It's all change for Romain Bardet in 2021. The 30-year-old Frenchman announced at the end of 2020 that he is leaving AG2R La Mondiale - his home of nine years - and moving to the German-registered team known today as Team DSM - formerly Team Sunweb.
Bardet's last Tour de France may have ended prematurely following a crash in which he sustained a 'small haemorrhage', but he's no stranger to success on home turf. Podiums in 2016 and 17 show his ability, but the fact that his 2019 polka dot jersey was seen as somewhat of a consolation prize speaks volumes of his potential. However, perhaps more prominently, it also spoke to the weight of expectation on his shoulders.
Bardet fans will be excited to see how a change of scenery will aid the Frenchman's hopes at Grand Tour success, but it seems Bardet himself is more interested in the team's achievements over his own. Speaking of his transfer in December, Bardet told Cyclingnews how he felt uncomfortable being the focal point within his former team, and how he was excited to be joining a team with a collective philosophy.
For the 2021 season, both Bardet and his new team have new bikes to familiarise themselves with. The team formed one-third of a triangle of bike swaps that also involved Jumbo Visma and Team BikeExchange. As a result, Bardet and his new team will race aboard Scott bikes, from which they will have the choice of the lightweight Addict RC, the aero Foil, and the Plasma time trial bike. Unsurprisingly for a climber, Bardet will predominantly ride the Addict RC.
His new bike, pictured here at a recent training camp, will be decked out with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Shimano's C40 tubular wheels. Both are of the disc brake variety, meaning Team DSM are the latest to commit entirely to discs, but this is primarily because the Scott bikes they're supplied with aren't available with anything else.
This rim-versus-disc-brake debate was sparked back into life this week when Chris Froome spoke of disc brakes' shortcomings following his move away from steadfast-rim-brake-purists, Ineos, to the disc-brake-only outfit of Israel Start-Up Nation. Bardet's move is in a similar direction, as despite having discs at his disposal, his usual bike of choice at AG2R was the lightweight Eddy Merckx StockEU69, a rebranded Ridley Helium (Eddy Merckx bikes is owned by Ridley), which was always shod with Shimano Dura-Ace rim brake calipers.
Rumours have been rife surrounding the impending arrival a new Dura-Ace groupset, with leaked approval for wireless technology and patents surrounding 12-speed, but for the time being at least, Bardet's bike is still shod with the 11-speed, wired R9170 model.
The other prominent debate in cycling today surrounds tyres. Despite tubeless being the new kid on the block, many riders prefer the tried and tested tubular option, although in a new twist, some teams are committing to clinchers. Bardet's a traditionalist in this regard, sticking - quite literally - with tubular tyres glued to his rims. He's opted for Vittoria's Corsas.
Finishing kit comes from Scott's component subsidiary, Syncros, and the integrated Creston IC cockpit does well to hide all cables from the wind. However, despite Syncros making saddles of its own, Bardet is using a PRO Falcon.
Upfront, a Wahoo Elemnt Roam will track Bardet's data. The team also has access to the Elemnt Rival smartwatch, though we're yet to see whether or not they opt to wear it while racing.
Tech Spec: Romain Bardet's Scott Addict RC
- Frameset: Scott Addict RC
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 disc
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 disc
- Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2 Disc
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 11-28
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100-P w/ power meter
- Wheelset: Shimano C40 tubular
- Tyres: Vittoria Corsa tubular
- Handlebars: Syncros Creston IC SL
- Handlebar tape: Syncros Super Light bar tape
- Stem: Syncros Creston IC SL
- Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Saddle: Pro Falcon
- Seat post: Syncros Duncan SL Aero
- Bottle cages: Elite Leggero Carbon
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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