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The Tour de France is the most prestigious race in the pro calendar and teams will have prepared their best riders to be at the peak of their fitness for the race’s grand départ. They’ll be riding their bike sponsors’ best bikes too, usually with spec upgrades on top, that up the price of a Tour bike to well over £10,000/$12,000.

The trend to total integration of cables and hoses continues, with proprietary bars, stems and seatposts on many bikes. Everything that can be reasonably made from carbon fibre will be, from the wheels down to parts of the derailleurs.

Aerodynamics plays a vital part in modern racing, so modern race bikes have aerodynamic tube profiles in place of the round tubes found on older bikes. Some bikes will be out-and-out aero models, but the last few years have seen the rise of the single race bike, one that is both light enough for the climbs and cheats the wind on the flat too, such as the new Specialized Tarmac SL7. 

Every rider at the Tour de France will be on a bike kitted out with a top spec groupset with most now running 12 sprockets and electronic shifting too. While this doesn’t necessarily give them a greater gear range it does create smaller jumps between the gears and allow that perfect cadence more often. Shimano Dura-Ace dominates the groupset choice, but there are also two teams equipped with SRAM Red eTap AXS and three teams on Campagnolo Super Record EPS.

The latter include the UAE Emirates team of Tadej Pogačar, the winner of the last two editions of the Tour, who’ll be atop a Colnago bike again. While Colnago may be one of the most storied bike brands on the planet they’re not in production at the same scale as the giants of Specialized, Trek and Giant, but that doesn’t stop them, and other manufacturers too, supplying two or three road bikes and a similar number of time trial bikes to each rider their respective eight-man teams.

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The Tour de France acts as a showcase for the best cycling tech and there is always a flurry of launches for new bikes and components ahead of the Tour. Here’s our pick of what’s new and trending at this year’s race.

New bike launches

The last couple of years have been a bit lean for bike launches, but this year we’ve seen a much larger crop of new bikes ahead of the Tour de France.

The big-name bikes getting a makeover include the Trek Madone, with its radical redesign of the seat tube, which we spotted at the Critérium du Dauphiné. The design is also, according to Trek, 300g lighter and also faster than its predecessor. Also spotted at the Dauphiné were a new Canyon Ultimate and KTM Revelator.

The new Canyon Ultimate CFR comes with greater cockpit integration and a new seat tube design and D-shaped seatpost. With three teams at this year’s Tour riding Canyon bikes, it’s an important, if subtle, upgrade to a popular bike.

KTM’s new Revelator Alto will be ridden by the B&B Hotels-KTM team. It features a redesigned frame shape, one piece bar/stem, greater integration and aero profiling, bringing it more in line with the modern lightweight/aero trend than its predecessor.

Another important bike to break cover, not least because it’s in the quiver of the UAE Team Emirates squad of hot favourite for the overall win Tadej Pogačar, is the new Colnago Prototipo. The bike looks to update the aerodynamics of the team’s current V3Rs and balance stiffness and weight. There are five different prototype Prototipo frames with different carbon layups, with race testing planned to decide on which will go into production.

Yet another all-new bike is the new Scott Foil. Its predecessor had an impressive palmares and this new bike looks to build on that with a design that Scott says is more aero, lighter and more comfortable. There’s been a lot of work at the rear to produce a design that Scott found was most aerodynamically efficient when tested with a rider in a wind tunnel, while the seatpost includes a vibration-absorbing rear section.

There’s also what looks like a new Giant Propel that we’ve spotted on retired pro Tony Martin’s Instagram page. It seems to be going the lightweight-aero route, with slimmer tube profiles and redesigned seatmast. The cockpit remains integrated but is less proprietary than with the current Propel.

Finally (for now), although it’s going to be the first to see action, is the latest iteration of the Pinarello Bolide time trial bike. It’s already seen action under Geraint Thomas, who rode the new bike to second place on the final stage time trial at the Tour de Suisse. It has now officially been announced and will be known as the Pinarello Bolide F. A total redesign sees a switch to disc brakes and tube profiles than mimic the Dogma F road bike. It’s a hot favourite for Ineos Grenadiers’ TT specialist Filippo Ganna to ride to the first yellow jersey of the Tour in Copenhagen.

Very marginal gains 

Time trials are at the sharp end of bike tech, thanks to their faster speeds than road stages and the absence of teammates to shield the GC riders from the wind. Among the go-faster tweaks for time trials, OSPW systems have taken off in a big way as a means for the pros to save a few watts. CeramicSpeed, who pioneered them, has its OSPWs mounted on the TT and road bikes of a number of teams at this year’s Tour. The combination of larger jockey wheels that turn more slowly on better bearings and the lower articulation angle between chain links are the main bearers of those gains.

But now CeramicSpeed has gone one better, adding aerodynamics to its marginal gains, with the latest OSPW Aero system. With a smooth profile and a design that shields the bottom jockey wheel, CeramicSpeed says that its design will save a rider 2.5 seconds over a 25km time trial ridden at 50km/h. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but expect to see the OSPW Aero system in evidence both in the Tour’s two time trials and the road stages.

Tubeless wheel tech takes off 

Tubeless clincher tyres have finally made it into the mainstream of pro bikes for the Tour, after years in the shadow of tubulars. Bahrain Victorious, for example, have now switched completely to tubeless tyres, its riders having been convinced of their efficacy by Sonny Colbrelli’s October 2021 win at Paris-Roubaix.

Both Specialized-sponsored teams, Bora-Hansgrohe and QuickStep Alpha Vinyl, are now on the latest tubeless version of the Roval Rapide wheels, which in their previous generation were only rated for use with inner tubes – an interesting story that you can read in our review of the Roval Rapide CLX II wheelset.

It’s difficult to tell how many teams have switched totally to tubeless without a very close look at their tyres or a chat with their mechanics. Tubs were always cited for the lower weight of the rims and their better ability to run flat. Disc brake tubeless wheels now are approaching weight parity with tubs of old, and so tubeless tech does seem to be winning over the notoriously conservative pros. It’s likely their mechanics are happy at the change too, not having to glue endless tyres onto rims before each race.

Tour de France bikes: A team-by-team rundown

AG2R Citroën Team 

  • Road bikes: BMC Teammachine SLR01, Timemachine Road
  • Time trial bikes: BMC Timemachine
  • Groupset: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
  • Wheels: Campagnolo
  • Clothing: Rosti
  • Saddles: Fizik
  • Finishing kit: BMC 
  • Computers: Wahoo

Alpecin-Deceuninck 

  • Road bikes: Canyon Aeroad CFR, Ultimate CF SLX 
  • Time trial bikes: Canyon Speedmax CFR
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: Shimano
  • Clothing: Kalas
  • Saddles: Selle Italia
  • Finishing kit: Canyon
  • Computers: Wahoo

Astana-Qazaqstan 

  • Road bikes: Wilier Filante SLR, Zero SLR 
  • Time trial bikes: Wilier Turbine
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: Corima
  • Clothing: Giordana
  • Saddles: Prologo
  • Finishing kit: Wilier 
  • Computers: Garmin

Bahrain Victorious 

  • Road bikes: Merida Scultura Disc Team, Reacto Disc Team
  • Time trial bikes: Merida Time Warp
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Vision Metron
  • Clothing: Alé
  • Saddles: Prologo
  • Finishing kit: FSA, Vision
  • Computers: Garmin

Bora-Hansgrohe  

  • Road bikes: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
  • Time trial bikes: Specialized Shiv
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Roval
  • Clothing: Le Col
  • Saddles: Specialized
  • Finishing kit: PRO, Specialized
  • Computers: Wahoo

B&B Hotels-KTM 

  • Road bikes: KTM Revelator Alto
  • Time trial bikes: KTM Solus
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: DT Swiss
  • Clothing: Noret
  • Saddles: Prologo
  • Finishing kit: FSA
  • Computers: Garmin

Cofidis  

  • Road bikes: De Rosa Merak, Pininfarina SK
  • Time trial bikes: De Rosa TT03
  • Groupset: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
  • Wheels: Corima
  • Clothing: Van Rysel
  • Saddles: Selle Italia
  • Finishing kit: FSA, Vision
  • Computers: Wahoo

EF Education-EasyPost  

  • Road bikes: Cannondale SuperSix Evo, SystemSix 
  • Time trial bikes: Cannondale SuperSlice
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Vision 
  • Clothing: Rapha
  • Saddles: Prologo
  • Finishing kit: FSA, Vision
  • Computers: Wahoo

Groupama-FDJ 

  • Road bikes: Lapierre Xelius SL3, Aircode DRS
  • Time trial bikes: Lapierre Aérostorm DRS
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Shimano
  • Clothing: Alé
  • Saddles: Prologo
  • Finishing kit: Lapierre
  • Computers: Garmin

Ineos-Grenadiers 

  • Road bikes: Pinarello Dogma F
  • Time trial bikes: Pinarello Bolide
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Shimano, Princeton CarbonWorks
  • Clothing: Bioracer
  • Saddles: Fizik
  • Finishing kit: MOST
  • Computers: Garmin

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux  

  • Road bikes: Cube Litening C:68X 
  • Time trial bikes: Cube Aerium C:68
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: Newmen
  • Clothing: Nalini
  • Saddles: Prologo
  • Finishing kit: Cube
  • Computers: Bryton

Israel-Premier Tech  

  • Road bikes: Factor Ostro VAM, O2 VAM, One Disc
  • Time Trial bikes: Factor Hanzo
  • Groupset: Rotor, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: Black Inc 
  • Clothing: Jinga
  • Saddles: Selle Italia
  • Finishing kit: Black Inc
  • Computers: Hammerhead

Jumbo-Visma 

  • Road bikes: Cervélo S5, R5
  • Time trial bikes: Cervélo P5
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Shimano
  • Clothing: Agu
  • Saddles: Fizik
  • Finishing kit: Cervélo
  • Computers: Garmin

Lotto-Soudal 

  • Road bikes: Ridley Noah Fast, Helium SLX
  • Time trial bikes: Ridley Dean Fast
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: DT Swiss
  • Clothing: Vermarc
  • Saddles: Selle Italia
  • Finishing kit: Deda
  • Computers: Garmin

Movistar Team 

  • Road bikes: Canyon Aeroad CFR, Ultimate CF SLX 
  • Time trial bikes: Canyon Speedmax CFR
  • Groupset: SRAM Red eTap AXS
  • Wheels: Zipp
  • Clothing: La Passione
  • Saddles: Fizik
  • Finishing kit: Canyon
  • Computers: Garmin

QuickStep Alpha Vinyl Team  

  • Road bikes: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
  • Time trial bikes: Specialized S-Works Shiv
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Roval
  • Clothing: Castelli
  • Saddles: Specialized
  • Finishing kit: PRO, Specialized
  • Computers: Garmin

Team Arkéa-Samsic 

  • Road bikes: Canyon Ultimate CFR, Aeroad CFR 
  • Time trial bikes: Canyon Speedmax CFR
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: Shimano
  • Clothing: Ekoi
  • Saddles: Selle Italia
  • Finishing kit: Canyon
  • Computers: Wahoo

Team BikeExchange-Jayco  

  • Road bikes: Giant TCR Advanced SL, Propel Advanced
  • Time trial bikes: Giant Trinity Advanced Pro
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Cadex
  • Clothing: Alé
  • Saddles: Cadex
  • Finishing kit: Giant
  • Computers: Giant

Team DSM  

  • Road bikes: Scott Addict RC, Foil RC
  • Time trial bikes: Scott Plasma
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheels: Shimano
  • Clothing: Nalini
  • Saddles: PRO
  • Finishing kit: Syncros
  • Computers: Wahoo

TotalEnergies 

  • Road bikes: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
  • Time trial bikes: Specialized S-Works Shiv
  • Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 
  • Wheels: Roval
  • Clothing: Sportful
  • Saddles: Specialized
  • Finishing kit: Specialized
  • Computers: Garmin

Trek-Segafredo  

  • Road bikes: Trek Madone, Émonda
  • Time trial bikes: Trek Speed Concept
  • Groupset: SRAM Red eTap AXS
  • Wheels: Bontrager
  • Clothing: Santini
  • Finishing kit: Bontrager
  • Computers: Wahoo

UAE Team Emirates  

  • Road bikes: Colnago V3Rs, C64, Prototipo
  • Time trial: Colnago K.One
  • Groupset: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
  • Wheels: Campagnolo
  • Clothing: Gobik
  • Finishing kit: Deda
  • Computers: SRM
SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Paul Norman
All copyrights for this article, including images, are reserved to the original source and/or creator(s).
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