Spotted: A new 2021 Giant TCR Advanced SL that looks a lot like the old one

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Giant has yet to officially announce the next generation of the TCR Advanced SL, but current Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet of Team CCC has already been putting prototypes through their paces, and it appears that the company’s flagship road racer is finally going aero — at least somewhat.

Assuming the images trickling out from the team’s training camp in Spain (and some recent races) are accurately showing off Giant’s new rig, the company perhaps actually deserves some accolades for demonstrating restraint in updating its most iconic — and well-loved — road models.

There’s some element of truncated trailing edges visible around the head tube and fork blades, but the effect appears to be rather subtle. Otherwise, the down tube still appears to much wider than it is deep, the seat tube still flares noticeably in width as it approaches Giant’s long-standing PF86 press-fit bottom bracket shell, and the slender seatstays reveal no hint of aerodynamic profiling, nor are they dropped. Up top is Giant’s trademark integrated seatmast, which looks to be carryover of the teardrop profile of its predecessor.

And of course, the compact profile that Giant pioneered in the mid-1990s is alive and well.

Didn’t notice that Greg Van Avermaet was on a new Giant TCR Advanced SL at the UCI road world championships? You’re forgiven; it was easy to miss. Photo: Cor Vos.

Perhaps more interesting is the inclusion of a sleek new one-piece integrated carbon fiber handlebar and stem, which, if only based on data put forth by other brands, might offer up more of a real-world aero benefit than some changes on the frame.

Further evidence that Giant is only somewhat chasing the aerodynamic carrot here is the continued use of semi-internal cable routing. Instead of running all of the hoses and wires through the cockpit and down into the frame (which lends a clean exterior profile but is a nightmare for maintenance), they still flap about in the breeze in between the handlebar and the entry points at the fork crown and down tube.

Giant is staying mum with official details, but at least from where I sit, the TCR is mostly staying true to its original mission of prioritizing low weight and high stiffness, while also providing a smooth and comfortable ride — but maybe now with a small dose of aerodynamic efficiency tossed in for good measure.

We’ll find out soon enough.

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