Tech Tour de France: All the tech and trends of the 2021 race
The Tour de France is widely recognized as the greatest cycling race in the world. Throughout the 21 stages which separate the Grand DÃ©part and the prestigious sprint to the Champs-ÃlysÃ©es line, the 23 teams will tackle all kinds of terrain – from flat to mountainous, short days and long days, against la-clock, road stages, sprint finishes and even a double ascent of Mont Ventoux.
With its status as the biggest Grand Tour, the race also attracts the largest public and therefore the Tour de France is a real showcase for sponsors and manufacturers, and teams will work with their sponsors to concoct ways to capture the attention of millions of spectators. This means that new versions and custom colourways arrive almost daily throughout the three weeks.
With the different jersey rankings, each individual stage, broadcast times and of course, the coveted yellow jersey up for grabs, the most marginal gain – or loss – can mean the difference between winning and losing. Thus, teams are meticulous with their equipment to ensure that no second is left to friction, gravity, wind or punctures.
Teams look at everything from rolling resistance of tires to placement of seams on clothing to find free speed. While most of the time this is done in conjunction with their sponsors, they sometimes look beyond their contractual obligations in the pursuit of victory.
Here has Cycling news, as part of our extensive race coverage, we will keep you updated on all technical race talking points. Here’s everything we’ve seen so far:
What else can you expect to see?
With the huge amounts of new and interesting tech on display, there is sure to be something for all of our fellow tech nerds.
We’ve already seen new bikes launched, but we’re hoping to get a glimpse of even more unreleased bikes, just as we’ve seen new Factor time trial bikes at the Giro d’Italia and Trek at the CritÃ©rium du DauphinÃ©. .
With teams chasing those marginal gains, we expect to see the latest and greatest aerodynamically optimized components and kits, as well as even more ultralight technologies like these Princeton Carbonworks wheels from Ineos.
We’re pretty sure we’ll have more custom kits as sponsors paint their leaderboards with color-matched accessories – if we see Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) leading the green jersey competition, expect a helmet. Specialized green at least. If Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) gets his yellow jersey, look for a yellow bike, sunglasses and shoes.
In addition, the Tour de France would not be the Tour de France if it had not been for the sponsors’ attempts to put their technological prototype under the radar. The Tour’s relentless terrain is the ultimate test for cycling components, so what better place to field test next year’s kit? And don’t worry, we’ll make sure to bring you whatever we find.
Just a few weeks ago, a group that appears to be the new take on Shimano’s top-of-the-line Dura-Ace groupset was spotted on the Baloise Belgium Tour – a clear case of those real-world field tests that we just mentioned.
Could we see more of the new group at the Tour de France? We really don’t know the answer to this, but we’ll definitely be keeping our eyes open.
Disc brakes continue to dominate
During the 2021 Tour de France, all but one team have disc brake technology, with the majority of teams being entirely dedicated to discs. Ineos Grenadiers are the only steadfast team on rim brake technology, although with the recent launch of the new, lighter Pinarello Dogma F, it is surely only a matter of time before the technology completes its monopoly. .
Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) is back in the race for the first time since 2018, after recovering from a career-endangering crash at the 2019 CritÃ©rium du DauphinÃ©. Although he has a lot to say about the subject of disc brakes – and that he received the green light from his team boss, Sylvan Adams – he will join the rest of his team in the disc race.
However, despite the disc brakes installed on the majority of WorldTour team bikes for many years now. They never won the Tour de France. The closest claim they have is Pogacar’s victory in 2020, having ridden with disc brakes on some of the flattest stages.
Could 2021 be the year when disc brakes will finally win the Tour de France?
Tubeless, tubular or tubular?
Tire technology is another hotly debated topic of discussion. For decades, tubulars have reigned supreme in the pro peloton, as they are glued to the rim and therefore stay in place even in the event of a puncture, allowing the driver to continue safely until the car’s out. The team can maintain them with a replacement wheel.
However, over the past three seasons, teams have played with tubeless tires; a technology that, similar in design to clincher tires, forgo the inner tube in favor of a sealant, which plugs holes and self-obtains punctures without the rider having to stop at all .
Despite the promises of tubeless, the technology is still not perfect and the two Specialized sponsored teams – Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe – are leading the charge of the inner tubes, using standard clincher tires fitted with inner tubes. latex inside.