Pro bike: Remco Evenepoel’s Paris-Nice stage winning Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8

The bike that won the final stage of the Race to the Sun, plus the points and mountains competitions... but the GC will have to wait

To the victor go the spoils wasn’t quite the story of Remco Evenepoel’s dominance of the final stage of Paris-Nice. The Belgian former world champion was undoubtedly the strongest rider in the race as he proved at the end, but it was too little too late. Even though he sprinted past Matteo Jorgenson on the Promenade des Anglais to cross the line first, the overall victory went to the American

In a fascinating and complicated week, it became clear that even though Evenepoel had brought good legs, his tactical brain wasn’t yet as sharp as it needed to be. While he clearly expected Primož Roglič to be more dangerous than he turned out to be, he took his eye off Jorgenson, the real threat.

"I am happy with this win and with being in the top three after a hard week of racing. The level here was really high, so I should be satisfied with this result," Evenepoel said. “We also made some mistakes here, but at the same time we learned from these and we will make sure of not repeating them in the future."

It's still early days and to win the final stage on the Promenade des Anglais in this iconic race that was first run 91 years ago is still something to savour even for such a spectacularly talented rider as Evenepoel, who has only just turned 24 and who has years of winning the world’s biggest races ahead of him.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 side viewHis Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8 is a celebration of winning – both past and future – with its custom chequered-flag paint scheme. His SL7 last year had the rainbow bands along the seat tube with red and blue extending out to the chainstays and top tube to commemorate his victory at Wollongong in 2022. This year he is the Belgian national champion, but has gone with a grand prix-winning theme for his bike with mirror-polished silver instead of white. The colours of the Belgian flag are more subtly represented in a narrow stripe along the top tube.

Unlike his Paris-Nice rival Jorgenson, who could choose between the aero Cervélo S5 or lightweight Cervélo R5, Evenepoel and all the Specialized-sponsored teams use the Tarmac SL8 for all parcours as an aero all-rounder. It’s pretty light too, with a claimed frame weight of 685g. Evenepoel’s size 52 will obviously be at the lighter end.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 seat post

Like many of the Specialized pro riders, Evenepoel uses a zero-setback seatpost for a more aggressive position that looks similar to the older S-Works Pavé SL and isn’t available with the consumer version. The saddle is a 3D-printed S-Works Power with Mirror.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 Roval Rapide cockpit

Up front is the new Roval Rapide one-piece cockpit that was released last year and that Specialized claims is four watts faster and 50g lighter than the equivalent two-piece setup of the SL7. Remco is of course running it slammed, but unlike most pros he’s using a less extreme length on the stem for a position not quite so stretched.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 Dura-Ace drivetrain

Soudal–Quick-Step are a Shimano team and are therefore using the flagship Dura-Ace 9200 Di2 groupsets and power meters. Like most pros now, Evenepoel uses larger 54/40 chainrings for a broader spread of gears since 12-speed cassettes allow a low gear without increasing the ‘jump’ between sprockets. He's opting for short 165mm cranks to open up his hip angle and facilitate an aerodynamic yet powerful position.

Remco Evenepoel's S-Works Tarmac SL8 with Roval Alpinist CLX II wheels

Specialized riders get the choice of deep-section Roval Rapide CLX II or lighter Roval Alpinist CLX II – these are the Alpinists here, perfect for the accelerations on the cols around Nice in the final stage such as the Col d’Eze and the Col des Quatre Chemins, where Evenepoel leapt away with only Jorgenson able to follow.

Even though the second generation of Roval CLX wheels are tubeless compatible, Evenepoel is running latex inner tubes inside tyres that have the S-Works Turbo tread pattern but a plainer label than the consumer versions. He often favours narrower tyres as a smaller, lighter rider, and these look like 26mm.

Expect to see this bike taking many more chequered flags this season to match its paintwork. Nobody rides a bike looking like this unless they’re sure they’re going to be winning a lot of races.

Shop now