The winners, tech, and prize money of the 2021 Tour in numbers
As the dust settles on this year’s Tour de France, we thought it might be interesting to look at the Tour in tech, specifically which frames, wheels, and groupsets were most successful across the three weeks of Le Tour.
We delved into the winningest teams, bikes, and nations of the Tour, looking for any trends or outliers. While there are some correlations between equipment and stage wins, this article does not suggest that a stage winner might not have won on different equipment or if they had been born somewhere else.
Deceuninck-QuickStep won the most stages and was one of just four teams to finish the race with a full complement of riders. The others were UAE Team Emirates, Cofidis, and EF Education-Nippo.
Deceuninck-QuickStep’s stage wins came courtesy of two of the teams biggest names. Julian Alaphilippe took the Tour’s opening stage and first yellow jersey, before Mark Cavendish sprinted to four stage wins and the green jersey. Deceuninck-QuickStep had arguably the most successful Tour for any team, certainly any team bar UAE-Emirates.
Jumbo-Visma was second on the list of stage wins, with four wins coming, again, courtesy of two riders. Wout van Aert won the double Mont Ventoux day and followed that up with a time trial and Champs-Élysées sprint win in the final weekend. Before that, Sepp Kuss won into his adopted home of Andorra.
While the overall victory in Paris still eluded the Dutch squad, second overall and four stage wins can only be considered a success, especially given the early exits of Robert Gesink, Tony Martin, Steven Kruijswijk, and most notably Primož Roglič.
UAE Team Emirates and Bahrain-Victorious both scored three stage each wins but in very different ways.
Tadej Pogačar scored all three of UAE’s stage wins on his way to the overall, young rider, and King of the Mountains titles.
Meanwhile, Bahrain went on the breakaway offensive to great success, with Dylan Teuns taking a stage win between Matej Mohorič’s two solo stage wins. This also contributed to the squad’s success in the teams classification.
Alpecin-Fenix took two stage wins in the first three days and Mathieu van der Poel enjoyed a stint in yellow during the first week before departing the race to focus on the Olympics. After stage 3 winner Tim Merlier also left the race, Alpecin-Fenix’s success turned to second places at best.
Bora-Hansgrohe seemingly took up the mantle left vacant by Alepcin-Fenix, as they followed suit with two stage wins of their own. First, Nils Pollit rode clear of a breakaway into Nîmes, and then Patrick Konrad carried the Austrian national champion’s jersey to its first stage success.
Those six teams accounted for a staggering 19 of the 21 stage wins with just Ag2r Citroën and Trek-Segafredo spoiling the party. Those two outlier teams wins came via Ben O’Connors monstrous display to win solo into Tignes and a similar ride from Bauke Mollema six days later in Quillan.
All 21 stage victories were shared amongst just eight of the 23 teams and thirteen of the 184 riders from just nine different nations. According to cycling history and stats expert Cillian Kelly, the number of teams splitting Tour stage wins was the smallest since the Tour moved to 21 stages in 1992.
In one final stat, the final jerseys were shared between just two riders, with Mark Cavendish in green, and Tadej Pogačar in everything else. It is a mark of Pogačar’s dominance that taking three jerseys is no longer surprising; the young Slovenian was repeating a feat he had already accomplished last year. Pogačar also brought home the polka dot jersey for a second year despite never actually wearing the jersey on the road this year.
While the list of winning teams and riders is quite an exclusive club, the successful-bikes club has even fewer members.
Specialized S-Works frames were unsurprisingly the most successful of the Tour with two of those eight winning teams aboard the American company’s flagships models for a total of seven stage wins. While team tactics and many other factors play into a rider’s chances of winning a stage, statically, these two teams delivered Specialized a win for every 2.3 riders starting the race.
Cervelo came in a close second in the stage win list with four victories across the three weeks, notable in that Cervelo had just one team in the bunch. As such, Cervelo had the best hit rate at one win for every two riders. More impressive still, the team had just four riders in Paris.
Merida and Colnago claimed three victories each courtesy of each manufacturer’s single team in the race, giving both teams a 1:2.7 wins per rider ratio.
Canyon was close behind with two stage wins in raw numbers courtesy of the Alpecin-Fenix squad. Meanwhile, second was as good as it got for the WorldTour Movistar squad and Arkea Samsic with its fleet of Canyons, giving the German brand an average of one victory per twelve riders.
Trek and BMC finished with one stage win each and the same 1:8 rider to the stage wins ratio. If this sounds less than great, keep in mind many more teams and manufacturers finished the race with zero wins.
Shimano dominated the groupset race with 14 of the 21 stages falling the way of the Japanese powerhouse despite the continued wait for 12 speed. Shimano’s dominance is somewhat unsurprising given that 17 of the 23 teams use its Dura-Ace Di2 groupset.
Campagnolo was next of the big three with four stage wins, coming from two of its four teams in the race. Of course, Campagnolo will also point to Pogačar’s dominance in the race, overall win, plus both the white and polka dot jerseys. One has to wonder could Caleb Ewan have added to Campagnolo’s stage win count.
Bauke Mollema was the saviour for both Trek-Segafedo and SRAM with his long solo breakaway stage win into Quillan. Mollema’s win meant all three of the groupset manufacturers took at least one stage win.
Pogačar and O’Connor rolled Campagnolo wheels to a total of four stage wins. While Shimano wheels carried riders to anything between seven and ten stage wins depending on weather, we include stage wins by Shimano teams on unbranded wheels.
On the subject of unbranded wheels, Vision wheels officially won three stages, but took at least one additional stage win minus the Vision decals.
Roval was the most successful wheel brand thanks to Deceuninck-Quick Step and Bora-Hansgrohe, with Bontrager the odd one out with just one stage victory. One stage victory is still much better than the many wheels for whom a podium was the best result of the race.
It seems hard to imagine now, but the Tour de France was once a national team race. While trade teams have long since taken over, it is still interesting to look at the most dominant nations in the race, unless you are French.
On the face of it, this years nation’s rankings were clear cut: Belgian and Slovenian riders topped the list with five stage wins each and a single British (Manx) rider was close behind with four.
The Netherlands was the best of the rest with stage wins for Bauke Mollema and Van der Poel, while the United States, France, Australia, Germany, and Austria claimed a single stage win.
Delve a bit deeper, though, and things are a little trickier. France claimed one stage win, more than 18 other nations in the race with zero stage success, including cycling powerhouses like Italy and Spain. But France did have the most riders with 33 – 11 more than Belgium – in second place with 22 representatives.
Taking the same wins per riders approach as used for the frames, France fared the worst of any nation with at least one victory with one win per 33 riders. Unsurprisingly, Slovenia fared best with more stage wins than riders meaning a win rate of one win per 0.8 riders.
Between Slovenia and France we have Great Britain with 1:2.5, Austria and the United States at 1:4, Belgium at 1:4.4, the Netherlands at 1:7, Australia at 1:10, and Germany at 1:12.
Spain had the worst record with 17 riders contributing zero stage wins.
Unsurprisingly, with three stage wins, the overall victory, and both the polka dot and white jerseys, Tadej Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates took home the most prize money. In fact, with more than €600,000, Pogačar won more than double that of the next highest-earning rider, Jonas Vingegaard, with around €250,000.
Four stage wins and a green jersey netted Mark Cavendish a cool but comparatively minor €80,000.
Prize money is traditionally split amongst the team riders and staff so Pogačar’s team will certainly share in his success.
Jumbo-Visma was the best of the rest in the teams list lifting circa €360,000, again almost half that of UAE Team Emirates. However, as the team finished with just four riders, and collected a hefty chunk of that 360,000 after half the team had left the race, it is unclear how the team will split the prize money.