Race Tech

Pro bike: Mark Cavendish’s Specialized McLaren Venge

Mark Cavendish has enjoyed a prolific start to the season, winning a stage of the Tour de San Luis before registering four consecutive stage wins at the Tour of Qatar en-route to overall triumph. Here’s the bike the Manx Missile hopes to fire to many more victories in 2013.

Cavendish’s move to Omega Pharma-QuickStep from Team Sky means the 27-year-old is back on the Specialized McLaren Venge which he previously rode in his final season at HTC-Highroad.

Cavendish has enjoyed a dream start to life at the Belgian team and the former world champion’s overall victory in Qatar is only the the second time he has won a stage race title as a professional after breaking that duck at last year’s Ster ZLM Toer.

Mark Cavendish’s Specialized McLaren Venge (© OPQS / Tim de Waele)

The Venge, designed in conjunction with McLaren and unveiled in 2011, is Specialized’s flagship aero bike, aiming to combine the stiffness of the Tarmac SL4, which most Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders will use this season, and the Shiv time trial machine on which team-mate Tony Martin has won his two World Championship titles.

While the Venge frame is the same as that on which Cavendish won the Tour de France green jersey and World Road Race Championship, Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s various sponsorship agreements mean little else remains from his time at HTC.

After two season using Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset, Cavendish has reverted to a mechanical setup as Omega Pharma-QuickStep are, along with Cannondale and SaxoBank-Tinkoff, one of just three WorldTour teams sponsored by SRAM.

Cavendish claimed four consecutive stage wins at the Tour of Qatar en-route to overall victory (© OPQS / Tim de Waele)

The American component manufacturer is, of course, the only groupset supplier to have not yet developed an electronic setup, but the most recent iteration of SRAM Red is its most refined offering yet – and the lightest group on the market. Cavendish uses a crank-based Quarq power meter to record his considerable wattage.

SRAM own Zipp so its Zipp wheels and cockpit components on Cavendish’s machine, with a Zipp 145SL carbon fibre stem and Zipp Service Course SL handlebar, and, in our photograph at least, super-deep Zipp 808 Firecrest wheels wrapped in Specialized Turbo Tubular Team tyres.

The wheels use Zipp’s 27.5 mm-wide Firecrest rim profile, which is said to improve aerodynamic performance. Otherwise, Cavendish sits on a Specialized Romin Team saddle and uses Look Keo Blade carbon fibre pedals.

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