When the Jumbo-Visma team rolled onto the stage at the team presentation ahead of the 2021 Tour de France, an unmissable change had been made to their Cervelo bikes: the inclusion of bright blue front tyres.
According to the team, these tyres will continue to be used in 'several stages' throughout the race, but what are they? Who makes them? And why are Jumbo-Visma using them at the race?
Firstly, the reason for using the blue tyres at the Tour is little more than a marketing stunt promoting one of Jumbo Visma's sponsors, Swapfiets, a 'bicycle as a service' company based in the Netherlands. According to the team, the blue front tyre symbolises the three-year partnership between the two parties.
"Many cycling enthusiasts also like to get on their bikes in everyday life," said Jumbo Visma's director, Richard Plugge. "This partnership with Swapfiets is therefore a very natural match. As Team Jumbo-Visma we see this as a chance to tell the broader public what we care about besides winning a race: good health, a green living environment and livable cities for everyone. That is what Swapfiets and the blue tire stand for and we are proud that we can contribute to this in such a visible way".
The tyres themselves are made by Vittoria, another sponsor of Jumbo-Visma, which supplies tyres from its Corsa range. They are a replica of the Corsa Graphene 2.0 tyres and, according to the team, they offer the same amount of performance and efficiency as the original (black) Corsa tyres. This is said to be thanks to a completely new recipe for the rubber compound that uses a specific silica as a filler.
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But why blue, and why tyres? Put simply, Swapfiets is a bicycle subscription service that allows customers to pay a monthly fee in order to lease one of its bikes. As part of Swapfiets' brand image, all of its subscription bikes use a blue front tyre. The team have switched to blue front tyres as a way to replicate this image to promote the brand.
"Team Jumbo-Visma and Swapfiets have found each other through the same passion for cycling and the vision that the bicycle is the best means of transportation in cities in the pursuit of more sustainable, environmentally friendly and flexible transportation for all," Swapfiets' CEO Marc de Vries added.
"We are therefore very proud to underline this mission with the introduction of a special blue tire in the peloton."
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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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