Sofía Gómez Villafane’s Specialized S-Works Crux: UCI Gravel World Championships bike

Gómez Villafane teamed up with Specialized’s lightweight gravel bike for the World Championships

Clock17:20, Monday 9th October 2023
Sofía Gómez Villafane’s Specialized S-Works Crux


Sofía Gómez Villafane’s Specialized S-Works Crux

For anyone familiar with the American gravel scene, Sofía Gómez Villafane will need no introduction. The Argentinian has been one of the dominant forces on the American continent, winning some of the biggest gravel races in the world, including Unbound Gravel 200 and SBT GRVL. Those victories are joined by an impressive palmarès in the realms of mountain biking, most notably in the form of a win at Leadville 100 earlier this year.

Like many of her fellow off-road specialists, Gómez Villafane headed over to Veneto, Italy, at the weekend in pursuit of a rainbow jersey at the Gravel World Championships. After last year’s questionable route, the second edition of the event served up a much more challenging parcours, packed with more (and tougher) sections of gravel and multiple punchy climbs. In the end, the route didn’t change the results with WorldTour riders taking a clean sweep of victories, but it did lead to a variety of component choices.

We got a closer look at Gómez Villafane’s set-up for her Specialized S-Works Crux ahead of the race.

Read more: Did Matej Mohorič win Gravel World Championships on an unreleased Merida bike?

Specialized S-Works Crux - ‘the lightest gravel bike in the world’

Considering the punchy nature of the course - packed with over 1660m of climbing for the women - it’s hard to envisage a more suitable bike than the Specialized S-Works Crux Gómez Villafane used, one Specialized says is “the lightest gravel bike in the world”. It’s not just light by gravel standards, but by performance road standards too, with frame weights starting from as little as 725g. To achieve this, Specialized took inspiration from the Aethos, a road bike that is solely designed to float up climbs.

That’s just one element of what is essentially a racing machine, falling deep into the performance end of the gravel bike scale. This includes the aggressive, race-orientated geometry.

Gravel gearing

Of course, the bike alone wasn’t enough to float over the course’s climbs, and groupset choice was an important decision. More often than not for gravel riding, riders use 1x set-ups, meaning it’s about balancing out the size of the chainring with the range of gears. Things were a little different at the World Championships with many of the WorldTour riders bringing the 2x set-ups they’re more familiar with along with them, including Wout van Aert and eventual men’s winner Matej Mohorič.

Read more: Wout van Aert's Cervélo Aspero for Gravel World Championships

Sticking to a more traditional gravel set-up, Gómez Villafane went 1x. Testament to the difficulty of the course, this included a 44t SRAM X-SYNC chainring, smaller than the 48t she used during her victory at SBT GRVL in late August. The front derailleur was replaced by a K-Edge chain catcher, a necessity for the discipline to prevent the chain from jumping off on bumpy terrain - they’re also now commonly used by pros in road races.

The 44t chainring was paired with a 12-speed XG-1299 Eagle cassette. We didn’t get official confirmation, but we suspect that’s a mighty 52t largest cog. To those more familiar with road bikes, that will seem colossal, but it’s not rare in gravel riding and provides a safe spinning gear for the devilishly steep climbs.

At the front of the bike, the system was controlled through SRAM Force shifters and blip shifters located under the handlebars.

Pure gravel tyre

Alongside gearing, tyre choice usually provides the other component-selection headache for gravel riders.

It’s all about finding the balance between grip and speed, with choices heavily influenced by individual courses. That led to some interesting decisions at the Gravel World Championships, including by America’s Keegan Swenson who opted for a nearly fully slick Maxxis Velocita - a tyre he previously rode to success at SBT GRVL.

Read more: Keegan Swenson's Santa Cruz Stigmata - UCI Gravel World Championships bike

While Gómez Villafane didn’t replicate that, she also used the same tyre that was successful for her at SBT GRVL, the Specialized Pathfinder Pro. It’s not as orientated for speed as a pure slick tyre, but it’s still on the performance side of things with a slick centre tread and a knobbed profile down the sides for traction.

For SBT GRVL the Argentine rider used a 38mm width and it appeared to be a similar size again, with most bikes we encountered using somewhere around the 38-40mm range.

Those tyres were paired with the Terra CLX wheelset from Specialized’s in-house Roval brand, a fittingly lightweight pair of wheels for such a lightweight bike.

Finishing touches for the build included a Specialized S-Works Power Mirror saddle.

Bike Specification
  • year


  • model

    S-Works Crux

  • Manufacturer


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