Back for its fifth year the Tour de Yorkshire has become much more than just a practice run for the 2014 Tour de France’s opening stages. Now a fully-fledged UCI sanctioned HC category stage race (cycling’s governing body’s highest classification of stage race, the same as the Grand Tours), it attracts the biggest racers and teams in the world. Racers will battle it out over four gruelling stages in the men’s race, taking in the finest roads and most punishing climbs Yorkshire can throw at them. 2019 will also see the women’s race take place over two stages for the first time. Tour de Yorkshire’s organisers have also made sure to keep women’s racing in the spotlight by scheduling the racing for Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th of May to ensure great crowds for all races.
With a list of vainquers including current Olympic road race champion Greg van Avermaet (Team BMC) and Dimension Data’s Serge Pauwels, the Tour de Yorkshire is becoming one of the (albeit) smaller tours riders are making a target for the year.
As part of the build up to the race we thought we’d take a closer look at some of the bikes the teams are going to be racing and whether you can emulate the pros and get a similar setup as your favourite rider.
Mark Cavendish’s Dimension Data team are looking to repeat 2017’s overall win and are now running on BMC bikes for 2019. BMC’s ultimate all-round race bike, the Teammachine has evolved to provide the stiffest, lightest and most compliant race frame BMC has ever produced. It’s also high on neat features and integration, including an almost seamless, cable free cockpit and d-shaped seatpost for extra comfort. Whilst the team are running ENVE cockpit and wheels and Rotor cranks, BMC do offer the Teammachine SLR01 Disc One build that is actually lighter than anything the teams can ride in a UCI race.
Madison Genesis is one of the smaller domestic UK teams mixing it with the bigger World Tour teams at the Tour de Yorkshire. Whilst it might not have the same firepower in terms of household names, Madison Genesis still has access to a raft of top bikes to race on. Provided by British brand Genesis, the team has helped develop its new Zero SL race bike over the last four seasons. What’s most interesting for UK riders is the Zero SL has been developed primarily for British roads. That means it combines its race geometry with a level of comfort normally unheard of for a stiff speed machine. The Zero SL is also a disc specific design providing reliable and consistent braking no matter the conditions. With the same geometry and tuned ride feel, the standard Genesis Zero Disc mixes it with the best. It might not be as light as the SL version raced by Madison Genesis but is still equally capable of speeding you to those PRs.
In the women’s race, Lizzie Deignan’s Trek Segafredo team is one of the top flight teams vying for the overall classification. As the team name implies, it has full access to all of Trek’s vast array of road bikes, including the lightweight Emonda for climbing duties and the super fast and aero Madone. Released in 2018 this latest version of Trek’s most recognised road bike is all about cutting through the air as effortlessly as possible. Running the SLR version, team riders can also fine-tune the amount of comfort thanks to the adjustable IsoSpeed decoupler (a device that lets you determine how much the seat tube flexes). Whilst it might rely on Shimano’s second tier Ultegra 6800 for shifting duties in comparison to Trek Segafredo’s SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset, the Trek Madone SLR 6 Disc uses the same aero frameset as the team. It also matches that with Bontrager carbon deep section wheels, another component shared with the team riders.
Boels Dolmans is pretty much the ‘supergroup’ of women’s racing at the moment, seemingly winning almost all the Spring Classic races. Long time sponsors Specialized provide the team with the pick of its road range including the Venge aero speed machine. For most of the riders the bike of choice will be the Tarmac SL6. A new fork design, dropped seatstays with aero shaping and a D-shaped seatpost add some aero features without adding weight so the Tarmac remains a properly lightweight bike favoured by the GC contenders. The range of women’s Tarmac frames have been developed with help from Boels Dolmans riders and whilst they might not be the S-Works versions or come kitted out in the Zipp wheels the team use, bikes like the Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert Disc is more than equipped to take on the Tour de Yorkshire.
Just like Madison Genesis in the men’s race, Drops Cycling is another domestic team looking to mix it with the best in the world at Tour de Yorkshire. One of two teams in the race to be riding Cannondale (Italian team Valcar Cylance being the other), Drops is opting to use bikes from its Supersix Evo model range. Primarily due to the nature of Yorkshire’s gruelling climbs, where lightweight will ordinarily beat aero, the Supersix Evo thankfully boasts one of the lightest frames in the peloton. The Supersix Evo frame also includes the unique SPEED SAVE Micro-suspension system to absorb shock and keep you comfortable for longer days in the saddle. Cannondale produce several Supersix Evo models for us mere mortals to ride and race on, including the stunning Supersix Evo Carbon Disc Ultegra.
So there you have it, just a few of the bikes to look out for on the roads of Yorkshire this week. We can’t wait for the Tour de Yorkshire to start, we’re sure the racing is going to be epic!