When a rider takes the leader's jersey at the Tour de France, teams and mechanics quickly honour the achievement with special bikes and accessories. While we wait for our 2023 winner and the yellow bike they will ride around the Champs-Élysées, we're looking back on some of the Tour de France-winning bikes from the past decade.
Among the many perks of winning the Tour de France is getting to ride around Paris on a special yellow bike to match the maillot jaune, sometimes with a glass of bubbly and often at a pretty leisurely pace. This is because the last stage is almost always a procession, unless the organisers have a trick up their sleeve like that famous stage 21 time trial won by Greg LeMond in 1989.
Team Sky/Ineos have won the Tour de France seven times since 2010, so admittedly this round-up is a bit of a Pinarello-fest. But, nevertheless, which Tour de France-winning bike is your favourite? Let's go through them...
Alberto Contador (2010)
Alberto Contador won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009, and initially 'won' the Tour in 2010 but was stripped of his title after failing a doping test.
I trawled through the archives and came across this garish special edition Specialized S-Works ridden by Contador in 2010, complete with a picture of the man himself on the top tube.
If you didn't notice this image, you're sure to know it's his anyway thanks to the red decals of 'Contador' on the seat post, seat tube, seat stay and chain stay.
On to some of the components: Contador used a SRAM groupset and Zipp wheels complete with yellow decals, and Specialized cranks and stem dipped in yellow paint.
2011 was Cadel Evans' turn to unveil a custom yellow bike for the final stage of the Tour, and he didn't disappoint with this BMC Teammachine SLR01.
The SLR01 was BMC's flagship model, and Evans' bike was complete with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, an SRM power meter, EA90 stem and Easton EC90 bars with yellow handlebar tape, plus an Easton carbon wheel set finished off nicely with yellow decals.
Finishing touches included Speedplay pedals and a yellow Fiziki Antares saddle.
Throughout the 2012 edition of the Tour de France Team Sky were riding the Pinarello Dogma 2, but Wiggins made the switch to the Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2 for the final stage. This was unveiled ahead of the Tour.
The frame design was similar to the Dogma 2, with Pinarello's trademark wavy fork and seat stays, but the 65.1 used 65Ton HM 1K carbon fibre which was said to be more rigid, more reactive and lighter.
Wiggins' setup included a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 7970 groupset, Osymetric chainrings, Shimano C50 wheelset and PRO cockpit with yellow bartape.
Like Wiggins, Chris Froome's custom yellow bike was the Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2. He had been riding a yellow-accented Dogma during his time in the maillot jaune, but swapped it for this complete yellow build for the final stage.
But, unlike Wiggins, Froome opted for black bartape, saddle and pedals, not quite going all out on the yellow.
Specialized delivered this customised Tarmac for 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali for the final stage of the race. They steered clear of the obvious route of painting everything yellow, however, and matched the black base colour with yellow decals and graphics.
Corima delivered yellow stickered wheels to match the frame. Look did the same with the pedals, and Campagnolo supplied yellow hoods for the Super Record mechanical groupset. FSA produced a yellow stem, handlebar and seatpost to add to the build. Yellow bar tape completed the bike.
It's a bit less garish than the all-yellow Pinarello Dogma bikes that Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome rode in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Chris Froome won the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for three consecutive years: 2015, 2016, 2017. With this came quite the collection of yellow bikes, so we've picked one from his three-year winning streak, the Pinarello Dogma F8.
The Dogma F8 was almost identical to the bike Froome rode in 2015. It was the Italian company's first aero road bike, developed with Team Sky partner Jaguar, and became the main race bike for the team.
Froome's yellow bikes all featured the Rhino motif on the top tube, a nod to his roots and his support for Unite for Wildlife, a charity that was set up to put an end to the illegal wildlife trade.
The rest of the bike was also business a usual, with a Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and his favourite Osymetric chainrings, Dura-Ace C50 wheels with Continental tyres and PRO handlebar and stem.
This is the Pinarello Dogma F10 X-Light that Geraint Thomas used to win the gruelling 2018 edition of the Tour de France, painted yellow for the final stage around Paris.
The Dogma F10 X-Light was about 60g lighter than the standard Dogma F10 thanks to a slightly more expensive carbon fibre layup, but it had the exact same tube profiles as the standard bike.
Thomas had the one-piece Talon handlebar made by Most, the component brand owned by Pinarello, and chose a 130mm length stem. The whole lot was dipped in yellow paint and finished off with some yellow bar tape.
The Dogma frame was complete with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 groupset, Shimano Dura-Ace C60 wheels and a Fizik Arione R1.
The last of the Pinarello bikes in our round-up is Egan Bernal's Pinarello Dogma F12, and of course it's complete with a handwritten congratulations from Pinarello boss Fausto Pinarello.
Bernal used regular Dura-Ace C60 wheels despite using Lightweight Meilenstein wheels for the mountain stages. There was also a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset with a 53/39t chainset, an 11-30t cassette and a Shimano power meter.
He used the new Most Talon carbon aero one-piece handlebar and stem at the time, with a 13cm stem and 40cm wide handlebar. A Fizik Antares saddle with carbon rails and Shimano SPD-SL pedals completed the build.
The seat post, MOST Talon handlebar and the Fizik saddle, bar tape and Elite bottle cages were all finished with yellow.
With Pogacar winning in 2020 and 2021, again we've picked one of the two bikes. We've gone for the considerably yellow-er 2020 bike.
2020 was the year that a rider on a Colnago with rim brakes and a Campagnolo Super Record groupset won the Tour de France - although admittedly, it was Colnago's K.One time trial bike that Tadej Pogačar propelled to a shock victory over his compatriot Primož Roglič after overturning a large time deficit to snatch the yellow jersey on stage 20.
This was a significant victory for Colnago, as this was the first time a rider had won the world’s biggest bike race on a bike that actually bears its name. Eddy Merckx won numerous Tour titles on bikes designed and made by Colnago, but the bikes were never badged as such.
Pogacar used Campagnolo Bora WTO wheels, the Deda Alanera integrated bar and a Prologo Scratch M5 saddle. No details were spared on his celebratory bike, that was personally checked by Ernesto Colnago himself before it was rushed to Paris for stage 21. It was complete with a yellow seat tube, bar tape and yellow Look Keo Blade Carbon pedals with 20Nm blades.
Last year, Jumbo-Visma raced the Tour de France on a yet-to-be-announced update to the Cervelo S5. Fortunately, Cervelo had a full yellow S5 frameset tucked away for the final stage, which was built up after Vingegaard had sealed victory in the penultimate stage.
A brand new Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 groupset was installed onto the glossy frame. The bike was equipped with R9200-P power meter cranks from Shimano and Dura-Ace pedals.
The Dura-Ace theme continues with the wheels, with the mechanics installing the C60 for the fast and flat laps around Paris. The wheels were tubular, and Vittoria's Corsa G2.0 were looking lovely with their tan sidewalls.
Adding to this special paint job is the phrase 'Jonas vinder gult', a play on Vingegaard's name. When translated from Danish it reads 'Jonas wins yellow'. Clever!
Will we be seeing a yellow Cervelo with a 1x set-up ridden to Paris by the defending champion this year?
Annemiek van Vleuten rode to victory at the first Tour de France Femmes in 2022, winning the week-long race by nearly four minutes.
Van Vleuten used her aero Canyon Aeroad CFR throughout the Tour de France Femmes rather than going for the lighter Ultimate, and started the final stage on the yellow bike. This was complete with yellow bar tape, wheel and groupset decals, and even a yellow chain.
Van Vleuten's bike was equipped with a SRAM Red AXS groupset and a Quarq power meter chainset with 52/39-tooth chainrings. She was also using Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels and a Fizik Vento Argo 00 short-nosed saddle.
And of course, then there's the latest edition to the list, Jonas Vingegaard's second all-yellow Cervelo S5. This year's differs a bit from his one from 2022. For starters, it has a SRAM Red AXS groupset instead of Shimano. Secondly, it's running Reserve wheels, again, instead of Shimano.
Vingegaard undertook the majority of mountain stages on a Cervelo R5, the Canadian brand's lightweight race bike, but the Danish rider did use the S5 several times at this year's Tour including on the penultimate mountain stage when he foolishly tried to outsprint a resurgent Pogacar.
As predicted, Vingegaard used a 1x setup in this year's Tour de France – on the very first and last stages, to be precise.
In the official press release photos, however, the bike is blinged up with this gold chain and cassette, but by the time Vingegaard made it to Paris, he was on a more traditional, albeit 1x, silver affair.
Other accents include the yellow Reserve wheel stickers and, of course, the word "Jaunus" on the seat tube, a play on the Vingegaard's first name Jonas and Jaune, French for yellow.
Vingegaard sticks to his usual Fizik Vento Antares 00 saddle, tanwall Vittoria Corsa Pro tubeless tyres, and shifters which look far more like SRAM Force AXS than SRAM Red.
What do you think of his build? Have Cervelo and Jumbo-Visma found a winning strategy or do you think they should have changed it up and gone for something a bit more different to last year? Let us know in the comments section below.
Which Tour de France winning bike is your favourite? Watch the video above to see the tech team's ratings and let us know yours in the comments section below...
Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.
Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…