With less than one month until Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – fingers crossed – and professional bike racing just days away from resuming, it is about time we reminded ourselves of the bikes set to be used during the 2021 season.
The annual merry-go-round of bike sponsorship was in full swing over the winter months. Jumbo-Visma swapped Bianchi bikes for Cervelo with Team BikeExchange (formerly Mitchelton-Scott) exchanging bikes with a swap to Bianchi from Scott.
Then to complete the perfect circle, Scott bikes were picked up by Team DSM (formerly Team Sunweb) after parting ways with Cervelo. One word: synergy.
For the first time since the mid-1990s, Giant will be absent from cycling’s highest echelons while BMC joins Specialized as the only manufacturer with two teams in the men’s WorldTour.
Below we take a closer look at the 19 men’s WorldTour teams of the 2021 seasons, dissect the big changes and see what bikes they will be hoping to guide to glory.
Men’s WorldTour team bikes 2021
AG2R La Mondiale
I believe this is what we call a ‘glow up’. Having long-suffered with Eddy Merckx bikes (which are OK bikes but not the best) and a mix-match groupset, the AG2R boys have been given a right treat for 2021.
Luxury Swiss bike brand BMC has come on board alongside Campagnolo, which is providing groupsets and wheels, to combine for arguably the best looking bike in the peloton this season.
The team will also have their pick of the all-rounder Teammachine SLR01 or aero-specific Timemachine Road depending on how they fill that day.
Year two of Wilier’s partnership with Alexander Vinokourov and his Astana team. The first year was pretty successful with Jakob Fuglsang’s Il Lombardia win and two Tour de France stages.
This year, the boys in blue will be hoping for better now that they have access to the above recently released Wilier Filante SLR aero bike alongside the lightweight all-rounder Zero SLR of last year.
With the departure of British car manufacturer McLaren, team manager Rod Ellingworth and sprinter Mark Cavendish over the winter, the very-presumptuously named Bahrain Victorious will have a different feel in 2021.
The only two real constants will be their Merida bikes and the fact Mikel Landa will break hearts around the world as he underperforms in yet another Grand Tour.
Bike: De Rosa
These De Rosas are low-key and some of the best looking bikes in the professional peloton. Cofidis will have the choice of bikes from the Italian brand including the delectable SK Pininfarina and above Merak.
All will come correctly equipped with Campagnolo groupsets and Fulcrum wheels, too. Also, red is scientifically the fastest colour so that can only bode well for the likes of Elia Viviani and Guillaume Martin.
The dynasty continues: 10 years on, Specialized’s bike sponsorship of Deceuninck-QuickStep is one of the most successful partnerships the sport has ever seen.
For 2021, the likes of Julian Alaphilippe, Remco Evenepoel and Mark Cavendish will be rolling around on the do-all S-Works Tarmac SL7, a bike the American brand claims is both aero and lightweight. For Paris-Roubaix, the team will also have access to the S-Works Roubaix with Futureshock stem suspension.
There are also wolf stickers on the bike again, just in case you were wondering.
It’s a relief that Cannondale has addressed its previous branding issue in which the ‘C’ of Cannondale was always hidden behind the crankset. ‘Annondale’ sounded like some kind of ointment.
It is also lovely to see Cannondale sticking with the purple/blue framesets, too. Always good to have a touch of colour in the peloton bike stable.
An important year for Marc Madiot and his Groupama-FDJ team. French National Champion Arnaud Demare was the best sprinter in the world in 2020 and is being dispatched to the Tour de France this summer on the hunt for a bucketload of stage wins.
If he replicates his 2020 Giro success, he will go down in French cycling folklore as one of the greats.
Interestingly, in a recent conversation with the Cyclist Magazine Podcast, Fausto Pinarello suggested that Ineos Grenadiers may finally take the leap of faith to disc brakes from the 2022 season.
But, for now, they will remain one of very few teams at the highest level sticking with rim brake-only bikes.
Israel Start-Up Nation
Wheels: Black Inc
Alexis Renard, put that Factor Ostro VAM down right now, do you have any idea of how much it costs? Around £11,000 all in for that build when you consider the oversized Ceramic Speed jockey wheels and 4iiii power meter.
It will still be weird not seeing Chris Froome on a Pinarello. But what a replacement those Factor bikes look ace.
The Lotto-Soudal team issue Ridley Heliums are somewhat of a modern-day classic. Remember the retro paint scheme they had back in 2014? It was a thing of beauty.
These are not quite as good but are still excellent. Any bike that combines Campy wheels and groupsets gets a huge tick from us plus those tan wall Vittoria Corsa tyres complement the look to perfection. Plus, the team’s five leaders all have special colourways too, a nice touch of individuality.
The combination of Canyon bikes, Sram groupsets, Zipp wheels and the Spanish Movistar team still feels odd to me. A thoroughly traditional team with arguably the most advanced equipment in the peloton. But it kind of works.
This is also going to be the final season of the evergreen Alejandro Valverde who announced he would be retiring after approximately 157 years in the pro peloton. It’s going to be a true ending of an era, so savour it.
Part of the threeway bike swap with Team DSM and Jumbo-Visma, Aussie outfit Team BikeExchange will be racing on Bianchis for the 2021 season.
They will have the choice of the aero Oltre XR4 or the brand new disc-only all-rounder, the Specialissima, a solid choice for the likes of Simon Yates and Michael Matthews. The only issue is the lack of Celeste on that new Specialissima, criminal.
The new Scott Addict RC is a beautiful bike, isn’t it? The lines are precise, the lack of cables clean and the integration of an aero cockpit inspired. This could be one of our favourite bikes in the peloton currently. For the faster days, the team will also have access to the Scott Foil, another looker of a bike.
Both options will look great on new signing Romain Bardet, too, as he is one of the most stylish men in the peloton.
It’s very sad looking at this promotional picture of the Jumbo-Visma team with their new Cervelo bikes considering Tom Dumoulin’s recent decision to leave the sport. The Butterfly of Maastricht will be missed.
For the Dutch team, the big change will be that in using Cervelo bikes for the 2021 season, they will have access to disc brakes for the first time having previously ridden exclusively on rim brakes with former bike provider Bianchi. No Doubt Wout van Aert will be relishing this change for the Spring Classics.
What a success story! From a small workshop based in Sussex to providing wheels to a top-tier cycling team, Hunt is finally in the WorldTour and we are super excited for them.
Even better, its wheels are being partnered with some mean-looking BMC bikes and the Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres, a set of tyres we rate highly. Even if the team struggles for results in 2021, at least they will be racing on a great looking bike.
We predict that these Trek bikes will win big in 2021. With a Classics team of Jasper Stuyven, Mads Pedersen, Eduard Theuns, Alex Kirsch and Quinn Simmons, a big Cobbled Classics feels almost guaranteed, in our opinion.
Can they replicate any one-day success in the Grand Tours? Well, one thing we should never do is right off Vincenzo Nibali, no matter how old he now is.
Still awaiting bike images
UAE Team Emirates