Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) made the switch in 2012 from his custom-painted and self-branded Ridley X-Night carbon cyclocross bikes to the impossible to miss pink aluminum Specialized Crux cyclocross bike, something hard to fathom for a road racer mid-year, but relatively common for a cyclocross racer due to the calendar year nature of sponsor contracts (Niels Albert also made a switch, going from Stevens to Colnago in 2012 – stay tuned for that bike profile). Because Specialized is his bike sponsor for his road team, it was only natural that the California-based bicycle company outfit the four-time World Champion with its latest cyclocross offering.The world champion Stybar raced his bike to victory at the 2012 Lievin Cyclocross World Cup earlier this month, and had time to celebrate his victory by raising his new steed above his head at the finish line. Stybar had a test bike in early December, so it was not like he had just hopped on the bike for the first time, but it was an impressive debut and rare World Cup win for an aluminum frame in this day of carbon everything. Will Stybar pilot the aluminum Crux to a third consecutive Elite World Championship? Tune in early Sunday morning to find out. Stybar rides a 54 cm model, but while the Crux frameset is offered in that size and in the same pink, the Czech rider has a slightly customized model. The giveaway might be the missing bottle cage mounts and of course custom rainbow stripes, but the geometry is also slightly altered to meet the World Champ’s specific needs, which includes a slightly longer seat tube. The bikes still feature the company’s E5 Aluminum tubing, OSBB, FACT full-carbon fork with 1.5″ to 1.125″ tapered steerer, and internal cable routing for both the gear and rear brake cables. Specialized also provides Stybar’s Body Geometry Toupe 143 saddle and the Carbon FACT Road crankset (172.5mm, equipped with 38/46t rings). The tight relationship between SRAM and Specialized results in a lot of componentry from the SRAM/Zipp company, including the SRAM Red drivetrain, the PG-1070 cassette, and the Zipp cockpit and wheels. Zipp supplies the cockpit with an alloy Service Course SL bar and stem (44cm, 130mm, respectively), SL Speed carbon seatpost, and Zipp 404 Firecrest carbon tubular wheels. Despite Specialized’s ongoing work on tubular tires, Stybar, like many professional racers, is racing Dugast tubulars, and his bike we saw in Koksijde is outfitted with Typhoon tubulars.
It’s hard to find a Shimano component on Stybar’s bike, but the pedals are a lone exception, with XTR M970 clipless pedals handling the power transfer and unclipping and clipping duties. Like some other riders, Stybar has not adopted the newer M980 XTR pedals.