The WorldTour is a smorgasbord of the latest bike technology – a platform for manufacturers to showcase their latest and greatest framesets, for groupset suppliers to their launch their newest innovations, and for team partners an opportunity to get their names plastered over pro steeds.
The start of the season sees cycling’s sponsorship merry-go-round go into overdrive, with new bike, component and kit combinations for a number of teams. This year we’ve seen British brand Factor join the WorldTour with Ag2r La Mondiale, with Focus dropping out of the top-tier as a result.
Meanwhile, Astana and Bora-hansgrohe have swapped bike sponsors, with the Kazakh team now on Argon 18 machines, while Specialized have followed world champion Peter Sagan to Bora.
Colnago, who slipped out of the WorldTour in 2016, return for the new campaign having signed up as bike supplier to the fledgling UAE Abu Dhabi team. You’ll see former Team Sky rider Ben Swift on the Italian marque’s bikes this year.
With new models also released – the launch of Pinarello’s Dogma F10 is the big news at the start of the season but we’re sure to see more bikes break cover through the season – there’s plenty to feast your eyes on.
As for groupsets, Shimano continue to be the dominant supplier in the WorldTour, with no less than eight teams officially supplied by the Japanese manufacturer, and a further six opting to use Shimano components (though of those, Astana and Dimension Data, will switch to FSA and Rotor’s new groupsets when they become available). That leaves three teams with Campagnolo groupsets and just one, Katusha-Alpecin, sporting SRAM components.
While Shimano unveiled the latest version of Dura-Ace Di2 in July 2016, it’s only beginning to enter production, with a smattering of components on show at the season-opening Tour Down Under. Expect the visibility of Shimano’s flagship groupset to increase as availability improves.
What about disc brakes? With discs now once again permitted for use in the pro peloton, expect to see disc-equipped races in select races this season – most likely in the Classics. While disc brakes will undoubtedly begin to infiltrate the peloton, rim brakes are still very much the order of the day.
There’s plenty going on, then, so let’s take a closer look at the bikes being used by each of the 18 teams in the WorldTour in 2017.