Reigning Unbound Gravel champion Sofia Gomez Villafañe is a favorite to take home the rainbow jersey at the first ever UCI Gravel World Championships this weekend.
But while she rode a Specialized Crux gravel bike at Unbound, she won’t be riding a gravel bike per se at worlds. Instead, she is turning to the Roubaix road bike favored by Specialized roadies for the rough and tumble roads of Paris-Roubaix.
Why? The gravel worlds dictates a less gravel-specific bike. The 140-kilometer route is 69 percent gravel but on relatively tame roads, similar to those used in the Strade Bianche spring classic, which is often raced on road bikes with 28mm or 30mm tires. Gomez Villafañe is beefing up her tires compared to that, but doesn’t need 40mm or larger tires for this event.
The addition of some cobble sectors into the route makes the purpose-built cobble-crushing Roubaix, with its Future Shock stem suspension and compliant seatpost design, a good choice for this race.
Gomez Villafañe’s bike is equipped with a mix of Shimano GRX and Dura-Ace drivetrain, Roval wheels, Specialized components, and an Easton cockpit.
Gomez Villafañe’s Roubaix is equipped with a mix of Shimano GRX and Dura-Ace drivetrain, Roval wheels, Specialized components, and an Easton cockpit.
There’s only 700m of elevation in 140km at worlds, so Gomez Villafañe is focusing on speed instead of climbing with her drivetrain. That’s a 52/36T Dura-Ace crankset with a 11-speed 11-34T cassette.
Gravel worlds is a road pedals kind of course.
Exposed Di2 junction boxes are becoming a rare sight. The Future Shock stem absorbs road chatter to smooth out gravel roads.
Roval Rapide CLX wheels are technically meant for the road, but with Gomez Villafañe running narrower tires than other gravel courses and the course shaping up to be a fast one, the 51mm/60mm-deep front and rear set is a good choice.
Specialized Pathfinder Pro tires in 32mm offer a good balance of speed and comfort for the relatively tame gravel of the UCI gravel worlds route.
The Shimano GRX rear derailleur has a clutch to keep the chain from falling off.
The seat tube of the Roubaix features extra area behind the seatpost, allowing it to flex and offer more comfort.
Gomez Villafañe rides a Specialized Power saddle with Mimic.
Fresh white bar tape is one of the most pro moves there is.
A Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt computer provides Gomez Villafañe with all the essential data.