The first day of the year often means new bikes and new kit. Of all the years of photographing cycling, I don’t remember anything that was as well played as Zdenek Stybar’s new, pink Specialized Crux. I didn’t know about it ahead of the time, so it was quite surprise when I first saw it in front of Styby’s camper van. The colour, which was supposed to be a throwback to an early Specialized bike, was just so different that you normally see. The mechanics allowed me to take a few snaps of it and they told me about the challenges of setting the bikes up. They only arrived just a few days before Baal, so they had very little time to build the bikes up, glue the tubulars on the new wheels, etc. But it was all worth the effort, because it created quite a big buzz at the time on social media.
It then only took two weeks until Stybar won a race on it, he came victorious in Lievin, the penultimate race in the World Cup calendar in that season – the bottom two photographs are from that race. I don’t remember him racing this frame much longer after that, but a replica frameset was available and I know a couple of people, who were lucky enough to buy one. It truly is a collector’s item.