four stages of the 2017 Tour de France.

While it may be overstating the case for disc brakes to say Marcel Kittel ‘made history’ by becoming the first rider to win a stage of the Tour de France on a disc-equipped bike, the German’s stage two victory aboard this Specialized Venge ViAS Disc was certainly a significant milestone for the technology.

While it’s fair to say some pro cyclists are fairly cool about the idea of disc brakes, sprinters seem a little more receptive. Tom Boonen became the first pro to win a race using disc brakes back in January, while we only spotted two other disc-equipped bikes at the 2017 Tour’s Grand Départ, besides Kittel’s machine, and they belonged to fellow fast men Michael Matthews (watch out for a pro bike feature on his new Giant Propel Disc) and Alexander Kristoff, who has the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc in his armoury for the Tour.

Marcel Kittel wins stage two of the 2017 Tour de France (Pic: Sirotti)

The problem with disc brakes, as far as pro riders are concerned, is the extra weight they add, whether as a result of the hardware itself or the additional material required in the frame to cope with the torque created by the caliper and rotor. However, on relatively flat sprint stages, that’s not so much of an issue. As for additional drag, Specialized claim the penalty is small – between two and four seconds over 40km, depending on the wind angle.

While Kittel rode (and won on) the Venge ViAS Disc back in February, that bike was equipped with Shimano’s non-series disc brakes. This Tour de France bike has the latest Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 disc brakes, however.

– Tour de France 2017: Marcel Kittel sprints to stage two win –

So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Marcel Kittel’s Tour de France stage-winning Specialized Venge ViAS Disc. Oh and did we not mention? It’s got a custom paintjob, too.

Marcel Kittel became the first rider to win a stage of the Tour de France on a disc-equipped bike, using this Specialized Venge ViAS Disc
While Marcel Kittel's Specialized Venge ViAS Disc was equipped with non-series Shimano disc brakes earlier in the year, the German sprinter has now been upgraded to the latest Dura-Ace R9170 components.
The Dura-Ace R9170 shifters, calipers and rotors are Shimano's first disc brake components designed specifically for the Japanese firm's top tier groupset
As well as sporting Shimano's latest disc brake tech, Kittel's Venge has a custom paintjob. Specialized's Ron Jones says the design is inspired by the CERN particle accelerator.
The design extends to Kittel's Specialized S-Works Romin Evo saddle. “I came across the CERN particle accelerator and some of the experiments performed there," said Jones. "They shoot electrons towards each other at the speed of light and record the impacts which create these awesome explosive graphics"
The Venge ViAS is Specialized's fully-fledged aero road bike, with tube profiles and dropped seatstays designed to help the bike cut through the wind. The aero tech has inspired Specialized's latest version of the Tarmac race bike, too.
A Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 chainset, with 53-39t chainrings and 175mm cranks, provides the focal point to Kittel's drivetrain. The German's team, QuickStep Floors, use 4iiii power meters
When Specialized unveiled the latest Dura-Ace groupset last year, one of the key innovations was this Shadow-style rear derailleur, which sits closer to the cassette to protect it from crash damage. The design is also capable of accepting an 11-30t cassette, though Kittel's bike is fitted with the 11-28t option most popular with pros
Integrated handlebars have become increasingly popular in the pro peloton and Kittel uses a Vision Metron 5D. The one-piece design has an aerodynamic profile and keeps cables hidden out of the wind. Kittel's computer mount is also designed to boost aerodynamics
These little sprint shifters enable Kittel to shift from the drops during the heat of a bunch sprint
A single 5mm spacer beneath the carbon fibre handlebar helps Kittel achieve his desired position on the bike
The Venge ViAS Disc's beefy fork integrated neatly into the downtube, helping to smooth airflow and also boost stiffness
Naturally the Venge ViAS Disc has an integrated clamp to hold the aero seatpost securely in place
Kittel's bike is equipped with electronic shifting, making his mechanical cable port defunct
Specialized's flagship S-Works bikes are made from the American firm's top-level carbon, known as '11r'
Shimano Dura-Ace pedals provide the platform for Kittel to put the power down
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