Pro bike: Remco Evenepoel's custom-painted Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8

The prodigiously talented Belgian gets a flawless finish for his Tour de France bike – will it mirror his own performance?

The 24-year-old Belgian former world champion has already been one of the Tour de France’s main animators – as he was expected to be. Now wearing the white jersey of the best young rider and in second place on GC after stage four, he started the race as one of the top favourites – even though it’s his first time at La Grande Boucle and he claims to be relaxed and pressure-free.  He does of course already have one Grand Tour victory in his burgeoning palmarès: he won the 2022 Vuelta a Espana closely followed by victory in the Worlds road race in Wollongong.

After his early season was put on hold due to a horror crash at the Tour of the Basque Country in April – along with Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič – he has recovered from his broken collarbone and shoulder blade and was strong at the Critérium du Dauphiné, winning the time trial resplendent in the jersey of the reigning world time trial champion and taking the lead on GC. He lost time in the following mountain stages and finished seventh overall, an indication that he perhaps wasn’t yet back to full strength.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 front end

At the Dauphiné he debuted this stunning ‘liquid metal’ edition of the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8, a cleaner and arguably more striking paintjob than his chequered flag Grand Prix-themed bike we photographed at Paris-NiceThe ‘metal’ paint is claimed to add only a small amount of weight via a technique called PVD - physical vapour deposition - that coats the surface of the carbon at molecular level. It’s even applied to the Roval Rapide cockpit, which does its own black-into-chrome fade. The front end is black, fading into a mirror-polished chrome rear end. Although he already towers over most of his rivals in terms of his performance, in stature he’s a relatively diminutive 171cm and rides the size 52 Tarmac SL8, which means it will be close to the claimed weight of 685g. Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 top tube

On the front of the top tube is his name and the feline-looking Wolfpack logo.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 chainset from above

Soudal–Quick-Step are a Shimano team and of course run the full Dura-Ace 9200 Di2 groupsets with power meters. Evenpoel favours the 54/40 ratios for his standard road setup – with a custom chain catcher – and uses short 165mm cranks that allow him to produce maximum power at a more open hip angle.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 Roval Rapide CLX II rear hub

Like fellow Specialized users Red Bull Bora-Hansgrohe, Soudal bikes are on the latest Roval Rapide CLX II Team, which are at 1,360g 130g lighter and 0.5 watts faster than the previous versions. The polished silver hubs perfectly match Remco’s frame. The tyres are S-Works Turbo Cottons with tan walls and are set up with latex inner tubes rather than tubeless.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 – S-Works Power with Mirror 3D printed saddle

Evenepoel uses an S-Works Power with Mirror 3D-printed saddle on a mirror-painted zero-setback seatpost.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 rear triangle

Fortunately for Evenepoel, the best young rider doesn’t generally ride a white bike to match the jersey: white paint is the heaviest. A yellow bike is not out of question – it’s early days and he's only 45 seconds behind Tadej Pogačar after stage four.

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