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Ridley go retro for the Tour de France

Belgian manufacturer produce retro-inspired bikes for the Lotto-Belisol team

Belgian manufacturer Ridley will provide retro-inspired bikes for the Lotto-Belisol team to start the Tour de France on this weekend.

The Lotto-Belisol squad have been racing this season in retro inspired race kit, replacing last year’s bright white, blue and yellow kit with a red jersey with a white band containing the simple text logo, and paired with black shorts. At the time of launch the team claimed the new design celebrates “the 30 years of Lotto tradition in cycling with a basic retro look.” 

Now they’ll be riding bikes matching the team kit. Ridley says they “wanted to do something special for the start of the Tour de France. Because we did not have the time to create a new design for the Lotto-Belisol team at the start of the season, we gave them a new look for the biggest cycling event of the year. We made a retro design that suits the new look of the team.”

The head designer at Ridley Bikes, Alexander Torelli, says it wasn’t easy applying a retro paint job to a modern carbon race bike: "I wanted this design to be a harmonious blend of retro and modern touches. It was a challenge to make a retro design for a modern carbon bike. The tube shapes we use now are very different from the steel tubes they used in the past. Therefore, this is my modern take on a retro design.

"Because we designed this for the Lotto-Belisol team, I found some inspiration in their cycling kit. The red color and Belgian flag are an obvious reference to the jersey, but there also are more subtle references. On the top tube you can read "ride your dream", referring to the "live your dream" slogan the team is using.

"The black paint on the frame covers the more modern parts, and are designed to resemble the "lugs" that were used on steel frames to connect the tubes. We chose for a matte clear coat finish which is lighter, but in my opinion also looks older. The well known Ridley font was also changed to better suit the retro design."

Underneath the paint the bikes are the same they team have been racing all season. The riders have a choice of the light Helium SL, an ideal climbing bike, or the aero Noah Fast, favoured by the sprinters and breakaway specialists.

Team rider Jürgen Roelandts, who will line up in Leeds on Saturday, seems impressed with the new bikes: "I saw the new bikes for the first time when the mechanics assembled them at the service course last week. They are really stylish. I look forward to be racing on them. Especially during the Tour de France, the biggest cycling event in the world. The new design perfectly matches the outfit we wear this season and the retro look we strive for. This bike and outfit remind me of the Flandria team. It's a bit of nostalgia."

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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

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