By Simon Smythe
The new season in WorldTour team bike sponsorship is always a merry-go-round of changed allegiances, swapsies and musical bikes. Giant is out of the top level of cycling for the first time since the ONCE days of the 1990s (though sister brand Liv is still in). Eddy Merckx is out too, after a short two-year sojourn back in the WorldTour with Ag2R. Meanwhile, BMC now sponsors two teams.
Shimano is still by far the most prolific groupset supplier. Of the 29 men’s and women’s teams here 17 are Shimano sponsored – that’s over twice as many teams as SRAM, on seven, with Campagnolo supplying five teams.
The Tour de France has yet to be won on disc brakes – could 2021 be the year? UAE's Colnago V3RS also comes in disc-brake format, as does Ineos Grenadiers' Pinarello Dogma F12. However, the GC riders will be acutely aware that a fluffed disc-brake wheel change could cost them vital seconds and, as we know, that's what can separate the winner from the runner-up in the world's biggest bike race. They'll have to make that call.
Ag2R drops the 'La Mondiale' part of its multinational insurance company sponsor’s name and gains Citroën as a secondary sponsor.
The French team are no longer on Eddy Merckx bikes – it’s now BMC, with the sleek new BMC Teammachine SLR01 equipped with a Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset for the road stages and Campagnolo Bora wheels – Ag2R spent just one Shimano-sponsored season last year – and the Timemachine for TTs.
Other sponsors are Pirelli, Fizik and Wahoo, while Power2Max provides the power meters.
One thing that stays the same, to all of our relief, is the brown shorts.
Alé BTC Ljubljana
- Bikes: Cipollini
- Groupsets: Campagnolo
- Wheels: Campagnolo
Cipollini continues sponsorship of the BTC team. Previously the team have ridden the NK1K aero bike. Now there’s also a new lightweight Cipollini Dolomia available to choose from.
Campagnolo is the groupset supplier with tyres from Vittoria, finishing kit from Deda and power meters from 4iiii. We don't have a current photo but will update this page when we do.
- Bikes: Wilier
- Groupsets: Shimano
- Wheels: Corima
The Kazakh team add Premier Tech to the name, but they stay on Wilier bikes. They will be using the Zero lightweight model (above) and the new Wilier Filante SLR all-rounder machine plus the Turbine TT bike. The bikes will run on Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, the airy Corima wheels and Vittoria tyres.
A winning new name (they’ll be hoping) for the Bahrainian team as McLaren leaves the team as head sponsor – but they’re still on Merida bikes in 2021. They’ll be riding the updated Merida Reacto Team E aero bike (above) for the flat stages, while the team’s climbers, including Wout Poels and Mikel Landa will use the lightweight Merida Scultura. The Merida Time Warp TT will be used against the clock.
Bahrain Victorious is another Shimano-sponsored team, while Vision provides wheels, Continental the tyres, FSA the finishing kit, Prologo the saddles and Garmin the computers.
Mitchelton Scott becomes Team BikeExchange for 2021 with both the men’s and women’s teams riding Bianchi. The Oltre XR4 will be one of two road bikes the teams will use, the lightweight Specialissima being the other, plus the Aquila CV for time trials.
There’s not as much of the classic ‘celeste’ colour on show as last year when Bianchi were with Jumbo-Visma, but the new paintjob is striking enough. Bike Exchange are on Shimano groupsets and wheels and Pirelli tyres. Finishing kit is FSA and Garmin provides the computers.
Peter Sagan’s team continues with Specialized and the S-Works Tarmac SL7 (above). They’ll also use the Roubaix for the cobbled Classics and the Shiv for time trials. Specialized’s sister brand Roval supplies the wheels while the groupsets and finishing kit come from Shimano and its sister brand Pro. Bora use Wahoo computers and turbo trainers.
It's obviously going to be Canyon bikes – the Aeroad (pictured) and Ultimate for the road – equipped with SRAM eTap AXS for the eponymous team, which includes Alice and Hannah Barnes and Tiffany Cromwell. The new Speedmax will be the team's TT bike. All wheels come from Zipp and are shod with Schwalbe tyres.
- Bikes: De Rosa
- Groupsets: Campagnolo
- Wheels: Fulcrum
Cofidis stay with De Rosa for 2021, with riders probably choosing the Merak (above), a lightweight all-rounder bike, with the option of the aero Pininfarina also there. The French team’s equipment is almost all Italian: groupsets are Campagnolo Super Record EPS with wheels from Fulcrum and Selle Italia saddles. Only power meters and head units are from a German brand – SRM.
- Bikes: Specialized
- Groupsets: Shimano
- Wheels: Roval
Specialized continues to sponsor Deceuninck-Quick Step in 2021, and Mark Cavendish returns to the team and the bike brand too. Like Bora, they will be on the S-Works Tarmac SL7, Roubaix, and Shiv with Roval wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets. Green jersey winner Sam Bennett's Tarmac SL7 is pictured above – back to black for the time being.
Japanese construction company Nippo comes on board as sponsor for 2021 but the team stay on Cannondale bikes with the contract extended until 2023. They’ll ride the Cannondale SuperSix EVO (2020 bike above) and the SystemSix aero bike on the roads, while the SuperSlice takes care of TT duties. The out-there pink paint remains. Another Shimano team, EF will also be running Vision wheels and components and Vittoria tyres.
Groupama FDJ and Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope
Lapierre continues its long-term sponsorship of FDJ’s men’s and women’s teams. The riders will be using the swoopy new Aircode DRS and the all-rounder Xelius (pictured), with the Aerostorm for time trials. All will run Shimano groupsets and wheels, Pro finishing kit and Continenal tyres.
Froome has gone but Richie Porte is back on a Pinarello – the first time since his final year at Team Sky in 2015. That was the Dogma F8 – now he gets to swing a leg over the latest Pinarello Dogma F12 alongside Tao Geoghegan Hart, Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates. Pinarello brand MOST supplies the finishing kit while the bikes, including the Bolide time trial bike, run on Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets and Shimano wheels shod with Continental tyres.
The famous French wildcard sweats are in the big league this year, making the step up from Pro Continental. They’ll be on Cube Litening C:68X bikes with Shimano groupsets, Newmen wheels, Continental tyres and Bryton computers.
Israel Start-up Nation
- Bikes: Factor
- Groupsets: Shimano
- Wheels: Black Inc
Chris Froome will be riding against his former Ineos Grenadiers team-mates aboard this suitably menacing-looking Factor Ostro VAM, which will be running a Shimano groupset, Black Inc wheels and Maxxis tyres. 4iiii supply the power meters. The Factor SLiCK is the team's time trial bike.
The Dutch team move away from Bianchi for the 2021 season and, along with the new Jumbo-Visma women’s team headed up by Marianne Vos, will be on Cervélo bikes newly painted in the yellow/black livery. Meanwhile the men’s team has plenty of firepower in the form of Wout Van Aert and Primoz Roglic. At their disposal will be the Cervélo R5 climbing bike or the Cervélo S5 aero bike (pictured), plus the P5 TT bike, all with Shimano groupsets and wheels and Vittoria rubber.
Liv loses sponsorship from CCC for the 2021 season, but the team are still on Liv bikes of course, with the team choosing between the Liv Langma and the Liv Enviliv aero bike. They’ll be on SRAM Red eTap AXS groupsets and Cadex wheels. We're still waiting on a picture of the 2021 team bike and will update this page when we have it.
Ridley continues with fellow Belgians Lotto-Soudal for 2021. There will be the Ridley Helium for the hills and the Noah Fast (above) for the flat stages plus the Dean for time trials. The team also continue with Campagnolo, using the Super Record EPS groupset, Bora wheels and Vittoria tyres.
The Spanish outfit’s men’s and women’s teams both continue with Canyon bikes, but the big change is with the signing of Annemiek Van Vleuten. Riders will have the choice of the Canyon Ultimate CFR or the Aeroad CFR (consumer version pictured above while we wait on a team shot) for the road, with the updated Speedmax in time trials. Component sponsorship from SRAM also continues and that includes the Quarq power meters and Zipp wheels – also SRAM brands.
Last year known as NTT Pro Cycling, Qhubeka-Assos stick with BMC this year, giving the Swiss brand a second team in the WorldTour for the first time, along with Ag2R. The riders will be using the Teammachine SLR01 with wheels from Hunt, the choice of the Great British chaingang. The Timemachine is the TT bike. Shifting will be Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with cranksets by Rotor and Selle Italia saddles.
Boels-Dolmans becomes SD Worx after a sponsorship change. The equipment sponsors remain the same, however, with Specialized supplying the S-Works Tarmac SL7. Groupsets come from SRAM – the Red eTap AXS 12 speed with Quarq power meters and Zipp wheels.
Formerly Team Sunweb, DSM is a new name for 2021, taking over the men’s and women’s teams. Scott is the bike sponsor, giving new signing Roman Bardet et al the choice of the Scott Addict (above) or the aero Scott Foil. The Scott Plasma is the time trial bike.
DSM will be running Shimano groupsets and rolling on Shimano wheels with Vittoria tyres.
The long-time bike/coffee collab continues into 2021, with both the men’s and women’s teams having access to the Trek Emonda for the mountain stages, the aero Madone (above) for the flat and the Domane for the cobbles, with the Speed Concept again the TT bike.
SRAM continues as groupset sponsor, while wheels and finishing kit come from Trek brand Bontrager.
UAE Team Emirates
Hoping to replicate their 2020 Tour de France win – the first for Colnago – UAE stay with the legendary Italian bike brand. Tadej Pogacar can choose to defend his title on the Concept aero bike or the the Colnago C64, but will probably use the V3RS as last year (above) and the K.one for flat TTs.
That other iconic Italian brand, Campagnolo, provides the groupsets and wheels, Vittoria the tyres and – completing an Italian full house – Deda the components.
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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