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Winning Bikes Of The Tour De France

Updated on September 25, 2016
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Liam Hallam is a Sports Science graduate. A keen Cyclist, Runner and Obstacle Racer who ran his first Ultramarathon in 2016

Miguel Indurain climbing alone in the mountains in the last days of steel bicycle success in the Tour De France

Miguel Indurain riding a steel Pinarello bicycle in the the mountains during the Tour De France
Miguel Indurain riding a steel Pinarello bicycle in the the mountains during the Tour De France | Source

A look at the bicycles that won the Tour De France

Sometimes we can get overawed by the human accomplishment of the riders in the Tour De France yet they're all riding a bicycle and bikes have changed dramatically over the years as frameset materials have evolved from the traditional steel to modern flowing lines of superlight carbon fibre.

Gear systems have progressed dramatically over time from the early riders using single speed bicycles to ride across the vineyards of France and up high into the Mountains. Now technology is starting to take bicycles to new levels.

This article addresses which bikes have the yellow jersey winner over the Tour De France ridden? What were they made from and what groupsets lead them to the yellow jersey.

A guide to the bicycles of Tour De France Winners

Below is a detailed and concise guide to the bicycles that have been riden to Tour de France glory, the wheels that have rotated their way around France and the equipment which has helped the riders achieve the goal of winning the Tour De France.

Miguel Indurain in Tour de France Time Trial action

Indurain in yellow leading the Tour De France during a Time Trial stage while riding a Pinarello.
Indurain in yellow leading the Tour De France during a Time Trial stage while riding a Pinarello. | Source

The last day's of steel: Miguel Indurain 1991-1995

Spanish strongman and time trial specialist Miguel Indurain was the last cyclist to win the Tour De France on a steel framed bicycle. He rode a Pinarello steel frame in each of his 5 Tour De France wins.

Bicycle Nationality: Italian

Groupset: Campagnolo

Wheels: Campagnolo

Indurain was one of the best time trial cyclists in the world and Pinarello made some very specialist time trial frames which helped Indurain claim his five Tour victories. Indurain was always able to capitalise on his time trial ability while conserving his position while never being spectacular in the mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees.

The 90's Were The Years Of Italian Bike Dominance In The Tour De France

Alongside the wins for Indurain on a Pinarello there were two more wins for the Italian bicycle manufacturer for the German Telekom cycling team with Bjarne Riis and Jan Ullrich.

Win's for the Telekom Team aboard Pinarello bicycles 1996 and 1997

Rider: Bjarne Riis (1996), Jan Ullrich (1997)

Bicycle Nationality: Italian

Groupset: Campagnolo

A tortured genius riding a Bianchi: 1998. Marco Pantani

Another Italian bicycle manufacturer took control of the Tour De France yellow jersey in 1998. Pantani was a flawed genius whose personal troubles led to problems off the bike and subsequently meant he was unable to win the Tour De France more often in line with his immense potential.

The Italian bicycle manufacturer Bianchi is famous for it's celeste colourscheme which worked extremely well with the yellow of the Tour De France leaders jersey. Bianchi provided Marco Pantani aluminium frames to win the Tour De France.

Bicycle Manufacturer Nationality: Italian

Groupset: Campagnolo

Lance Armstrong in the yellow jersey riding a carbon fibre Trek Madone ahead of 1998 Winner Marco Pantani on an aluminium Bianchi

Lance Armstrong climbing ahead of Marco Pantani. Lance Armstrong is on a Trek OCLV Madone with Mavic Ksyrium wheels and Shimano Dura ace components
Lance Armstrong climbing ahead of Marco Pantani. Lance Armstrong is on a Trek OCLV Madone with Mavic Ksyrium wheels and Shimano Dura ace components | Source

1999 To 2005. Lance Armstrong's American Dominance Aboard A Trek Bicycle

Lance Armstrong became the first American to win the Tour De France on an American bike with and an American Team in 1999 and led to an American dominance within the sport alongside the Wisconsin based Trek bicycle company

Tour De France 1999- 2005 Winning Bicycles Trek Oclv (Optimum compaction low void) Carbon and Madone model. These were the first carbon fibre frames to win the Tour De France

In 1999 Armstrong rode a Trek 5500. This was the first carbon bicycle frame to win the Tour De France.

Bicycle Nationality: American

Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace

Wheels: During the 1999 Tour De France the US Postal Team used Rolf wheelsets on their Trek 5500 series OCLV Race bikes. In 2000 Armstrong utilized French company Mavic's Ksyrium wheelset and from 2001 onwards Armstrong rode wheels made by Trek's in-house equipment manufacturer Bontrager.

NB- Sadly as of October 2012 Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his 7 Tour De France Titles- effectively removing Armstrong from the record books. Armstrong has been left within this report due to the impact his success had on the sport and the rise to prominence of the Trek and Bontrager brands.

Lance Armstrong On His Trek Madone Bike At Le Tour

2011 and 2012 The years of Shimano Di2 electronic groupsets

Traditionally the gears of a bicycle have always used wire cables to change gear and brake. 2009 saw the launch of Shimano's first high end electronic bicycle groupset. Shimano Dura Ace Di2 which promises more reliable gear shifts due to the requirement for no more wires and less hassle- if it all works right!

Luke Rowe of Team Sky with a Pinarello Dogma like the one used by Bradley Wiggins in the Tour De France

Team Sky's Luke Rowe at the Tour of Britain 2012 with a Pinarello Dogma like the one used by Bradley Wiggins in his Tour De France win. Equipped with Di2 Dura-Ace
Team Sky's Luke Rowe at the Tour of Britain 2012 with a Pinarello Dogma like the one used by Bradley Wiggins in his Tour De France win. Equipped with Di2 Dura-Ace | Source

2012- The Dawn of the Electronic Groupset

Tour De France 2012: Bradley Wiggins Wins aboard an Italian Pinarello Dogma

2012 saw the rise of former British Track star Bradley Wiggins and the meticulous preparation of Team Sky which stemmed from the success of their incremental gains approach derived from the highly successful British Cycling Track Team led by Dave Brailsford.

Tour De France 2012 Winning Bicycle: Pinarello Dogma

Bicycle Nationality: Italian

Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Electronic groupset

Wheels: Mainly Shimano Dura-Ace Carbon Fibre wheelsets however sky did have some unbadged wheels which were used on some stages.

The Team Sky Pinarello Dogma getting a clean

A Team Sky Pinarello Dogma getting a clean down after a long day at work in the Tour De France
A Team Sky Pinarello Dogma getting a clean down after a long day at work in the Tour De France | Source

2010: The year of Swiss engineering genius and Cadel Evans

In 2010 Cadel Evans became the first antipodean to win the Tour De France. The Australian was successful riding two rather unique looking bicycles from the Swiss BMC brand of Andy Rihs.

Evans used two road bicycles

The BMC Team Machine SLR01 was one of the first road racing frames to incorporate Nanolight technologies to further improve the performance characteristics of carbon fibre

Evans' BMC Impec was at the forefront of cutting edge carbon technology. Entirely machine built when traditionally carbon fibre framesets were made in frame moulds. BMC claim that their technology of 'Load Specific Weave' creates completely flawless carbon fibre tubes while their 'Shell Node Concept' creates a high density bonded shell to hold tubes in place and maintain structural integrity.

Tour De France 2011 Winning Bicycle: BMC Team Machine and BMC Impec

Bicycle Nationality: Swiss

Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Electronic groupset

Wheels: Easton

2013- Another year of Sky dominance with Chris Froome

2013 saw the rise of Bradley Wiggins' trusted lieutenant from 2012- Chris Froome. Froome had threatened to drop Wiggins in the mountains during the 2012 edition and the more mountainous route for 2013 signified he would be team leader.

Froome won the 2013 Tour de France in a way that would have pleased the purists- He won it on the attack in the mountains whilst also time trialling well. His attacks were electric and his riding meant that he didn't need to rely on what appeared to be an at times struggling Sky team.

Tour De France 2013 Winning Bicycle: Pinarello Dogma

Bicycle Frame Nationality: Italian

Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Electronic groupset

Wheels: Mainly Shimano Dura-Ace Carbon Fibre wheelsets.

Sram Red won it's first Tour De France in 2009 with Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador Rode his Astana Team Trek bicycle to Tour De France Victory in 2009 to take the first ever victory for Sram.
Alberto Contador Rode his Astana Team Trek bicycle to Tour De France Victory in 2009 to take the first ever victory for Sram. | Source

Which groupset manufacturer has won the most Tour De France Races?

Over the course of the history of the Tour De France the Italian manufacturers groupsets have graced the most Tour De France Yellow Jersey winners bicycles.

Shimano first graced a Tour Winners bicycle in 1999 with the first win for the legendary Lance Armstrong who after battling testicular cancer went on to win a record breaking 7 Tour De France Titles

The American groupset manufacturer Sram first won the Tour De France on the Astana Trek bicycle of Alberto Contador in 2009 featuring their unique 'Double-Tap' shifting mechanism (pictured right). The win helped to establish the company in the cycling marketplace as a rival to the established Shimano and Campagnolo brands.

The table below shows details of Tour De France Winners since 1986, what bicycle manufacturer they rode, their cycling team and the groupset manufacturer whose equipment took them to Tour De France victory.

2014- Nibali Aboard A Specialized S Works

Team Astana riders aboard Specialized S-Works Tarmac bikes as riden to Tour De France Success by Vincenzo Nibali
Team Astana riders aboard Specialized S-Works Tarmac bikes as riden to Tour De France Success by Vincenzo Nibali

Tour De France 2014- Vincenzo Nibali Wins on Specialized and with Campagnolo

It's been a long time since an Italian won the Tour de France and in 2014 Vincenzo Nibali showed just what a classy rider he was as the Tour had it's Grand Depart in Yorkshire for the very first time.

Nibali showed his dominance aboard a Specialized bicycle on the second stage by winning after a challenging parcours across the Pennines and into the Peak District with climbs of Holme Moss and the notorious Strines area on the run in to Sheffield. Nibali's dominance continued on the mountain stages where no riders were able to match his strength.

Nibali's win was aboard a bike equipped with an 11 speed Campagnolo groupset for the Kazakh Astana team after withdrawals by Chris Froome and Alberto Contador following crashes.

Tour De France Winning Bikes 1986 to present

Year
Winner
Bicycle Brand
Team
Groupset Manufacturer
2016
Christopher Froome
Pinarello
Sky
Shimano
2015
Christopher Froome
Pinarello
Sky
Shimano
2014
Vincenzo Nibali
Specialized
Astana
Campagnolo
2013
Christopher Froome
Pinarello
Team Sky
Shimano
2012
Bradley Wiggins
Pinarello
Team Sky
Shimano
2011
Cadel Evans
BMC
BMC
Shimano
2010
Andy Schleck(1)
Specialized S Works
Saxo Bank
Sram
2009
Alberto Contador
Trek
Astana
Sram
2008
Carlos Sastre
Cervelo
Team CSC
Shimano
2007
Alberto Contador
Trek
Discovery Channel
Shimano
2006
Oscar Pereiro(2)
Pinarello
Caisse D'Epargne
Campagnolo
2005
No Official Winner(3)
Trek
Discovery Channel
Shimano
2004
No Official Winner(3)
Trek
US Postal
Shimano
2003
No Official Winner(3)
Trek
US Postal
Shimano
2002
No Official Winner(3)
Trek
US Postal
Shimano
2001
No Official Winner(3)
Trek
US Postal
Shimano
2000
No Official Winner(3)
Trek
US Postal
Shimano
1999
No Official Winner(3)
Trek
US Postal
Shimano
1998
Marco Pantani
Bianchi
Mercatone Uno- Bianchi
Campagnolo
1997
Jan Ullrich
Pinarello
Team Telekom
Campagnolo
1996
Bjarne Riis
Pinarello
Team Telekom
Campagnolo
1995
Miguel Indurain
Pinarello
Banesto
Campagnolo
1994
Miguel Indurain
Pinarello
Banesto
Campagnolo
1993
Miguel Indurain
Pinarello
Banesto
Campagnolo
1992
Miguel Indurain
Pinarello
Banesto
Campagnolo
1991
Miguel Indurain
Pinarello
Banesto
Campagnolo
1990
Greg Lemond
Own brand labeled
Z
Campagnolo
1989
Greg Lemond
Bottecchia
ADR
Mavic
1988
Pedro Delgado
Pinarello
Reynolds
Campagnolo
1987
Stephen Roche
Carrera
Carrera
Campagnolo
1986
Greg Lemond
Look
La Vie Claire
Campagnolo
(1). Alberto Contador winner in Paris was disqualified due to a positive doping test. (2). Floyd Landis winner in Paris disqualified due to doping offence. (3) Lance Armstrong's Tour Wins were removed from the record books October 2012 as a resultr o

Which bike brand has won the Tour de France most often?

Looking back on the history books for the modern era as featured on the table above it would appear that Trek as a bike manufacturer has won the Tour De France the most times.

However as the table above states in the footnotes that with Lance Armstrong being stripped of all of his Tour wins as of late 2012 this would now indicate that the Italian bicycle manufacturer Pinarello have won the most Tour victories in the modern era

Pinarello Bikes Won The Tour in..

1991-1995 with Miguel Indurain, 1996 with Bjarne Riis, 1997 with Jan Ullrich, 2012 with Bradley Wiggins and 2013, 2015,2016 with Chris Froome of Team Sky Procycling

Forza Pinarello.

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    • profile image

      Vittorio 3 years ago

      Miguel Indurain in 1991 used Razesa bikes(official bike) with reynolds 653 steel tubes and TVT bike for climbing. The same Delgado in 1988.

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      Liam Hallam 3 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Alex- now updated,. Thanks for the information

    • CyclingFitness profile image
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      Liam Hallam 3 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Alex, Never trust the internet 100% for your sources as I took that info from a number of prominent blogs. I have now noted and corrected the error- Thanks for your feedback. CF

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      Alex 3 years ago

      Pedro Delgado rone a Piranello when he won the 1988 tour and he rode for Team Reynolds, not PDM..

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      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks Richard. That's an interesting idea. I certainly can't remove any entry from the Armstrong years as this article focuses on The Bike and not the athlete- however with the athlete responsible for powering the bike it is a difficult situation. It certainly needs a further footnote to the table- thanks for your comment

    • profile image

      Richard 4 years ago

      You should vacate the "winner" column for 1999-2005 on this page. It's hard to know how to fix the "bike" columns; I've read that Cadel Evans was the "moral" winner of the 2005 race.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great Hub. Pretty much a history of the Tour. Enjoyed the quiz. Thaks for sharing with us.

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      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks carol for your feedback. It's hard to believe that there is no colnago bikes that have won the tour in modern times. They have been ridden this year to the polka dot jersey by Thomas Voeckler of team Europecar. I think it may be eddy Merckx who last won the tour on a colnago

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I found this hub as I was looking on forum for answers to specific hub questions. My son rode behind the tour de france last year. We have Colnago that was once a Tour de France bike used. We ride daily for fun and exercise. I enjoyed this hub a lot and gained some interesting facts.Voted UP

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      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Thanks super mario. I hope the table worked well for you. I managed to combine info from a large number of sources for it-. CF

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      SuperMario 4 years ago

      Loving the info table- I wanted to find out who's won the most Tours- Campag or Simano and that shows me in a great way

      But cheeky putting Wiggins before he's won though!

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