Specialized announced back in January that its Quick Step team would at last be rolling on its in-house Roval wheelsets this season along with a few others built with “Specialized-engineered hubs and spoking patterns alongside Campagnolo-engineered rims and spokes/nipples systems.”
As it turns out, the latter category is apparently limited only to carbon tubular wheels like the one we spotted on Stijn Devolder’s machine at the start of stage 7. Devolder’s rear wheel was labeled as a ‘Roval Alpiniste SL Carbon’ (a production model) and indeed used the (near) production-spec SL hub and DT Aerolite spokes. However, the rim is clearly borrowed from Campagnolo and the 24-hole spoke lacing was a standard 1:1 two-cross/radial pattern instead of Specialized’s 2:1 configuration.
Up front, it looked like Devolder was running a tubular version of Specialized’s new 2009 aluminum wheel, complete with milled-out rim, carbon-bodied hub and exposed spoke nipples. We found the matching rear on a teammate’s bike the morning of stage 8 and in spite of Specialized’s claims, that one used a standard 1:1 lacing pattern as well.