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New bikes, wheels and components break cover ahead of Tour de France – here's 8 things we learnt at the Dauphiné

New bikes, secret tech, new tech, shiny shoes, the ‘wrong’ wheels and more showed up at our favourite Tour de France warm-up race the the Critérium du Dauphiné

The Dauphiné, an unassuming week-long race that just so happens to be the main warm-up race for the world’s best before the Tour de France. For many teams, this is where new tech gets tested in preparation for the world's biggest stage but unfortunately for them, it’s not away from prying eyes. Here are eight things we learnt from the 2023 Critérium Du Dauphiné.

1. AG2R Citroen, Lotto Dstny and Cofidis have new bikes!

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 1 (3)

When walking around the team buses at the Dauphiné, there’s always a chance that you’ll get to see an unreleased superbike; but this year, we were really spoilt for choice with three bikes that aren’t currently on the market to you and me.

First up we have a new Ridley (shown below) being ridden by the likes of Maxim Van Gils of Lotto Dstny. Of Ridley’s current bikes, this prototype most resembles the Noah, but we’d say that it’s not an update of this and instead a completely new one.

2023 Dauphine Ridley prototype - 1 (2)

> New Ridley road bike breaks cover at Critérium du Dauphiné

The bike definitely looks as though it’s trying to combine aero and lightweight, as we’ve seen plenty of brands do in recent years. This is most likely to be Ridley’s one bike to do it all.

We can expect plenty more Lotto Dstny riders to be using the unnamed bike come the Tour. It doesn’t half look like a Giant Propel though, doesn’t it?

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 12.jpeg

> BMC prototype aero superbike spotted at Dauphiné (updated with new pics)

Next up we have the prototype BMC being ridden by French team AG2R, which we reckon is the new Timemachine road.

This is a seriously good-looking bike, and judging by the sticker on the fork it has been designed in conjunction with Red Bull.

2023 Dauphine Look prototype - 1

> LOOK what we've spotted! Check out the new Team Cofidis Look road bike

The final unreleased bike at the Dauphiné was under Team Cofidis. This Look that we first reported on back in January after a social media leak has still not been officially released, and by now is just about the worst kept secret in the cycling industry.

Cofidis have dropped Campagnolo for 2023 and now use Shimano. All the bikes were fitted with Corima wheels, which might sound obvious but hang on just a second…

2. The Cav effect

Mark Cavendish during stage 12 of the 2023 Giro d’Italia (Zac Williams/
Zac Williams/

Astana Qazaqstan are never a team to be out of the news, are they! This year it’s been for almost all the right reasons, with new signing Cav picking up that final Giro sprint win and giving us all that spark of hope that he might just be able to get the all-important stage win at the Tour. 

Despite announcing that he’ll retire at the end of the year (and not even being at the Dauphiné) it was surely still his influence dictating the kit that Astana were riding. Earlier in the year Scicon Sports' CEO ripped into Astana Qazaqstan, saying it was "unfortunate that a team would not stand up for what is ethically the right thing to do" after Mark Cavendish continued to use Oakley glasses instead of the team's eyewear sponsor's products."

2023 Astana HED wheels corima wheels

> Are expensive carbon wheels worth it? Testing deep carbon rims vs classic aluminium

We thought that that was the end of that, but has Cav been influencing the team's other sponsorship deals? These wheels, for example, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they’re not from Corima...

Corima has a rich history in the World Tour. It has racked up four Grand Tours and a road race Olympic title in the last decade alone, but it’s a brand that seems reluctant to go tubeless. Is that what’s driving Astana away?

2023 Astana HED wheels corima wheels on team car

About half the team were spotted using these HED wheels, while the others remain on Corima. HED is a brand with an excellent reputation for making seriously aerodynamic wheels, and Astana doesn’t seem to be trying to hide the fact they’re using them with these rather huge blue decals.

This isn't the first time we've seen teams use non-sponsor wheels, such as Ineos using Lightweight wheels in the mountains and Aerocoach wheels often featuring in time trials.

3. Aero IS more important than weight

2023 Jamie weighing bikes dauphine vingegaard S5

We’ll be releasing a full 'tech trends of the Tour de France' feature in a few weeks' time, but as a little teaser here’s a trend that is no longer up for debate in the pro peloton.

At the Dauphiné aero is undoubtedly more important than low weight, and very few of the riders are on bikes at risk of breaking the UCI’s minimum weight limit of 6.8kg.

This is in stark contrast to bikes being used in the WorldTour a decade ago when lightweight tube profiles, fewer gears and rim brakes meant that on some occasions mechanics were spotted adding lead weights to team bikes so they would meet the 6.8kg limit.

2023 Jamie weighing bikes dauphine adam yates v4rs

> Lightweight v aero: which is best?

We put plenty of pros bikes on the scales of truth including Adam Yates’ Colnago V4RS, Vingegaard's S5 and Sam Bennett’s S-Works SL7, and all of them were a good few hundred grams over 6.8kg thanks to aero features such as deep wheels, aero profile handlebars and deep tubes designed to cheat the wind.

4. Jonas Vingegaard isn’t human

Jonas Vingegaard (A.S.O./Aurélien Vialatte)
A.S.O./Aurélien Vialatte

The Dauphiné is usually pretty telling of who’s going to feature at the Tour, and this year Jonas Vingegaard of Team Jumbo-Visma left little question over his form. 

With wins on two of the eight stages, some exceptional lead-outs on sprint days and two-second places to boot, Vingegaard put nearly two and half minutes into his closest rivals, who by the end of the Dauphiné barely looked like they could see any point in attempting to chase.

Jonas Vingegaard wins Critérium du Dauphiné (Eurosport)

Obviously, the Tour is long and anything can happen, but Vingegaard looks in a seriously strong place to defend his title.

Of course, his main rival Tadej Pogacar wasn’t at the Dauphiné, so maybe he can bring the fight to the young Danish rider.

5. Jumbo-Visma will leave no stone unturned

2023 Cervelo Dauphine 1x Jonas Vingegaard - 3 (1).jpeg

We’ve sporadically seen 1x and single chainrings appearing in the pro peloton over the last few years, most often in time trials. However, the Dauphiné proved that the Giro wasn’t just a one-off for Jumbo-Visma, and the SRAM-sponsored team really is committed to finding every last marginal gain.

You can check out Vingegaard's single chainring bike using the link below, but we don’t envy his gearing choices. Our legs hurt just imagining trying to climb on them! 

2023 Dauphine SRAM shifters - 1 (2)

> Is Vingegaard going 1x for the Tour de France?

Jumbo-Visma were also spotted with some rogue-looking shifters that are far more like SRAM Force than SRAM Red in their appearance. It’s safe to say that they’re prepared to leave no stone unturned in their quest to once again dominate the Tour.

6. The Tour de France sprints are wide open

2023 dauphine laporte wins sprint 1 A.S.O_Billy_Ceusters

The Dauphiné has never exactly been a sprinters paradise, but it was hard to put a finger on any one sprinter who absolutely dominated. Of course, it was Christophe Laporte that racked up two stage wins, but his second in particular looked like it was others making errors rather than Laporte having legs ten times stronger than anyone else.

Dylan Groenewegen wins the shoe game!

2023 Dylan Groenewegen Bont shoes - 1

Laporte was in acclaimed company with the likes of Groenewegen, Trentin, Boasson Hagenand Sam Bennett all competing as they prepare for the Tour.

We could be set for an absolute cracker this year, as there doesn’t appear to be any one dominant sprinter or sprint team like in previous years, where in the run-up the likes of Bennett, Kittel, Gaviria and co have looked unstoppable.

7. New Super Record Wireless groupset did the business

2023 Dauphine Campagnolo Super Record - 2

The new Campagnolo Super Record Wireless was released just a week before the start of the Dauphiné, so this was the first time that it was seen being raced in the public eye. On the whole, it seemed a success with the wireless mechs doing the business as they span their way onto the Dauphiné podium under Ben O’Connor. 

At the Dauphiné it looked like most of AG2R Citroen, now the only team sponsored by Campagnolo, were using the new groupset and we were told that we can expect the rest of the spare bikes to migrate over to the new system as more become available.

2023 Dauphine Campagnolo Super Record - 1

> Your complete guide to Campagnolo road bike groupsets

This was also the first time that we got to see the new groupset in the flesh. tech editor Mat was particularly impressed saying that it looked very slick, polished and every bit the high-end groupset that is expected from the Super Record line. High praise from a man that’s been saying for years that the outgoing Super Record was looking dated.

8. The French will be waiting a bit longer for a GC hope

2023 Alaphilippe dauphine win A.S.O_Billy_Ceusters

The Dauphiné wasn’t a complete fail for the French; in fact, French riders won the first three stages. Not only that but it looks like Alaphilippe is back to his punchy and lively self, and most importantly looking like he’s enjoying his racing.

However, the Dauphiné was also one of the final chances for a French rider to assert himself as a real threat for the Tour de France podium, and that didn’t happen.

Guillaume Martin was the highest-placed French rider on GC, but has so far always come unstuck on a tour that is three weeks long. Last year it was David Gaudu that seemed to be the up-and-coming French rider after finishing fourth at the Tour, but he had a Dauphiné to forget.

2023 David Gaudu speaking to press A.S.O._Morgan_Bove

"It was complicated, it was a difficult day, it was very fast and I was not as strong as the rivals on the final climb, so we have to analyse what happened and understand the reason why it happened," said Gaudu as he failed to break into the top 20 on any stage.

It looks as though the French hopes and dreams of a home race result will once again fall upon Thibaut Pinot.

What do you think the most interesting tech was at the Dauphiné and which rider or team impressed you the most? Let us know down in the comments section below...

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

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