When Marcel Kittel last appeared at the Tour de France in 2014, he was unquestionably the dominant sprinter, taking four stage wins. After sitting out the 2015 edition due to injury, Kittel returns with a new team, Etixx-Quickstep, with high hopes for a repeat performance. Team sponsor Specialized stepped up to the occasion with a custom painted Specialized Venge Vias, for the German sprinter.
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Designer Ron Jones worked with Kittel on the paint scheme of the custom Specialized Venge Vias, and the two hit on the theme of explosive speed in their discussion. According to designer Ron Jones. “I spent some time researching this subject and came across the CERN particle accelerator and some of the experiments performed there. They shoot electrons towards each other at the speed of light and record the impacts which create these awesome explosive graphics.”
The result is this stunning Specialized Venge Vias for Kittel.
As Etixx-Quickstep's designated sprinter, Marcel Kittel rides Specialized's aero Venge VIas
The downtime hugs the front wheel closely for aerodynamics, while the graphics is meant to evoke the explosions of subatomic particles and Kittel's power
The top tube gets the same treatment
Kittel runs a Shimano Di2 groupset
Kittel runs 175 mm cranks in a standard 53-39 set up
For aerodynamics reasons, the Venge runs these unusual front brakes that are tightly integrated with the fork and downtube. Kittel's front brake receives external cable routing, different from the stock configuration, which is all internal. Probably to make the team mechanic's life a little easier at a slight aero penalty
Etixx-Quickstep team mechanic took good care to minimize the cable clutter, by heat shrinking the Di2 wire to the brake cable. An inline barrel adjuster is inserted in the middle and left exposed, before the heat shrink tubing resumes. Neat and tidy.
Even the saddle gets the explosive graphic treatment
Kittel also forgoes the stock integrated bar and stem of the Venge Vias, in favour of a traditional setup. He runs a massive 130 mm Zipp SL Sprint stem, with all logos removed, as Zipp is not an official team sponsor.
For bars, Kittel is running a simple aluminum FSA Energy compact drop bar. Check out the finish on that bar tape, Etixx- Quickstep mechanic went the extra mile.
According to the Specialized rep on hand, they have already updated the Venge Vias brakes' internals, for better lever feel
The top tube also gets the same detailed paint treatment
The first few stages in the Normandy region of France are relatively flat but features changeable high winds, Kittel choose to run Specialized's Roval CLX 40 tubulars on the front
On the rear, Kittel went deeper with the Roval CLX 64
Both wheels are shod with S-works Turbo tubulars
Etixx-Quickstep has a Canadian connection, in the form of their powermeter supplier, Calgary's 4iii