Spotted at the Tour de France: What does Shimano have up its sleeve?

New Shimano wheels at the Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've been perusing the Tour de France peloton in search of the latest and most exciting tech, and as ever, the world's biggest bike race hasn't disappointed. This time, it's Shimano that's using La Grande Boucle as its new-tech testbed, and if you've had an eye on Team Sunweb's Cees Bol, Marc Hirschi and Nicolas Roche, or a selection of riders from Groupama FDJ that includes Stefan Kung, you may have noticed something new about their bikes.  

They are all running what look to be new Shimano wheels. 

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In a Tour de France where both of the GC favourites in Jumbo Visma and Ineos Grenadiers have shunned Shimano in favour of lighter-weight options, Groupama FDJ and Team Sunweb have taken a different approach to wheelset replacement, testing what Cyclingnews understands to be prototype wheels from their Japanese sponsors. 

Nothing on the wheels specifically confirms the wheels are from Shimano, so given the rise of teams choosing alternatives, we reached out to Shimano for comment. "They are not using another brand," confirmed Ben Hillsdon, PR at Shimano, suggesting these are indeed new Shimano wheels. 

Comparing them side by side, the new wheels can be spotted thanks to their matte finish and absence of logos. 

New Shimano wheels at the Tour de France

The new wheels (left) are noticably deeper, and are matte black in finish (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The wheels appear to be an all-rounder, an observation backed up by the fact that they are being used by sprinter Bol, rouleur Hirschi and climber Roche. The fitment of Continental Pro Ltd tubular tyres tells us that we're looking at tubular rims. We would estimate the rims to be around 40-50mm deep, and they look noticeably wider than the current C40 or C60 offerings from Shimano. 

Unfortunately, he remained tight-lipped about details of the new wheels. "Shimano is constantly developing its products and technologies. However, we do not comment on rumours or on our development process."

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