Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) is the pre-eminent stage race specialist of the modern age but the Spaniard was forced to settle for fourth in the 2013 Tour de France.
While the emergence of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) may signal a changing of the guard, Contador is one of just five riders, and the only current professional, to have won all three Grand Tours, alongside Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi and Bernard Hinault.
And to celebrate the Spaniard’s membership to one of the most exclusive clubs in cycling, Specialized and SRAM have prepared a custom S-Works Tarmac SL4 for Contador.
The white frame is finished with pink, yellow and red highlights – the colours of the leaders jerseys of the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.
Contador, a five-time Grand Tour champion, won the Giro in 2008, the Tour in 2007 and 2009, and the Vuelta in 2008 and 2012, but also had additional victories in the 2010 Tour and 2011 Giro revoked after testing positive for clenbuterol.
Contador’s machine is equipped with a SRAM Red 22 groupset, complete with Hydraulic Road Rim (HRR) brakes.
The bike, based around Specialized S-Works SL4 frameset, was built during the second week of the Tour when SRAM met with Saxo-Tinkoff and Omega Pharma-QuickStep mechanics for two full days of bike builds and technical training.
That enabled SRAM to equip two of its three sponsored teams (Cannondale Pro Cycling are also sponsored by SRAM) with a complete fleet of Red 22-equipped machines for the final stage of the Tour, with riders able to choose whether they took up the new technology. Whether or not they – and Contador – decided to do so, expect to see a lot more riders on Red 22 in the near future.
SRAM Red 22 was unveiled in April and the HRR technology received the seal of approval from the UCI for use in competition in June. Mark Cavendish was the first rider to use HRR, on stage one of the Tour, while the British champion’s team-mate, Tony Martin, made the switch to the complete groupset after a test ride on the second rest day.