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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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New Shimano wheels at the Tour de France

Team Sunweb has been using what looks like a new Shimano wheelset (Image credit: Getty Images)
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New Shimano wheels at the Tour de France

A few of the Groupama FDJ riders are using them too (Image credit: Getty Images)
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New Shimano wheels at the Tour de France

With Continental Competition Pro Ltd tyres, they're clearly tubular in design (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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New Shimano wheels at the Tour de France

The rims look to have gotten wider (Image credit: Getty Images)
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New Shimano wheels at the Tour de France

It looks as though both front and rear both measure approximately 50mm in depth (Image credit: Getty Images)

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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Josh Croxton

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.