Vuelta a España pro bike: Primož Roglič’s Cervélo S5

The Cervélo S5 has built up an impressive palmarès at the hands of the Jumbo-Visma behemoth

Clock09:45, Thursday 7th September 2023
Primož Roglič’s Cervélo S5


Primož Roglič’s Cervélo S5

Few bikes appear on television screens more than the Cervélo S5, regularly seen swarming the front of the peloton as Jumbo-Visma exerts its stranglehold over the bunch, or winning races at the hands of the world’s best riders.

One of those is Primož Roglič, a man who is currently on a mission to reclaim his Vuelta a España crown from defending champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step). The Slovenian is one of the most successful riders in the race’s history, sitting joint second on the list of most overall wins, having triumphed in three consecutive editions between 2019 and 2021.

If he wants to join Roberto Heras perched above the rest on four wins, Roglič will have to overcome one of the strongest line-ups in the race’s history - the strongest ever according to our resident statistician Cillian Kelly. Can Roglič do it? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: he can rely on the backing of his Cervélo S5, a bike that’s propelled the team to innumerable victories.

Before its official release at the end of July 2022, the bike had already tasted Tour de France yellow and green jersey success at the hands of Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert, respectively.

As the team’s aero race bike, it won’t be used by Roglič for every stage of the 2023 Vuelta a España, sharing responsibilities with Cervélo’s climbing bike, the R5. This year's race has a climbing-heavy route, so it’s likely to see less action than it usually would at a Grand Tour, reserved for flatter or rolling stages.

With its intended purpose, it’s no surprise that the bike is designed to be as aero as possible. While a cursory glance doesn’t provide the full picture, it certainly looks aerodynamic with deep tubes, a curvaceous seat tube and fully integrated cockpit.

Upon release, Cervélo said that it had “reduced drag by 65 grams” on the new bike. Anyone used to bike brand marketing jargon will notice that this differs to the usual claimed ‘watts’ savings. There are so many variables with these measurements, so it’s hard to say what this equates to in watts.

Alongside aerodynamics, simplification forms part of the backbone of the bike’s updated design. The handlebar was previously hard to adjust with different bolt lengths depending on stack height, but that was standardised to one single bolt length, while the handlebars have a slightly higher degree of rotation, making it easier to adjust the set-up.

Roglič and Vingegaard raised eyebrows when they used a 1x set-up earlier in the race on stage 2. It’s nothing new at this point of the season, Roglič having used it to great success at the Giro d’Italia, but we were intrigued to see if it became their first choice or if they’d still rely more heavily on 2x like they did at previous Grand Tours.

Judging by Roglič’s Cervélo S5, it appears that 2x is still the favoured option, the Slovenian choosing a 52/39t SRAM Red chainset. That’s fairly compact compared to most bikes we’ve encountered at the race, with a 54t or 55t largest chainring the more dominant choice. We saw Roglič’s bike ahead of stage 4, one of the flatter days at the race, so the compact choice wasn’t influenced by tough terrain.

Perhaps also surprisingly for the terrain, Roglič’s bike had the Reserve 40|44 wheelset, with rim depths to match the name. While there were a few short climbs, most of stage 4’s route was flat, making these a noticeably shallow choice, especially considering that Reserve offers the deeper 52|63 option too.

Those wheels were combined with 28mm wide Vittoria Corsa PRO tubeless tyres, by far the most dominant tyre width from what we’ve seen at the race. As an added bonus, the tan sidewalls look great, as they do on virtually any bike as far as we’re concerned.

Finishing touches on the bike included a Fizik Antares saddle, Tacx bottle cages and Wahoo Speedplay pedals.

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