Pro bike: Gustav Larsson’s Saxo Bank Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3

Tour of Flanders won on an everyday Tarmac

Saxo Bank-Sungard rider Nick Nuyens became a hometown hero on Sunday, deftly winning the Tour of Flanders over popular favourites Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Sylvain Chavanel (QuickStep) using his standard Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3 road race machine.


Sorry, the bike profiled here isn’t quite Nuyens’ race-winning machine – this one belongs to teammate (and Giro d’Italia stage winner) Gustav Larsson. But in all fairness, Larsson’s bike is little changed from that of the new Belgian hero.

The carbon frames and forks used in this past Sunday’s Ronde are the same as what Saxo Bank-Sungard riders usually race on during the season with no modifications made to tackle the Flandrian cobbles – at least nothing visible that is – with the usual features all present and accounted for: the oversized tubing, the tapered front end, the BB30 bottom bracket shell with integrated bearings, the cleverly hollow aluminium dropouts, and the standard pairing of giant chain stays and slim seat stays. 

Zipp 303 rims are wrapped with specialized s-works tubular tires made by veloflex.:
James Huang/

Zipp 303 rims are wrapped with Specialized S-Works tubular tires made by Veloflex

Most of the equipment is carried over from the regular season, too, including the SRAM Red group, Zipp 303 carbon tubular wheels, and Specialized’s own FACT carbon cranks (with an SRM power measuring spider), S-Works Pro-Set forged aluminium stem, and anatomic Romin saddle (with solid titanium rails – something not normally offered aftermarket to consumers).

Finishing things off are FSA’s aluminium Energy New Ergo handlebar and zero-setback K-Force SB0 carbon seatpost, SwissStop Yellow King pads, Speedplay Zero Titanium pedals, Tacx Tao aluminium cages, a Cane Creek integrated headset, SRM’s Powercontrol 7 computer, and Gore Ride-On sealed derailleur cables and housing. 

Solid titanium rails keep weight low but are still sturdy enough for ronde van vlaanderen cobbles.:
James Huang/

Solid titanium rails keep weight low but are still sturdy enough for Ronde van Vlaanderen cobbles

Total weight as pictured is 7.29kg (16.07lb) – impressive for something that is intended to take such a beating and even more impressive for a rider of Larsson’s size, who stands at 1.94m (6′ 4″) tall.

All in all, Saxo Bank-Sungard’s Tour of Flanders-winning bike is essentially standard issue – and that’s the point.  While Paris-Roubaix’s more brutal pavé will likely bring out a greater number of special machines, bike technology – and rider attitudes – looks to have advanced enough that everyday race rigs now get the job done just fine.

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3 FACT 11r, 56cm
  • Fork: Specialized FACT carbon
  • Headset: Cane Creek integrated, tapered 1 1/8″-to-1 1/2″
  • Stem: Specialized S-Works Pro-Set, 130mm x -8°
  • Handlebars: FSA Energy New Ergo, 42cm (c-c)
  • Tape/grips: Specialized S-Wrap Roubaix
  • Front brake: SRAM Red w/ Zipp grey-compound carbon-specific pads by SwissStop
  • Rear brake: SRAM Red w/ Zipp grey-compound carbon-specific pads by SwissStop
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Red w/ steel cage
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red DoubleTap
  • Cassette: SRAM PG-1070, 11-25T
  • Chain: SRAM PC-1091
  • Crankset: Specialized S-Works w/ SRM power meter, 175mm, 53/39T
  • Bottom bracket: Specialized integrated
  • Pedals: Speedplay Zero Titanium
  • Wheelset: Zipp 303 tubular
  • Front tire: Specialized S-Works tubular by Veloflex
  • Rear tire: Specialized S-Works tubular by Veloflex
  • Saddle: Specialized Romin w/ solid titanium rails
  • Seat post: FSA K-Force SB0
  • Bottle cages: Tacx Tao (2)
  • Computer: SRM PowerControl 7
  • Other accessories: Gore Ride-On sealed derailleur cables and housing

Critical measurements

  • Rider’s height: 1.94m (6′ 4″)
  • Rider’s weight: 77kg (170lb)
  • Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 838mm
  • Saddle setback: 80mm
  • Seat tube length, c-t: 580mm
  • Seat tube length, c-c: 530mm
  • Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 600mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 130mm
  • Head tube length: 170mm
  • Top tube length: 565mm (horizontal)
  • Total bicycle weight: 7.29kg (16.07lb)