Pro bike: Lotte Kopecky's custom world champion Specialized S-Works SL8

The unique bike that the reigning world champion rode to take her second Strade Bianche victory

“I didn’t have my best day today – I suffered the whole day. I felt really tired but it didn’t get any worse, so I just had to trust the legs would be there,” said Lotte Kopecky after the reigning world champion attacked Elisa Longo Borghini on the climb to Piazza del Campo with 500 metres to go, increasing the gap all the way to the line to win her second Strade Bianche.

The curse of the rainbow jersey was – like all of Kopecky's rivals except a distant Longo Borghini – nowhere to be seen on Saturday. And if that was Kopecky’s legs on a tired day, the peloton ought to be very worried about the kicking in store for them on a fresh day.

Kopecky’s Dutch SD Worx team ride the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8 – the aero all-rounder that’s widely regarded as the bike to beat in the pro peloton. At Strade Bianche, Kopecky’s team-mate and last year’s winner Demi Vollering put another SL8 on the podium with her third place.

Lotte Kopecky's top tube with world champion detail

As tradition dictates, the world champion gets a custom paint job. Contrasting with the deep purple and vibrant red hues of the regular team livery, Kopecky’s frame is white with subtle silver/grey stripes that close up resemble strips of very fine mesh.

The colours of the UCI world champion are displayed on the fork blades and in a small graphic on the top tube.

Lotte Kopecky's bike – SRAM drivetrain

Shimano might be the dominant groupset supplier in the women’s and men’s WorldTour, but SRAM-riding world champions get some special components that the Japanese manufacturer doesn’t offer: a rainbow cassette and chain.

These are actually off-the shelf parts and available to all, but interestingly only the world champion seems to be using them. Demi Vollering’s bike was equipped with the standard plain silver SRAM Red components. The rainbow cassette is available in 10-28 and 10-33 configurations and Kopecky has gone with the latter, paired with 48/35 ratios up front.

SD Worx use Time pedals – SRAM acquired the French brand in 2021.

Lotte Kopecky's Royal CLX II wheel with Turbo Cotton tyre

The Roval Rapide CLX IIs have rim depths of 51mm at the front and 60mm at the rear. Although the latest version is tubeless compatible, Kopecky was running inner tubes with 700x28c Turbo Cotton clinchers – lovely, supple tyres with a 320tpi casing which at the optimal pressure will have achieved the perfect level of float over the Tuscan white roads.

Lotte Kopecky's Royal bars

Kopecky is running the Roval Rapide cockpit, which had been used by pro teams for some time before it was released to the public last year. Specialized says it's the fastest front end it has ever made, shaving four watts off the two-piece Rapide bar and SL7 stem. Of course it’s slammed, as is the pro way, with white Supacaz bar tape – what other colour is there for a world champion?

Strade Bianche notes on Lotte Kopecky's stem

The Roval stem has enough length to accommodate the notes on the 137km route.

Lotte Kopecky's Syncros Belcarra saddle

The saddle is a Syncros Belcarra, Kopecky’s long-time preferred model despite Specialized offering a wide range of Body Geometry options, on an aggressive zero-setback seatpost – possibly even less – that looks very similar to the older S-Works Pavé SL with the same clamp design.

We can expect to see a lot more of this bike crossing the line first in 2024.

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