Product news: The Tour de France has always been the most important event of the year, and not just for the teams and athletes. Manufacturers and sponsors also use the concentrated media attention to present new products or at least allow a sneak preview of the upcoming models and collections here and there. With Bora-hansgrohe, Soudal-Quick Step and Total Energies, the US manufacturer Specialized has three teams at the start of the Tour de France 2023, which are not only on the bikes but also with various equipment from the manufacturer.
When the Tour de France 2023 started in the Basque Country last Saturday, the wait for many cycling fans was over. The riders face 21 stages with the most varied of terrains, and the ambitions and goals of the 22 teams and 176 riders are just as varied. Among them Jai Hindley from Bora-hansgrohe, who is aiming for success in the overall classification after his Giro d'Italia victory in 2022, Julien Alaphilippe and Fabio Jakobsen, who will go on a stage hunt for the Soudal - Quick Step team, or Peter Sagan from Totales Energies would like to ensure success in the sprint again at his last Tour de France. Despite all the differences, the teams and drivers mentioned have one thing in common, because they will all be on the road with the Specialized Tarmac SL7.
Whoever says Specialized must not forget Roval. Because the in-house component manufacturer can not only be found on the Specialized bikes in specialist shops, but also on those of the professionals at the Tour de France. With the Roval Rapide Cockpit, they even had a real innovation at the start on the first stage on Saturday, which will be used especially by sprinters like Fabio Jakobsen or Jordi Meeus. According to Specialized's aerodynamics department, you can get about 250 cm out of it in a 32 meter sprint. If you think about the photo finishes of the last few years, this centimeter advantage is certainly welcome in every sprinter.
But there is also something suitable for climbing specialists like Jay Hindley and Julien Alaphilippe. The 1250-gram light Roval Alpinist CLX II is the wheelset for high mountains and difficult stages. On flat to moderately difficult days, however, riders prefer a little more aerodynamics and the Roval Rapide CLX II. No matter which wheel is used, Specialized's Turbo tires offer the right setup for every terrain.
But also apart from the bikes, the three teams rely on equipment from Specialized. For example with the helmets and shoes. With the light and well-ventilated Prevail 3 you have a hot or rather cooling iron in the fire on warm days, while the Evade 3 is specially designed for fast stages.
Tight shoes can often become a problem, which is why the ergonomically designed and scientifically tested Body Geometry shoes offer the best comfort to avoid problems over the entire 21 days. Here the drivers choose between the Specialized Torch and Ares shoes.
Here and there you can see something completely new in the Tour de France. Specialized also relies on feedback from professional athletes during development. With this feedback, new products can be tested, adjusted and finally brought to market. The whole thing is called Specialized Project Black. The pros often have the opportunity to ride new products during the Tour de France and get one or the other performance advantage. So it's worth keeping your eyes open!