Tour de France winning bikes: Which brand has won the most Tours in history?

Pogacar's Colnago
Tadej Pogacar's yellow Tour de France edition Colnago V3Rs (Image credit: Colnago)

With 21 stages covering thousands of kilometres of flat, rolling and mountainous terrain, accompanied by the staccato efforts of the puncheurs, the enormously high power efforts of the sprinters, and the high-speed cornering that accompanies the descents, the Tour de France is one of the biggest tests a bike can face. 

While no bike could win the race alone without a deserving rider, the same can also be said the other way round; any Tour de France winning bike has earned its place on the top step of the podium. 

Over the years, the basic design of all Tour de France bikes hasn't changed all that much. There are still two wheels, two triangles, gears, a chain, and pneumatic tyres, but the technology supporting each part has advanced by lightyears. We can’t help but wonder what the race would look like if you took today’s riders, and made them race the three-week tour on the bikes ridden in the 1903 edition of the race — or the other way around. 

With WorldTour teams using the equipment provided by their sponsors, many of the brands that are racking up stage wins in the modern race are still comparatively young compared to the Tour de France itself. But even while certain brands sponsor multiple teams, some of which are dominant, these young teams may never rack up the same number of TDF general classification wins as many of the now-defunct bike brands of old. 

We’ve combed through the results of every edition of the Tour and tabulated which brands have dominated the race over the last century. Because of the unavoidable shadow cast by doping over the sport during this time, we've listed the total number of wins per brand based on any retrospective action that was taken, such that our list tallies with the Tour's own records. 

Further complicating matters is the historically common practice of frames being built by a different brand than the one displayed on their tubes. The most significant of these instances concerns the French manufacturer Alcyon. Between 1930 and 1939, every bike ridden in the Tour was labelled L'Auto, as decreed by the race organisers. It is widely assumed that these were built by Alcyon in each year except 1938, which would add 9 victories to the company's tally. But, since there was no competition, these wins could be judged to be by default. To simplify matters here, we're sticking with the brand name on the winning frame.

Miguel Indurain's 1994 Pinarello Banesto team-edition bike, as found during our eBay Finds series

Miguel Indurain's 1994 Pinarello (opens in new tab) Banesto team-edition bike, as found during our eBay Finds series (Image credit: eBay)

1. Pinarello - 16 wins

By now, we’ve all heard Dave Brailsford’s infamous quote about ‘marginal gains,’ and with the number of Tour wins his Pinarello sponsored team has racked up, it’s hard to argue with this philosophy. But Pinarello was winning the Tour de France long before Brailsford started his tenure at Sky/Ineos or British Cycling. 

Pinarello earned its first TDF overall classification in 1988, piloted by Pedro Delgado riding with Team Reynolds. This race was marred with controversy, as Delgado tested positive for Probenecid, which at the time was considered a performance-enhancing drug by the IOC, but was not yet banned by the UCI. 

In the early 1990s, Pinarello road bikes were ridden to six consecutive TDF General Classification victories by Miguel Induráin, Bjarne Riis — he was removed from then reinstated to the winner's list after admitting to taking PEDs, with an asterisk to acknowledge the offence — and Jan Ulrich who finished second in the 1996 tour behind Riis, and won his only Tour in 1997. 

Some of the Pinarello-branded bikes ridden in the Tour in the late '80s and early '90s were actually manufactured by TVT, though this was a pretty common practice of the era. In the interest of names on frames, we count 16 in total for the Italians. 

Pascal Simon during the 1986 Tour de France Stage 19 time trial in St. Etienne

Pascal Simon during the 1986 Tour de France Stage 19 time trial in St. Etienne (Image credit: Sirotti)

2. Peugeot - 10 wins

Peugeot has been making bicycles since the early 1800s, and while today it is best known for its cars, the French brand still produces a range of road, commuter, and mountain bikes, and even sponsor an eMTB team.

Originally from Sochaux, France, the French brand earned its first Tour de France victory in 1905 with French rider Louis Trousselier and most recently in 1977 with Bernard Thévenet riding a Peugeot PY-10.

While Peugeot’s official Tour de France count is 10, they were also part of the collective of French automotive manufacturers that banded together after World War I under the moniker La Sportive to provide bikes for the race between 1919 and 1921. La Sportive has won in all three of these editions, which in part can be attributed to Peugeot.

Jean-Marie Leblanc, posing in front of the café "Le Réveil-matin", the site of the first ever Grand Départ in 1903, organised by Henri Desgrange, owner of the newspaper L'Auto

Jean-Marie Leblanc, posing in front of the café "Le Réveil-matin", the site of the first ever Grand Départ in 1903, organised by Henri Desgrange, owner of the newspaper L'Auto (Image credit: Getty Images)

3. L’Auto - 10 wins

In 1903, Henri Desgrange, the editor of the newspaper L’Auto, founded the Tour de France as a publicity stunt for his waning publication - spoiler alert, it worked.

As Desgrange was running the race and setting the rules, in 1930, he banned trade teams and only allowed national teams to participate, stipulating that each rider had to use a generic bicycle. For those 10 pre-war years, every rider from the yellow jersey winner to the lanterne rouge competed on a yellow road bike with L’Auto painted on the downtube. 

Laurent Fignon aboard a Gitane bike whilst riding for Renault

Laurent Fignon aboard a Gitane bike whilst riding for Renault (Image credit: AFP Photo)

 4. Gitane - 9 wins

With nine Tour de France victories, French outfit Gitane made the bikes which Laurent Fignon and Bernard Hinault rode to their wins. The brand was widespread in the professional peloton from the 1960s through to the 1980s and was also well known for producing motorcycles, also supporting moto racing teams during this period as well. 

In 1972, Gitane produced the “Tour de France”, which was a lightweight (for the time) frame, made from Reynolds 531 tubing and served as the brand's race bike, until it went on hiatus from the WorldTour. 

After a few name changes and transfers of ownership, Gitane ended up as part of the same brand portfolio as Peugeot and B.H, under the umbrella of Cyclegroup — which later was purchased by a Swedish firm that now also owns Bianchi. 

Gitane purchased the Helyett company in the 1960s, and also claimed their three Tour victories, which were achieved by Jacques Anquetil in 1957, 1961 and 1962. The Helyett frames may well have been built by Gitane too, but since we're sticking to names on frames, Gitane remains on nine victories.

Trek upgraded Armstrong with lighter OCLV 110 carbon and a 1 1/8" threaded aluminum steerer tube for his 2000 TdF campaign.

(Image credit: James Huang)

Nicolas Frantz, won the 1927 edition of the Tour de France aboard an Alcyon racing bicycle

Nicolas Frantz won the 1927 edition of the Tour de France aboard an Alcyon racing bicycle (Image credit: Getty Images)

5. Alcyon - 7 wins

With seven wins to its name, Alcyon, like so many of the brands that provided bikes to early Tour teams, made bikes, cars, and motorcycles. The brand’s first-ever win in the Tour de France came from the Luxembourgian François Faber, who also clinched five stage victories in that edition. 

Alcyon sponsored a team through the 1920s and was becoming a force in the peloton winning the 1927, 1928 and 1929 editions, but the visibility of the Alcyon name ended there due to Desgrange’s ban on trade teams in 1930.

Romain Bardet's Eddy Merckx Stockeu69

Romain Bardet's Eddy Merckx Stockeu69 for 2020 (Image credit: Colin Levitch)

6. Merckx - 5 wins

If we are going by what was written on the down tube, Merckx would be the next on our list, though by all accounts, the Cannibal was riding bikes built by Masi and Kessels. Despite a storied history, and recent sponsorship of AG2R, Merckx isn't a presence at the 2022 Tour. Its recent history involves financial difficulty and a takeover by Ridley Bikes, so we don't expect this number to grow for a while.

Henri Pélissier, winner of the Tour de France in 1923, did so aboard an Automoto bicycle

Henri Pélissier, winner of the Tour de France in 1923, did so aboard an Automoto bicycle. (Image credit: Getty Images)

7. Automoto - 4 wins

French outfit Automoto was founded in 1902 and like so many others of the era, was in the business of two-wheeled vehicles, both human-powered and motorised. 

The brand won four consecutive Tours de France under Henri Pélissier in 1923, Ottavio Bottecchia in 1924 and 1925, and Lucien Buysse in 1926. A few years later, in 1930, the brand was purchased by Peugeot but still produced bikes and motorcycles under the Automoto brand name until 1962, when it was discontinued.

Philippe Thys, who won the Tour de France three times, won his final maillot jaune aboard a La Sportive bike

Philippe Thys, who won the Tour de France three times, won his final maillot jaune aboard a La Sportive bike (Image credit: Getty Images)

8. La Sportive - 3 wins

While La Sportive may only have three Tour wins under its belt, and was only in existence for a handful of years, it’s one of our favourite stories in cycling history. 

World War One left Europe in bad shape, and many of the factories that produced bicycles had been reduced to rubble. The continent was in a depression, and spending money on sporting teams was hardly a priority at the time.

So to make sure the race would not be yet another casualty of the war, Alcyon, Armor, Automoto, Clément, La Française, Gladiator, Griffon, Hurtu, Labor, Liberator, Peugeot and Thomann banded together to provide equipment to half the peloton, and sponsored the race from 1919-1921. Given that half the riders were on La Sportive bikes during these years, it’s no surprise they came away with the General Classification each time, with Firmin Lambot winning in 1919, Philippe Thys winning in 1920 and Léon Scieur in 1921.

The group disbanded in 1922 when each respective company restarted their own teams. 

Primož Roglič's custom-painted Bianchi Oltre XR4

Primož Roglič's custom-painted Bianchi Oltre XR4 at the 2018 Tour de France (Image credit: Josh Evans)

9. Bianchi - 3 wins

The last time a Bianchi was ridden down the Champs-Élysées at the top of the general classification was in 1998 when Marco Pantani had the yellow jersey on his shoulders. This edition was drama-filled not only because of the racing, as the 85th edition was also the year of the Festina affair that marred the race with police raids, rider strikes, and teams pulling out of the race.

Bianchi’s other Tour de France victories were with Fausto Coppi in the saddle, in 1949 and 1952.

The brand came within a hair's width of doing it again in 2020, but Primož Roglič's untimely implosion on the stage 2020 time trial up La Planche des Belles Filles handed the race to Tadej Pogačar, resulting in Colnago's first-ever maillot jaune. 

Tadej Pogacar Yellow bike

(Image credit: Twitter: SigmaSports)

10. Trek, Colnago, Specialized, Frejus, Stella and Geminiani - 2 wins

For a brand with a history so ingrained in cycling culture, it does seem out of sorts that until 2020, Colnago had never won a Tour de France. Of course, thanks to Tadej Pogacar, it's won two in a row and is the bookies' favourite for the 2022 edition too. His hat trick would see Colnago step up the standings and sit alongside Italian rivals Bianchi.

Snapping at Colnago's heels are five other brands, each with two wins to their name: Frejus, Stella, Geminiani, Trek and Specialized. 

Trek has a tumultuous history with the Tour de France; its bikes have 'won' a total of nine Tours de France, however, with all of Lance Armstrong’s 'victories' being officially stricken from the record, the big red barn in Wisconsin can only officially claim Alberto Contador’s 2007 and 2009 wins. In 2022, none of the Trek Segafredo riders are expected to fight for GC, so don't expect Trek to get another this year.

Given Frejus, Stella and Geminiani no longer operate in the sport, Specialized is the only other brand able to climb above Colnago. However, despite sponsoring three of the teams in this year's race, Specialized's hopes would fall on Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora Hansgrohe) as the only of their riders at the race with any serious GC ambitions. 

Elsewhere, BMC has also crossed the line 1st in Paris on two occasions, but while Cadel Evans' 2011 title is irrefutable, soon after the 2006 Tour, Floyd Landis was found to have doped, was removed from the results, and Óscar Pereiro confirmed as the race winner, thus adding to Pinarello's victory total.

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Based on the Gold Coast of Australia, Colin has written tech content for cycling publication for a decade. With hundreds of buyer's guides, reviews and how-tos published in Bike Radar, Cyclingnews, Bike Perfect and Cycling Weekly, as well as in numerous publications dedicated to his other passion, skiing. 

Colin was a key contributor to Cyclingnews between 2019 and 2021, during which time he helped build the site's tech coverage from the ground up. Nowadays he works full-time as the news and content editor of Flow MTB magazine. 

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