Pro bikes of the 2020 WorldTour: part four
It’s time for the fourth and final piece of the puzzle that is the 2020 WorldTour pro-bike roundup. These final four bikes belong to CCC, Bora-Hansgrohe, Lotto-Soudal, and Ag2r-La Mondiale. That includes the race bikes of Romain Bardet, Caleb Ewan, and Adam Hansen.
CCC is quietly riding the new Giant TCR (shhh, don’t tell anyone), Ag2r is quietly riding Lotto-Soudal’s bikes, and Bora-Hansgrohe is not-so-subtly riding last year’s bikes.
With that, it’s on with the last act (of the men’s bikes, at least). And stay close, there’s a heap more interesting WorldTour tech, including more women’s bikes, still to come.
CCC Pro Team
A new TCR from Giant has to be near as the CCC team clearly aren’t racing the current model. James Huang recently had a look at this new bike, and the differences to the current bike – at least the visual ones – are quite subtle.
Some tell-tale differences include the flattened (truncated) airfoil profile of the head tube, the marginally aero headset and stem, and the Di2 junction port that’s now located in the down tube. What can’t be seen is the weight, and given the substantial number of steel plates sandwiched under the bidon cages (to hit the UCI’s 6.8 kg limit), you can bet this new frame is made for the climbs.
One of the more intriguing elements of these team bikes are the rim brakes. Giant was one of the first to commit to discs with its Propel aero platform, and so it’s quite interesting to see rim brakes on this new racer. Surely time will tell whether this is one of those hard-to-find team-only things, or whether Giant will continue to offer the choice.
Speaking of light, those new Cadex wheels are some of the lightest in the WorldTour at a claimed 1,367 g. The carbon spokes certainly help, but the rims are similarly paltry for the 65 mm depth.
A close look reveals the team uses thread-together bottom brackets for Giant’s PF86 shells, and quite likely there are ceramic bearings within. Beyond that, the drivetrains are stock Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 with Giant finishing pieces.
Bike pictured: Szymon Sajnok’s new Giant TCR Advanced SL.
Bora-Hansgrohe is yet another team to be riding what are effectively last year’s bikes at the Tour Down Under. It’s quite likely we’ll see the team on freshly painted Venges and Tarmacs soon enough.
In the meantime, it’ll take an eagle-eye to spot the differences from last year. Spoiler alert: the bidon cages have been swapped to Supacaz, while the 4iiii power meters have been replaced with Shimano Dura-Ace units.
Bora-Hansgrohe are yet another team to be using direct-mount derailleur hangers. Many mechanics say that the special hangers make for faster wheel changes (since the hubs can more readily fall out of the frame once the axles are removed), and no doubt the team are counting the split seconds given the Bora mechanics are now using torque-controlled electric drivers to remove and install the axles.
Like Deceuninck–QuickStep, Bora-Hansgrohe is trialling the Specialized RapidAir tubeless tyres in race use. However, while most riders in the Quickstep outfit are giving them a go, seemingly only two Bora riders in Australia are following suit.
A look at the cockpits reveals a mixture of PRO and Specialized S-Works components. In the case of Michael Schwarzmann’s Tarmac, Shimano’s climber shifters are adhesive-taped to the base of the Specialized S-Works Aerofly II bars.
Bike pictured: Michael Schwarzmann’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc.
As a somewhat traditional Belgian cycling team using Campagnolo components, I would have thought Lotto-Soudal would be one of the last holdouts on rim brakes. But nope, they too have gone to spinning steel circles of death for 2020.
The discs have added some weight, though. For example, Adam Hansen’s bike has sat on the 6.8kg mark for as long as I can remember, but his new Ridley Helium SLX Disc now sits north of 7.2 kg.
That new Helium SLX Disc was first revealed at Eurobike 2019, and is now a do-it-all race bike with aero elements. For example, the bike can be set up with Ridley’s own handlebar to internally route cables all the way through to the flat-edged steerer tube, although such a feature isn’t used with Hansen’s preferred 38 cm-wide handlebar and lengthy stem.
Meanwhile, sprint specialists like Caleb Ewan are using the Noah Fast Disc, a fully-fledged aero bike initially intended for the likes of Andre Greipel and now used by the young Aussie. Expect a more detailed look at Ewan’s bike soon.
The team bikes are equipped with Campagnolo Super Record EPS hydraulic disc groupsets, matching Campagnolo Bora tubular wheels, and a new 12-speed Campagnolo crankset with an SRM power meter spider (the same as what Cofidis is using).
The cockpits are provided by Deda, saddles by Selle Italia, tyres by Vittoria, pedals by Look, bearings and bottom brackets by C-Bear, and bar tape by Lizard Skins.
Bikes pictured: Adam Hansen’s Ridley Helium SLX Disc and Caley Ewan’s Ridley Noah Fast Disc.
And last, but not least, we have the team bike of French outfit Ag2R-La Mondiale. The team kicked off the new season announcing that it will ride both the rim-brake-equipped Stockeu69 (as pictured) and the disc-equipped 525. In Adelaide, the whole team is on the Stockeu69, and it’s quite likely we’ll see the same bike in the Grand Tours.
If you’re wondering why the Stockeu69 looks familiar, that’s because it’s actually a Ridley Helium SLX (Eddy Merckx and Ridley are owned by the same parent company, Belgium Cycling Factory). However, while Lotto-Soudal has moved to discs, this team’s Stockeu69 remains as a rim-brake bike.
The new 525 is specific to Eddy Merckx, and is a bike that the Belgium Cycling Factory says is the stiffest bike it offers (even more than the Ridley Noah Fast). It was also designed in the wind tunnel that’s located in the same complex as the Belgium Cycling Factory.
Ag2r started last season on older Campagnolo 11-speed groupsets, but quickly found they didn’t play nicely with the Rotor cranks. Since then, the team has ridden Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets, matched with the same Rotor power cranks and KMC chains.
Touchpoints are from the Italians in the way of Deda cockpit components and Fizik saddles. French brands Look and Mavic provide the pedals and wheels, respectively, with the latter being a team-issued item that could be a prototype in the works.
Some rarer elements include Cema ceramic bearings which are tucked away and not to be seen, while Vredestein is the tyre sponsor.
Bike pictured: Romain Bardet’s Eddy Merckx Stockeu69.