Spotted at the Criterium du Dauphine: the yet-to-be-released Trek Madone Disc and what looks to be an update to the Specialized Venge Disc.

The Criterium du Dauphine is one of the most prestigious one-week stage races on the calendar, often used to fine-tune form ahead of the Tour de France. However, as well as being a pre-Tour form finder, the Dauphine is also used by pro teams to test new equipment before the biggest race of the year.

This year’s Dauphine started with a prologue on Sunday before Monday’s opening road stage, when four Trek-Segafredo riders rolled out on the Madone Disc, while a handful of QuickStep Floors and Bora-hansgrohe riders used the latest Specialized Venge Disc.

Trek Madone Disc, Criterium du Dauphine 2018

Trek’s Madone has, until now, only been available with rim brakes. That bike was launched in 2015 so, three years later, it’s no surprise to see a disc-specific machine in the peloton. This new frame loses the Vector Wings found on the headtube, used on the rim brake chassis to improve the aerodynamics of the integrated calipers, while also allowing the handlebar to fully turn. With no rim brake caliper, there’s no need for the flappy panels.

Behind the fork, the downtube on the latest Madone looks chunkier than the original bike, with a lip that extends from the either side of the crown - most likely to improve aerodynamics. All things considered, that downtube looks humongous.

Trek Madone Disc, Criterium du Dauphine

The new Madone appears to carry over one key feature from its rim brake predecessor - the comfort-enhancing IsoSpeed decoupler (seen across much of the range, including on the Checkpoint gravel bike launched earlier this year) - but it looks to have been redesigned. Details are thin on the ground at the moment, but look closer at the underside of the Madone Disc's toptube on our lead image, and you'll see how the central section is isolated from the rest of the frame. We don't know any more, or if indeed if this has any effect on the ride, but we're looking forward to finding out.

Trek Madone Disc, Criterium du Dauphine 2018

Otherwise, the latest Madone has a new, two-piece handlebar, with a narrow frontal area to slice through the wind, and the stem neatly integrated and sitting flush with the handlebar, while also hiding the hydraulic brake hose. The previous Madone used a one-piece design but the disc bike is, in our opinion at least, an altogether cleaner looking bike. Of course, you'll find flat-mount disc calipers and thru-axles at both ends of the bike.

Specialized Venge Disc, Criterium du Dauphine

Unlike the Trek Madone, the Specialized Venge has been available with disc brakes since 2016. In fact, Specialized then took the bold moving of removing the rim brake bike from the range - if you wanted a Venge, it had to have disc brakes, with Specialized claiming the addition of rotors came with little to no aerodynamic penalty.

Specialized Venge Disc, Criterium du Dauphine 2018

Looking at the bike of QuickStep Floors rider Bob Jungels, the new Venge Disc has lost the curved downtube of the previous model in favour of a straighter design. The tubes also look to be more heavily truncated than previously, but they are significantly smaller than those found on the hulking Madone Disc. Meanwhile, the fork has had a redesign and is much squarer at the thru-axle. It looks like Jungels is running a new cockpit, too, with a boxy stem and a sharp-edged, aero handlebar with a small frontal area.

Trek Madone Disc, Criterium du Dauphine 2018

That’s all we currently know about the new Trek Madone Disc and Specialized Venge Disc until they are officially launched, when we’ll bring you the full lowdown on both bikes.