The Tour de France is a landmark event, but not just in the procession of cycling’s long history of winners and losers. Each year, the Tour de France brings the latest technology to the fore, as the professional teams look to their sponsors to give them the edge in the pursuit of glory. With this year’s Tour de France set to showcase new bikes from the world’s top brands, we thought we’d preview the kit that’s going to be ridden by the very best cyclists in the biggest contest on the calendar.
Specialized Tarmac SL6 Road Bike - Team Quickstep Floors & Team Bora-Hansgrohe
Bearing the lauded S-Works logo that distinguishes the best from the rest, the very latest Specialized Tarmac SL6 will be used by two professional teams contending the Tour de France. The bike that will carry the current world champion, Peter Sagan, as well as sprinting ace, Marcel Kittel, the new Tarmac SL6 is almost sure to take a top step on the podium at some point in the race to Paris.
Made from Specialized's own 12r carbon fibre, this frameset comes to just 733 grams in a size 56cm, meaning that this bike saves a full 200 grams over its predecessor. With dropped seat stays providing an improved aerodynamic profile this bike assures you of unparalleled feel and direct power through your frame. A D-shaped seat post and tube also help to enhance aerodynamics. This new Tarmac even offers greater comfort through engineered flex at the top of the seatpost.
Equipped with Shimano's highest grade components, the reworked, mercurial looking Tarmac SL6 benefits from a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9150 groupset, giving a smooth, reliable and dialled-in shifting pattern to it's riders, as well as a number of customisable features catering for personal preference. A rim brake edition, of course, lined up for the Tour de France, it's interesting to note Specialized's move towards a direct mount brakeset, giving a stronger and more secure stopping power on demand.
Rolling on Roval's CLX 50 Tubeless wheels, released earlier this year, to provide a neat balance between aerodynamic depth considerations and low net weights, this carbon fibre wheelset is sure to provide the strong, stiff transfer of power that the pros will demand as they sprint for the line.
Cervelo R5 Dura Ace Di2 9150 Road Bike 2018 - Team Dimension Data
The driving force behind the success of Team Dimension Data, the Cervelo R5 is sure to feature on the slopes at this year's Tour de France. Designed and engineered with exacting levels of precision, this revamped and honed frame inherits Cervelo’s headline billing, whilst assuring you of an improved level of rigidity, as much as 21% stiffer at the head tube and 13% more solid at the bottom bracket.
This frame is carbon fibre moulded to provide a responsive, rider first experience. Offering comprehensive feedback, the R5 is built to perform. Responsive whilst lightweight, and strong thanks to Cervelo’s All-Carbon Fibre construction process, this frame makes further advances through its design.
A complete ‘Squoval’ tubeset offers immense integral strength over the course of the frame and the rider concerned with making time can benefit from increased aerodynamic efficiency. Shaped according to the brand’s ‘aero is always on’ philosophy, you need not sacrifice speed on the climb for standout days on the flat.
Dressed in Shimano’s finest Dura-Ace Di2 9150 groupset, this bike changes gear intelligently, efficiently and, crucially, seamlessly. Providing a light and easy shifting experience, this is one bike that’s sure to respond to your commands, as and when you make them.
Making use of ENVE's SES 3.4 clincher wheelset for a supremely light, stiff and low-rolling resistance, this bike benefits from the very best componentry, and the most incisive design at every level. The choice for the likes of Cavendish and Cummings, Cervelo will be hoping their R5 will see success at this year’s Tour.
Trek Emonda SLR H2 Road Bike 2018 - Trek Segafredo
A title team sponsor, Trek's latest machine is sure to deliver at this year's Tour, with both Mollema and Contador set to ride it around the France. Boasting Trek’s highest quality 700 Series OCLV carbon fibre frame and fork for a completely stiff, strong and responsive feel, the pros of Segafredo are guaranteed of a high quality ride throughout the 3 weeks.
Forks shaped for aerodynamic gains at every juncture, this bike is eager to go fast, cutting through the air at an improved rate, with better poise and greater stability.
Equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9150 componentry, a seamless shifting experience is boosted by the famously light shifting action that ensures all attention and effort can be committed to the road ahead. Shifting smoothly, even under extreme loads, this supremely well machined and accurate gearing system is designed to offer Grand-Tour reliability.
Rolling on Bontrager Aeolus 3 D3 Tubeless ready clincher wheels, transferring power is a matter of ease, with stiff wheels providing the aerodynamic performance required to forge onwards with reduced resistance, enhanced efficiency, and direct power.
Colnago V2-R Road Bike - UAE Team Emirates
What would a Tour de France peloton be without a Colnago in its midst? Set to be used by UAE Team Emirates, and therefore, the likes of Ben Swift as he takes on the Tour. A reinvented, refined and rigid improvement on Colnago’s widely lauded VR-1, the latest model capitalises with improved stiffness at margins as high as 12% at the bottom bracket.
Made from a monocoque carbon fibre frame, this frameset boasts a net weight of just 835 grams. Shaped for a greatly improved aerodynamic performance, this bike takes Italian craftsmanship and pushes it right back to the front of the pro peloton. Direct mounting brakes offering further weight savings whilst improving the performance of the bike overall, you can be sure that Colnago’s master building still hits the very highest notes.
Completed with a full Campagnolo Super Record groupset, this bike is a hymn to one of the world’s greatest manufacturing bases. Working seamlessly and maintaining that clean, elegant mechanical look of Campagnolo components, this bike is quite simply one of the best looking bikes about.
Finished with Campagnolo’s Bora-Ultra wheelset for a refined and perfected rolling experience, the pros of UAE Team Emirates can be assured of quick spinning, aerodynamic wheels, helping them forge onwards and steal a stage at that critical moment.
So, with the bikes that are set to tackle the Tour de France unleashed upon the market, you yourself cast an eye over and consider the very same machines powering the pros for your rides. As the Tour de France setting out on three weeks of hard, long, and arduous racing, we can be sure of plenty of drama, high-octane speed, and pure power from these meticulously designed elite road bikes.