The 2016 WorldTour will be contested by 18 teams and this is our guide to the bikes and equipment the teams will be racing.
There are no major changes this year. We could have copy and pasted this guide from last year. We didn't, of course. Each team has the same bike sponsor they had in 2015, but there are a few small component changes. Specialized still supplies three teams while Canyon and Scott sponsor two teams each, with the other manufacturers on one apiece.
On the equipment front, we see Shimano on 13 teams, with its Dura-Ace Di2 the go-to choice. Some enjoy Shimano sponsorship, but other teams choose to buy the groupsets and mix the components up a bit, with FSA and Rotor supplying chainsets for several of the squads. Increasingly the groupset suppliers insist on a team using its wheels and components as well.
Campagnolo provides three teams while SRAM raises its presence from one team (Ag2r) to two, signing up Katusha this season. It's a long way from the days when SRAM supplied eight teams. Ag2r and Katusha will both be using SRAM’s new eTap wireless groupset, which we first saw Ag2r riding on a few occasions last season. It'll be interesting to see if they do use the wireless groupset 100% of the time.
The other interesting development is the Rotor Uno hydraulic groupset that we anticipate the new Dimension Data (previously MTN Qhubeka) to use, if not at the start of the season, but at some stage during the year. For now it looks like they'll be combining Di2 groupsets with Rotor chainsets. The Dimension Data team also sees Cervélo return to the WorldTour, as the previous MTN-Qhubeka squad gained a WorldTour license during the off-season.
Anything else? FSA has shown us its electronic groupset which is still in development. Will it see action this season? Tinkoff is a team that has been rumoured in the past to be lining up to use the new FSA groupset - it currently buys its equipment.
The other big question of course is will we see disc brakes on race bikes this year? We honestly don’t know, we’ll probably find out at the same time as you do when the racers take to the start line. We know Shimano and SRAM have disc brakes, and we’ve spotted the new Rotor Uno disc groupset being tested, but Campagnolo so far hasn’t even announced a disc brake for the road. And some racers have already come out and said they’ll not be racing disc brakes, such as Fabian Cancellara who embarks on his final season before retiring.
The French team continues to ride the Focus Izalco Max carbon race bike with SRAM drivetrains and Zipp wheels. Last year the team started using SRAM’s eTap wireless groupset before it was launched, helping the US company with development and feedback. The groupset has since been launched and we should see the team racing it all the time, provided there are no issues. The SRAM sponsorship also means Zipp wheels and the team using Fizik stems, handlebars, and seatposts.
Another season on Specialized bikes for Astana, and it sticks with the Campagnolo EPS electronic groupsets from last year. It’s the only squad to use Corima wheels, a French wheel maker that produces some startlingly light carbon fibre tubular wheels. The team mostly uses the Tarmac, Specialized’s all-round model.
Long overdue for a paint job, the BMC race bikes look identical to last year. And the year before. A choice of the TeamMachine SLR01 or the aero TimeMachine , each will be decked out with Shimano Di2 groupsets and Dura-Ace wheels. It’s 3T bars and stems and Fizik saddles and Continental tyres.
light wheels? New Enve climbing wheels with enve Carbon hubs with ceramic speed bearings. Total weight 1032gr !!! pic.twitter.com/2qSJjyYgr1
— Nathan Haas (@NathanPeterHaas) January 10, 2016
The newest team in the WorldTour is Dimension Data, previously MTN-Qhubeka, and which has signed up Mark Cavendish for 2016. The team retains the Cervélo bikes of last year, with the S5, S3, and R5 the three key models each rider can choose from. The team is sponsored by Rotor and the Spanish company has developed a new hydraulic disc groupset called Uno. We’ve spotted it being tested, but we don’t yet know when the team will be racing this setup. They’ll have Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets to fall back on. Wheels will be supplied by Enve with a wide range of rim depths to suit different conditions and rider preferences. We’ve yet to set eyes on Mark Cavendish’s new bike, he’s been too busy training at Manchester velodrome over the winter.
Cannondale Pro Team
Cannondale launched the long-awaited update to the venerable SuperSix Evo at the Tour de France last year, and it’s the bike the team will start this season aboard. Unlike other manufacturers which offer two or three different frame models (a lightweight climbing bike, an aero bike etc) Cannondale provides just the Evo for all riders to race aboard. Cannondale reckons the bike is stiffer, more comfortable and more aero than the previous version. The team sticks with Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets with FSA supplying chainsets, handlebars, stems, and seatposts. Mavic meanwhile continues to provide wheels and tyres.
Etixx - Quick-Step
There is little change on the equipment front for the Etixx - Quick-Step team, with Specialized the bike sponsor and Roval wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains, which it swapped to last year from SRAM the year before. Last year we saw Mark Cavendish ride the new and updated Venge Vias for the first time, but most of the team opt for the Tarmac (which was also updated last year, though you have to look hard to spot the changes). There’s also the Roubaix for the cobbled classics.
French bicycle manufacturer Lapierre launched updated versions of the Xelius and Aircode models last year and these are the two key bikes the team will race. The Xelius SL is the lightest model in the range and will suit GC contenders and hilly stages, while the Aircode SL, an aero bike which has gone on a diet, is the frameset for sprinters and breakaway specialists. It’s a full sweep of Shimano gears, brakes, and wheels, with PRO (a componentry brand owned by Shimano) supplying bars, stems and seatposts.
No significant changes to this team for 2016. Last year Giant launched the updated TCR and this is the core bike the team will race throughout the season. There’s also the Propel, an aero race bike that first launched at the Tour Down Under in 2013, which is favoured by sprinters. The team also has the Defy for cobbled races, and it’s now only available with disc brakes so will we see the whole team on disc bikes at Paris-Roubaix? If not, it’ll be some older Defy road bikes being dragged out of storage. Of the three models, the Propel is the oldest one, so could it be due an update this season? As last year, it’s a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with wheels and PRO finishing kit.
The Swiss team IAM Cycling rolled out on the brand new Scott Foil aero bike at last year’s Tour de France, and this season it’s a bike that will see a lot of action. The other option available to the team is the lighter and more comfortable Addict. With the advances that have been made to aero bikes, with the weight of the frame coming down and the comfort being improved, it’s likely aero bikes will continue to be more popular choices. The team is still using Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains with DT Swiss wheels, and it’s one of the few teams dabbling with tubeless tyres, so keep a close on the Schwalbe tyres the bikes are fitted with, especially at the spring classics.
It’s another season for Canyon bikes for the Russian team, but the big news is the switch from Shimano to SRAM drivetrains, a move which doubles the US company’s presence in the pro peloton. The team has been training on the new eTap wireless groupset, and we can’t see any reason why they won’t be racing it as well. The team also swaps from Mavic to Zipp wheels (part of the SRAM sponsorship package) and it’s using Zipp finishing kit and Quarq power meters.
Merida must be hoping for a decent return on its investment in the professional peloton this season and will be hoping for some key results from the Italian team. One of the world’s largest bicycle manufacturers, Merida provides the Scultura and Reacto road bikes for the team to choose from, to suit different rider preferences or stage race demands. Again it’s a smattering of Dura-Ace Di2 components and Rotor chainsets, with FSA providing the handlebars, stems, and seatposts.
The Belgian team sticks with Ridley bikes for another season, and likewise stays with Campagnolo EPS groupsets paired with Campagnolo wheels and Continental tyres. We can expect to see the Helium SL being once again the default choice (it’s the lightest frame the company produces) but there’s also the Noah SL, which is the bike of choice for sprinter Andre Greipel when a stage finishes with a sprint finish.
Team Lotto NL Jumbo
Lotto NL Jumbo retains sponsorship from Italian company Bianchi, with the Oltre XR2 the choice for the past couple of years, but expect to see some racing the newer Specialissima, though the lightness of the frame will probably require some lead weight adding to bring it up to the 6.8kg weight limit. For the cobbles, the team will default to the Infinito CV, which allows the fitting of wider tyres. It’s a model that is also available with disc brakes, which might (or might not) see action in the early season races, if the conditions and parcours require it. The team sticks with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets and wheels and Pioneer power meters.
The Spanish team retains sponsorship from Canyon and it’s a partnership that has resulted in plenty of race wins. Could there be a Tour de France title added to the list this year? The choice of bikes include the Aeroad but most will choose the Ultimate CF SLX, which got an update last year. Campagnolo continues to supply groupsets and it’s also now able to provide a direct-mount brake caliper for the Aeroad - last year we spotted the team bikes fitted with blanked out Shimano brake calipers.
Like IAM Cycling, this Australian outfit races Scott bikes and we saw, at the Tour de France last summer, that the Foil aero road bike was the most popular choice with the team. First introduced in 2011, the Foil was updated last summer with a host of changes, but only a few of the riders had the new bike at that race, so new was it. Expect to see most of the team on this new bike this year. There’s also the lighter Addict if a rider doesn’t want an aero bike. A clean sweep of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets and matching Dura-Ace wheels, along with PRO finishing kit.
Team Sky may have swapped from Jaguar to Ford for its team cars, but on the bike front, there are no changes. It’s the same Pinarello Dogma F8 that the team has been raced for the past two years. It’s doubtful, but could there be an update to the Dogma this summer? Other bike choices include the K8-S for the cobbles, with its integrated rear damper, and the Dogma F8 Disc if any rider wants to embrace disc brakes at any point during the season. No changes to the equipment the team uses, it’s Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains and PRO bars, stems, and handlebars, Fizik saddles, Dura-Ace wheels and Stages power meters.
The Tinkoff and Specialized partnership continues, and that deal includes Specialized’s own Roval wheel brand as well. Tinkoff has signed up HED wheels for all time trials, however. Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets are combined with FSA chainsets and finishing kit. There are rumours that the team is waiting on FSA’s new electronic groupset and we could see it being rolled out this season at some point. Or we could be completely wrong. The Tarmac is the key bike used by the team but there’s also the new Venge Vias that Peter Sagan rode for select stages at the Tour de France last summer. We heard there were some concerns with the performance of the brakes, the company’s own design, so it’ll be interesting to see if Sagan competes on this bike for the majority of the season.
A new co-sponsor but the same bikes and equipment as last year. The Madone, given a complete aerodynamic overhaul last year, will be one of the choices alongside the lightweight Emonda, and the Domane for comfort and cobbles. Each rider is free to choose the bike they want to ride, a decision that will be influenced by race objectives, conditions and the parcours, so it’s a bit of a mix when the whole team rolls up to the start line. Trek has the Domane Disc in its range and its was used in some races at the end of last year, and it might see service again this year. But not with Cancellara, he has stated he has no interest in trying disc brakes in what will be his final season. Once again, it's Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets and Bontrager wheels and finishing kit.
We'll be updating these photos over the coming weeks as photos of the team bikes are released.
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.