The Tour de France winning bike line up for the last seven years looks alarmingly similar to a history of Pinarello’s Dogma model – with six of the victories being taken from the cockpit of the Italian brand’s thoroughbred race bike.
The other interruption to Pinarello’s domination came in the year Team Sky’s general classification superstar Chris Froome crashed out. In 2014, Specialized made a place for itself in the halls of fame beneath Vincenzo Nibali (for Astana Pro Cycling) – before that it also secured a bike sponsor win in 2010 with Andy Schleck though only after Alberto Contador’s disqualification.
We’ve got a few of our tech writers en route to the Brussels start of the Tour de France 2019, ready to cast an eye over the potential candidates for this year’s win. But for now, here’s a look at the machines took their rider’s to victory from 2011 to 2018…
Tour de France bikes
2018: Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) Pinarello Dogma F10 X-Light
Thomas won the 2018 Tour d France aboard a Pinarello F10 X-Light – which uses a slightly different carbon fibre compared to previous iterations, resulting in a weight drop of around a kilogram.
The geometry remains fixed, as does the use of an asymmetric bottom bracket plus the wind cheating concave down tube designed to incorporate bottles in optimal position.
The first Welshman to win the Tour opted for an integrated 40mm Talon handlebar and 130mm stem, with a Fizik Arione saddle that carries his optimum position marked in pen. The saddle height was around 78.5cm and Thomas rode with 175mm cranks – which are longer than most opt for.
The groupset is Shimano Dura-Ace, with a 53/39 crankset and 11-30 at the back, alongside a Stages power meter. The wheels fitted when we saw the bike were carbon tubular Dura-Ace hoops, wearing Continental Competition tyres and the paint job carries a speed line for every Team Sky victory.
2017: Chris Froome (Team Sky), Pinarello Dogma F10
The third consecutive Dogma win – by this point the employees at Pinarello‘s painting factory in Treviso were probably quite used to applying (apparently) last minute yellow paint jobs before the roll into Paris.
The F10 had some minor tweaks from the F8, but no major overhauls – quite simply, Pinarello and Team Sky felt it was a pretty good bike. Pinarello made the F10 a little bit more aero, a little bit stiffer, and very slightly lighter.
The diet the frame had been on meant that Froome didn’t need the X-light model he used when the F8 was in production, so his frame is as per an off-the-peg creation in terms of weight.
When we saw it, Froome had opted for a 53/39 standard set up with an 11-28 cassette, though the chainrings themselves are osymetric – a preference which can help improve pedalling efficiency.
Like Bradley Wiggins before him, Froome rode the Bolide time trial bike during the ITT stages of the race.
Froome opted for 175mm cranks, used a chain catcher to guard against necessary trauma. The saddle height was 79.6cm – 1mm lower than that 79.7cm on his road bike. There was grip tape on his saddle, which helped him maintain the ideal position and he opted for a 58/48T chainring set up with 11-28 cassette.
In a touch of perfectionism, the 3D printed handlebar was made from titanium and moulded perfectly to fit its rider.
2016 & 2015 : Chris Froome (Team Sky) Pinarello Dogma F8
Froome’s 2016 bike received some individualisation with rhino decals, which were first seen in 2015 – representing his Kenyan upbringing and passion for wildlife as an ambassador for the charity United for Wildlife.
The osymetric chainrings are present, with a chainguard to guard against unfortunate chain-drop moments. The rest of the drivetrain was Shimano Dura Ace, with an 11-28 cassette and Stages power meter.
The satellite shifters were stripped down, partly to save weight but also because Froome preferred the feeling of having two shifting buttons close together.
The wheels we shot the bike with were Shimano’s Dura-Ace C50s, bottle cages were 15g Leggero’s from Elite and the bars were Pro.
The winning machine was polished off with a 121mm stem (according to the sticker in place!), Fizik Antares 00 saddle with carbon rails and Continental Competition Pro Ltd tubular tyres.
In 2015, Froome rode a Pinarello Dogma F8 once again:
2014: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Specialized S-Works Tarmac
In 2014, Vincenzo Nibali intercepted the Pinarello winning streak, taking victory aboard an S-Works Tarmac painted with decals that hark to his nickname – Lo Squalo – or ‘the Shark’.
This was the first iteration of the Tarmac to feature a size specific carbon-layup, which meant the ride quality could be better tuned to the individual.
On his machine, Nibali ran an FSA stem, with Corima Viva wheels and a Campagnolo Super Record groupset.
Specialized painted up a yellow version for the final day, with yellow stickered wheels from Corima and a custom FSA stem with yellow decals.
In the time trial stages, Nibali rode the brand’s slippery Shiv TT bike, placing fourth on the 54 kilometre stage 20 solo event, easily maintaining his place on the top spot with a time of 1 hour, 8 minutes and 19. The result meant he entered stage 21 with a sizeable 7-52 minutes on Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale).
2013: Chris Froome (Team Sky), Pinarello Dogma
The Dogma model before the F8 was the Dogma 65.1 Think 2, and it’s that iteration which Froome rode to his first Tour de France victory in 2013.
Its standout features were the asymmetric design and wavy forks, seatstays and chainstays. The 65.1 gained its name from the use of a new carbon fibre material: Torayca high-modulus 65 as opposed to the 60 ton carbon of previous years’ models.
This meant the bike could be lighter, and more reactive, according to Pinarello – and we were certainly impressed when we tested one.
Froome’s model was of course fitted with osymetric chainrings, Fizik saddle, and the old-faithful looking SRM data-box of days gone by.
2012: Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Pinarello Dogma
Wiggins completed the Tour de France of 2012 on the brand’s new Pinarello Dogma 65.1, however, Team Sky actually selected the outgoing Pinarello Dogma 2 for the rest of the race.
Similarly, Sky stuck to what it new with Wiggins riding most of the race on a Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical 10-speed groupset (quelle horreur!) – and using the 11-speed Di2 version for his final roll into Paris.
Across both the Parisian bike and that which he rode through the Tour, were a Fizik Arione saddle and yet more osymetric chainrings.
2011: Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) BMC Teammachine SLR01
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) achieved his 2011 win aboard a BMC Teammachine SLR01. He ran 172.5mm cranks and a saddle height at 73.2cm.
The SLR01 featured a 42cm Easton handlebar with a shallow drop and round bar, previously constructed for use on the track.
Both bikes featured Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets, with an SRM PowerMeter, short spindle Speedplay Zero pedals, and sported a Fizik Antares saddle. Evans rode on Continental tyres.
In the time trial stages, Evans rode the BMC Timemachine, finishing the final individual TT 2-31 up on Andy Schleck and resulting in a lead of 1-34 on the GC.