Mark Cavendish’s 3x Tour de France stage winning Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7

Tips & Reviews

Can we just take a quick moment to appreciate the renaissance of super sprinter Mark Cavendish at this year’s Tour de France, and take a look at the subtle green highlights to his multi-stage winning Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7? While we’ve covered plenty of Cavendish-related tech over the years, some flashy & some subdued, it’s been six years since we’ve seen him in a Bikerumor headline, so it’s nice to see the Manx Missile back in action, and riding a new Tarmac with just a dusting of green, since there’s already plenty in his head-to-toe kit…

Mark Cavendish’s 3x Tour stage winning S-Works Tarmac SL7

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, training bike
all photos c. Specialized

Specialized already offered up a close look at Cavendish’s standard team bike at the start of the Tour – along with the rest of the heavy hitters on his Deceuninck – Quick-Step squad like World Champ Julian Alaphilippe. But to be fair, I didn’t expect Cav to come back with such form… maybe a stage win, but 3 (and still counting?) didn’t really seem in the cards.

Tour de France sprint stage hat trick

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Chris Auld, stage 4 win
2021 Tour de France Stage 4 win, photo by Chris Auld

Instead, he kicked it back off on Stage 4 with the upset win in his return to Fougères.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Chris Auld, Stage 6 win
2021 Tour de France Stage 6 win, photo by Chris Auld

Then, again a couple of days later on Stage 6 in Châteauroux with another bunch sprint win.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Chris Auld, Stage 6 win
2021 Tour de France Stage 6 win, photo by Chris Auld

His face at the end of that stage is just great, already winning again in green and still so excited, while the rest of the bunch is still suffering from their getting beat out on the line again.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Chris Auld Stage 10 Valence win
2021 Tour de France Stage 10 win, photo by Chris Auld

Then, after a few days break, again the Manx Missile is crossing the line first on stage 10 in Valence, at this point so chill he’s making it look easy.

OK, so we’re not going to devolve into race coverage, but the first couple weeks of this tour has certainly been entertaining… not to mention checking-in daily with that wild man Lachlan Morton who’s already ridden/bikepacked 4000km unsupported across France,  almost half the time in sandals on flat pedals, and sleeping in a bivvy by the side of the road for his Alt Tour.

Anyway, back to the tech…

Cavendish’s latest Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Wout Beel
2021 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Wout Beel

Cavendish’s standard team Tarmac SL7 frameset itself hasn’t been touched actually since he put on the green jersey (or rather, the green skinsuit). While the previous team image (at top) showed his bike set up with training tires, this one has him back on the race-ready (race-winning!) setup of 21mm internal Roval Rapide CLX carbon wheels with Specialized Turbo cotton tires, and tubes inside.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Wout Beel
green jersey holder custom details, photo by Wout Beel

Green jersey wearer highlights are small, limited to some Supacaz super sticky Kush Star Fade bar tape in black & green, plus a green sticker wrap to his new Wahoo Elemnt Bolt computer and a pair of almost the same color green Tacx Deva bottle cages.

That’s it. The skinsuit, gloves, helmet & Oakleys provide plenty of green to be seen.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Wout Beel
photo by Wout Beel

His bike still does have a few tweaks vs. the SRAM-equipped bike we tested last summer. Cav’s Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 equipped bike features the neat little add-on at the back of his zero-offset seatpost that puts the Di2 control box at the top of the post’s head, closer to the internal battery in the post than the more conventional bar end position…

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, Di2 junction box

It’s actually a standard feature of the SL7 Di2 builds that I suspect puts this controller in a more protected position in case of a crash, while likely making it a bit more accessible for charging.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, Dura-Ace Di2

Cavendish’s bike also gets a stiffer, pro-only direct-mount hanger that eliminates the extra B-link of the Dura-Ace derailleur for more consistent shifts.

Drivetrain itself is relatively straightforward, a nicely worn set of Dura-Ace R9100-P powermeter cranks with 53/39 chainrings, an 11-30T cassette, D-A chain & pedals.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, S-Works Power Mirror saddle
S-Works Power Mirror saddle

Cav sits on top of the liquid polymer 3D-printed S-Works Power Mirror saddle.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Chris Auld, pre-race
photo by Wout Beel

All-in-all it’s proved to be a winning formula for Mark Cavendish. And while he’s survived the Alps, the grueling Pyrenees are set to come next week, while Cav tries to make it four wins this year to tie Eddy Merckx’s title of 34x for the most Tour stage wins ever by one rider…

(#spolieralert, scroll down for breaking news…)

Specialized.com & Deceuninck-QuickStep.com


Stage 13 spoilers below…


2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Chris Graythen Stage 13 win
c. Deceuninck-QuickStep, photo by Chris Graythen, GettyImages stage 13 win

Looks like he didn’t want to wait very long. Stage 13 finished in Carcassonne with Cavendish taking another narrow sprint win, his 4th at this year’s Tour, and his 34th total Tour de France stage win equaling cycling legend Eddy Merckx.

2021 Mark Cavendish 3x Tour de France stage winning green sprinter jersey Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, photo by Chris Graythen Stage 13 win
c. Deceuninck-QuickStep, photo by Michael Steele, GettyImages stage 13 win

Now can he go for 35 if he survives the next few days in the mountains?!

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