There are still a few crucial days of racing left in this year’s
Tour de France, and still bikes from several teams that we have yet to cover in any sort of detail. We’re rectifying that situation now, however, with a closer look at what the riders of Bahrain-Merida, Total-Direct Energie, EF-Education First, UAE-Emirates, and Wanty-Gobert are using as they make their way toward Paris.
As a bonus, there’s also some information here on the rather odd setup of Ag2r-La Mondiale team captain Romain Bardet — and it’s truly something you’re unlikely to see anywhere else.
This might be the last of our planned three-part series of bike galleries, but rest assured that there’s still more Tour tech to come before we wrap up on Sunday.
Please note that this gallery is best viewed on a desktop computer with a big monitor. And you can also find our complete coverage from this year’s Tour de France ] here.
Romain Bardet’s Tour hasn’t been going as well as he wanted, but there’s still hope of a stage win as the race hits the Alps. His Eddy Merckx Stockeu69 (basically a rebadged Ridley Helium SLX) will help, though, given its clear focus on climbing performance. Team mechanics have said it’ll weigh 6.8kg, and not a gram more.
Bardet is one of several riders running a radical angle on his brake hoods, presumably to get a more aerodynamic position when on the hoods, while still maintaining leverage and control for descents while in the drops. Might we see flared bars making their way into the peloton?
Bardet’s lever setup is unusual in another way, too. Mechanics have stuffed some kind of padding or spacer underneath the top of his hoods, both as a means of providing a bit of additional cushioning, and as a way to flatten out the angle of the hoods since they’re clocked so high up on the Deda Alanera one-piece handlebar and stem. It also adds girth to the lever body, and helps the Shimano Dura-Ace lever shape more closely mimic that of SRAM and Campagnolo.
Ag2R has undergone a fair bit of componentry turmoil this season. The team started out with Campagnolo transmissions, but there were rumors that those components didn’t play well with the KMC chains and Rotor cranksets. The team is sponsored by KMC and Rotor, though, so there was a mid-season switch to Shimano. Note the CeramicSpeed oversized pulley wheel setup out back.
The ultralight Mavic carbon tubular wheels (with carbon spokes!) are wrapped with blacked-out Continental tires. The team is officially sponsored by Vredestein.
Carbon friction paste helps a lot when it comes to slipping components, but Ag2R mechanics play it safe on the seatpost of Bardet’s teammate, Tony Gallopin, with an additional clamp.
Wilier Triestina has some of the most gorgeous paint jobs in the industry, and the machines of Total-Direct Energie positively sparkle in the bright French sunlight.
All disc-brake bikes early on for the Total-Direct Energie team at the 2019 Tour de France.
Total-Direct Energie’s FFWD carbon tubular wheels are wrapped with Hutchinson tires. Also worth pointing out is the fact that the Wilier-supplied bike stands are originally meant to be used with quick-release bikes. Since the rubber-coated prongs don’t work well with thru-axles out back, mechanics have to set the bikes up by the front wheel instead.
Save for the big mountain stages and a couple of select riders, the bike of choice for the EF-Education First team is Cannondale’s SystemSix aero machine.
EF-Education First has a big mix of gear, including both aero and semi-aero bikes, and rim brakes and disc brakes. Disc brakes do work better, but there’s no denying that rim brakes are still lighter, as seen on this new Cannondale SuperSix Evo.
Cables normally enter the frame of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo just ahead of the steerer tube, but it’s a different setup when rim brakes are involved. Cannondale still intends for electronic transmission wires to feed in at the usual point – hence the slot in the plastic cap – but EF-Education First mechanics prefer to bundle the wire with the rear brake housing.
Bikes that are meant for integrated cockpits invariably look a little odd when more standard setups are installed.
There’s a bunch of bubble wrap stuffed into the down tube of Vincenzo Nibali’s Merida Scultura. But what’s it for? It’s possible that it’s there to help keep the internally routed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 derailleur wire from rattling about.
Fast-spinning CeramicSpeed pulleys for the bikes of Bahrain-Merida.
UAE-Emirates is also fielding a fleet of Colnago’s dedicated aero road bike, the Concept.
Dan Martin of UAE-Emirates has been using Colnago’s V2-R all-around machine at this year’s Tour. Colnago has since announced a new V3-R model, which boasts a more modern profile.
If you’re wondering why there aren’t more Campagnolo Super Record EPS-equipped teams at this year’s Tour de France, you might want to check the retail price of this stuff relative to Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. It’s seriously expensive, and teams require an awful lot of equipment.
Rim brakes across the board for the UAE-Emirates team.
UAE-Emirates is one of the only teams running a lot of tubeless tires instead of the traditional glued-on tubulars.
That’s a big chainring you’ve got there, Dan Martin.
Campagnolo’s latest components have arguably lost some of the visual elegance they displayed in years past. They do still work very well, though.
35mm-diameter handlebars are a rare sight in the pro peloton. Not everyone wants a stiffer setup, after all.
Wanty-Gobert has both aero and non-aero bikes in its midst, like most of the other teams at this year’s Tour de France. Disc brakes are being used across the board for them, though.
So. Much. Color.
Direct-mount derailleur hangers are a notably popular setup for Shimano-sponsored teams at this year’s Tour de France. More on this trend later.
Wanty-Gobert is using Stages dual-sided power meters on its Cube bikes. And the #RideForAntoine hashtag is a sad reminder of team rider Antoine Demoitie, who was hit and killed by a motorcycle during Gent-Wevelgem in 2016.
Grip tape up top for this Wanty-Gobert rider, because while aero is cool, successfully keeping your position on the bar is way cooler.
It’s always interesting to see how different teams tackle the problem of how to attach number plates each day. Mitchelton-Scott mechanics glue holders to the backs of the seatposts – and seeing as all of the Scott bikes used at the Tour now have flat-backed aero profiles, there’s a nice gluing surface to use, too.