One of the most important pieces of equipment on a pro’s bike is the tires. The tires affect the ride comfort, feel, grip, and most importantly speed, especially during a time trial towards the end where seconds matter.
So naturally, many cycling fans are curious what tires their favorite pro teams will be riding for this year’s Tour de France.
In this article, we’re going to explore exactly that.
When it comes to high-performance road racing tires, there are just a handful of tire brands that really stand out. Leading the pack this year is Continental (8 teams) and Vittoria (6 teams) among the 23 participating teams.
Like the previous years, the majority of the teams will be riding 25c tubular tires with pressure up to 160psi, depending on other factors such as road surface and rider weight among others.
This year, we’re seeing a number of teams running tubeless and clinchers which is a departure from the general consensus that tubulars are preferred for racing.
The Specialized sponsored teams such as current road World Champion Julian Alaphilippe’s Deceuninck Quick-Step and former 3X road World Champion Peter Sagan’s will be riding clinchers. Meanwhile, Team Qhubeka Assos and Israel Start-Up Nation will be running on tubeless tires.
The rest is made up of Pirelli (3), Michelin (2), Specialized (2), Maxxis (1), and Goodyear (1).
For the past decade, Continental tires have clocked up the most Grand Tour victories as part of their sponsorship for Team Sky (now Ineos Grenadiers). While the Continental GP5000 tires are very popular among amateur cyclists, the pro’s ride the Continental Pro LTD tubular tires.
These tires are very rare and limited to the pro teams who are racing on the highest levels. Watch out for the likes of former TdF winner Geraint Thomas, former World Champion Alejandro Valverde, and former Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana rolling in these tires.
- Tire Model : Continental Pro LTD tubular (More info)
- Teams on Continental Tires : Bahrain Victorious, Groupama FDJ, Ineos Grenadiers, Intermarché Wanty Gobert, Movistar Team, Team Arkea-Samsic
Italian tire maker Vittoria has been a mainstay in the pro peloton for the past 10 years with their tires improving with each iteration. For this year, the pros will ride the Vittoria Corsa G2 tubular which is very supple at 320 TPI. This tire comes in tubular, clincher, and tubeless versions and is widely available to the general public.
Expect to see defending champion Tadej Pogacar going head to head with Primoz Rodglic fighting for overall the win and Caleb Ewan sprinting towards victory on these very fast tires.
Long-time tiremaker and F1 tire provider, Pirelli made its entry into bike tires in 2017 and hasn’t looked back since. With over 110 years of experience making tires, you can be sure that there is a lot of research and development that has gone into their Pirelli P Zero Race 26c tubulars which will be ridden by three teams.
They’re available to the general public in tubular, tubeless, and clinchers in 26c, 28c, and 30c widths.
Earlier in 2021, Specialized sponsored teams BORA Hansgrohe and Deceuninck Quick-Step made a commitment to run on clinchers for all races except the Spring Classics. This decision might go against the general understanding that tubulars are preferred for racing. That remains to be seen but up until now, clinchers have had some major victories such as Kasper Asgreen winning the 2021 Tour of Flanders and Peter Sagan at the Giro d’Italia.
They will be running the S-Works Turbo RapidAir with latex inner tubes as latex tubes are well-known having similar riding characteristics as a tubular tire, albeit being porous.
Goodyear is another longtime tiremaker who made its entry into cycling as recently as 2018. Being the new kid on the block, Goodyear only focuses on clincher and tubeless tires.
Hence, the riders will be riding the Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport, their top of the line, 120 TPI tubeless tires. They’re available in black and tan colors with 26c and 28c sizes.
A leading brand in mountain bike tires, Maxxis will be in this year’s Tour de France with 4x winner Chris Froome’s Israel Start-Up Nation team. A solid performance from the team will definitely increase Maxxis’ stature among performance road tires especially with the High Road SL tubeless tires.
- Tire Model : Maxxis High Road SL tubeless (More info)
- Teams on Maxxis tires : Israel Start-Up Nation