Bikes to watch out for at the 2022 Tour de France
The route of the 2022 Tour de France looks to be as brutal and diverse an edition as there has been, with the 3,328km (2,067 miles) course covering multiple high mountains, a long time trial and even some of the cobbles more usually associated with the norther European Classics. To cope with such a varied parcours, the bikes have to be equally adept, and there will be an impressive range of machinery on display. Here we showcase five of the most interesting bikes that the teams will be using, along with the riders most likely to make the best use of their specific abilities.
BMC Teammachine SLR01 One Disc Road bike
With a route that involves five mountain top finishes and stages that include Alpe d'Huez, the Col d’Aubisque, Hautacam, Planche des Belles Filles and the Col du Galibier twice in as many days, Ben O’Connor’s climbing prowess will be vital to AG2R Citroen Team’s success. Aiding him in his quest for glory in the mountains will be BMC's super lightweight Teammachine SLR.
The top-tier Teammachine is comfortably below the UCI’s 6.8kg weight limit, so will have to be brought back up to weight with a few strategic component changes. Despite being the climbing option, the Teammachine does include plenty of aerodynamic touches which should help on the descents and scarce flat sections of road.
The one-piece bar and stem allow all the cables to be run fully internally for improved aerodynamics and even the Aerocore bottle cages are designed to help lower drag. A very neat, hidden seat clamp holds the Kamm tail style D-shaped seatpost whilst the fork has been given an aero makeover as well. Given the speed at which Ben O’Connor goes uphill, these details may well come into play on the climbs as well as the downhills.
Using Accelerated Composites Evolution Technology (ACE+), the very clean-looking frame blends the kind of stiffness needed to cope with a pro rider’s power output with enough compliance to survive a three week Grand Tour. The AG2R Citroen Team bikes are fitted with Campagnolo’s electronic Super Record EPS groupset and Campagnolo wheels, with a choice of rim depths available to the riders.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Disc Road Bike
The 2022 route is a bit short on flat finishes, with only six days that are likely to end in a bunch sprint. Therefore, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team’s Fabio Jakobsen will have to pick his fights carefully and box clever on the days that suit him less. Unlike some teams, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team uses the same bike for both flat and mountain stages now that Specialized has effectively merged the aero Venge with the lightweight Tarmac.
The Tarmac SL7 has a hugely successful record in Grand Tours and Classics, and there is little reason to doubt that the 2022 Tour de France will be any different, so expect to see it featuring heavily at the pointy end of the race.
Making good use of their own ‘Win Tunnel’ testing facility and their FreeFoil Shape library, the Tarmac’s FACT 12r carbon frame is subtly aerodynamic, providing a significant advantage without adding the kind of weight that is usually associated with such gains. Such development will help Jakobsen get through the big mountain days and then make good use of his sprinting ability when launched for the line on the fast finishes.
Complementing the impressive frame is a semi-wireless, 12-speed Shimano Dura-Ace groupset and hydraulic disc brakes with Roval wheels and finishing kit.
Pinarello Dogma F Disc Road Bike
The distinctive, curvy looks of Pinarello's Dogma F are nearly as familiar a sight in pro racing as Ineos Grenadiers’ presence at the front of the Tour de France is. With their perennial General Classification aspirations, the Dogma is an ideal choice of bike; as happy in the hills as it is toiling away in a break or looking for bonus seconds at the end of a stage. Fresh from his Tour de Suisse victory, Geraint Thomas will aim to put the Dogma back on the top step of the podium in Paris.
Now in its fourth iteration, the Dogma concept has been refined and developed over the years, with the latest bike more aero and lighter than its predecessors. However, in order to perform for the full duration of a three week race, a GC contender has to be kept in top form for every day of the tour. This means a bike that is comfortable enough for thousands of kilometres of racing, with predictable handling that won’t cause problems when fatigued on the final descent of the day.
To this end, Pinarello says that the Dogma is all about balance; aerodynamics v weight, comfort v performance and predictability v agility. With an incredible win rate of seven out of the last eleven Tours de France it is hard to argue with their recipe.
Cervelo P5 Disc TT/Triathlon Bike
With a 40km individual time trial on the penultimate day, the race of truth is likely to have a big effect on the GC standings in Paris and few would bet against Jumbo Visma’s Wout van Aert spending some time in the hot seat that day. He may even get to wear the yellow jersey earlier in the race if the Tour’s shorter stage one time trial in Copenhagen goes his way as well. His weapon of choice will be Cervelo's P5 time trial bike.
The P5’s striking silhouette features an extreme seat tube cutout that keeps the back wheel nestled tightly against the frame for protection from the wind and a hinge-style head tube arrangement to smooth the air past the front of the bike. Cervelo’s Speed Riser handlebar set-up has a wide range of adjustments available so that every rider will be able to find a sustainably powerful position and it's simple to pack up for travel to races too.
It won’t be of much interest to Wout van Aert who will be riding for less than an hour, but for anyone taking part in a long time trial or triathlon, the P5’s top tube storage box will be extremely useful.
Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Road Bike
Cobbles don’t often feature in Grand Tours, but stage five of the 2022 race has 20km of the rough stuff, using the type of road more usually seen on Paris-Roubaix. For this stage, Stefan Bissegger and the rest of the EF Education-EasyPost team will be using Cannondale's SuperSix EVO bike with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset.
A difficult day on the cobbles could spell disaster for anyone unlucky enough to crash or suffer from a mechanical. Even if it is not Tour-ending, a huge chunk of time could be lost very easily so alertness will be key; in order to better cope with the pavé, the SuperSix EVO can be fitted with tyres up to 30mm in width, giving more air volume to absorb the bumps, better grip on the slick cobbles and reduced puncture risk.
The Hi-MOD BallisTec carbon frame features compliant SAVE seatstays which will help the riders to stay relatively fresh and in control, whilst the aerodynamic touches such as truncated tube shapes and fully-internal cabling will come to the fore when the race gets back up to speed on the tarmac.
Whilst very few of us can muster up the power or endurance that it takes to complete the Tour de France, the kind of advantages that the pros seek out in their machinery are also very beneficial to us mortals too. Whether taking part in your first long sportive, trying to improve your local ten mile TT time or simply beasting your club mates on a Sunday, these bikes will make a difference.