Tour de France Winning Wheels

Tour de France Winning Wheels

There are few things more difficult than defending a Tour de France title, but Team Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard proved up to the task by dominating the 2023 edition for a repeat victory. We’d like to think that his Reserve wheels had a big part in this success. 

Obviously, his stage win in the hilly Stage 16 time trial aboard the Reserve 77|Disc wheelset was the first hint of his eventual dominance, but it was the massive time gain on the Stage 17 climb to Col de la Loze with the Reserve 34|37s that saw Vingegaard put serious and permanent time in the GC.

It begs the question: Which Reserve wheels did Vingegaard use for some of these pivotal stages and why?

We've received an exclusive run-down on which Reserve wheelsets Vingegaard used for his second Tour de France win.

Stage 3: Amorebieta-Etxano to Bayonne

Wheelset: Reserve 40|44 Tubeless

This stage took riders from Amorebieta-Etxano in the Basque Country and deposited them back into France, 193.5 kilometers later, in Bayonne. It always looked like a sprint day, despite four classified climbs, one cat-four and three cat-threes, but they were all dealt with in the first half of the race. After that, the going was generally flat to rolling and it was assured that the day would end in a sprint finish. The day’s victory went to Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen who pipped Phil Bauhaus at the line for the win.

In general, deeper profile wheels are heavier, but provide more advantages aerodynamically and once brought up to speed, do a better job maintaining forward momentum and maximizing efficiency. As a result, on Stage 3, Vingegaard decided on the deeper-profile Reserve 40|44s, the main reason being that the day had a lot of flat and/or rolling sections. Also, the climbs were not at a super high gradient and Vingegaard sat on the wheel of his teammates most of the day, so it was easy to keep pace with the peloton. 

Stage 5 Pau to Laruns

Wheelset: Reserve 34|37 Tubeless 

If you recall the race this day, it wasn’t a stage that Vingegaard won, nor the stage where he earned himself the yellow jersey. It was however the first stage where he started putting distance between himself and his main rival Tadej Pogačar. Tour debutant Jai Hindley had a day to remember, winning the mountainous Stage 5, and taking the yellow jersey, but Vingegaard dropped Pogačar decisively, putting more than a minute into the UAE Team Emirates rider by the finish.

Vingegaard chose the Reserve 34|37 this day with DT Swiss 180 hubs, and the reasons are relatively obvious. The course was mountainous and Vingegaard was looking for the lightest wheelset in the lineup, the wheelset which he could not only bring up to speed the quickest if Pogačar decided to launch an attack, but also the easiest to turn over in the last 20 kilometers on the steep gradients of the Col de Marie-Blanque.

Stage 6 Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque

Wheelset: Reserve 34|37 Tubeless

Like Stage 5, Stage 6 wasn’t a day where where Vingegaard won the stage, but it was nonetheless a pivotal day in the Tour overall. After an aggressive day of racing by the entire Jumbo-Visma team, Vingegaard succeeded in distancing himself from all of the rivals bar Tadej Pogačar, who gapped the Dane at the very end to win the stage. 

Jumbo rode the climbs aggressively and attacked towards the top of the Tourmalet, swiftly dropping the yellow jersey wearer Jai Hindley, which left just Vingegaard and Pogačar as the only GC riders out front. However, after Vingegaard set the tempo for a few kilometers, the Slovenian launched a stinging counter-attack and put 28 seconds, including bonuses, into Vingegaard.

Vingegaard again decided to ride the Reserve 34|37 this day, the same version with DT Swiss 180 hubs. Again, the reasons are relatively obvious. The course was mountainous and Vingegaard was looking for the lightest wheelset in the lineup. Yes, Pogačar dropped Vingegaard in the end, taking the lead down to 25 seconds, but this was also Vingegaard’s first day in yellow as Hindley fell back and moved down the rankings. 

Stage 14 Annemasse to Morzine

Wheelset: Reserve 34|37 Tubeless 

In this hotly-anticipated mountain battle between Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar, the winner was a rider nobody expected: Carlos Rodríguez. Dropped on the final climb of the Col de Joux Plane, Rodríguez actually caught up and pushed on alone to claim a stage win in his debut Tour. Victory in Morzine catapulted Rodríguez into third in the GC by just one second over Jai Hindley, but Vingegaard also added one second to his lead over Pogačar in the fight for the overall Tour. 

This was another hilly stage, and everyone knew it would set up for a remarkable duel between the two best GC riders. And it did not disappoint. Pogačar launched one of his signature attacks with 3.5 kilometers to the summit and opened up a gap. Vingegaard clawed his way back to his rival’s wheel and set up a track sprint for the bonus seconds on offer at the top of the climb.

Helping the claw back were the Reserve 34|37 wheels. Again, the lightest climbing wheelset Reserve makes helped Vingegaard follow the attacks on the steepest gradients and overall ease his efforts turning over the pedals. 

Stage 16 Passy to Combloux

Wheelset: Reserve 77|Infinity Disc

The individual time victory at Combloux marked Vingegaard's first and only win at this year's Tour de France, and this stage also put him in the driver’s seat to win his second Tour de France title. Not only did he beat Pogačar by one minute and 38 seconds, but the Vingegaard was the only rider to average in excess of 40 kilometers per hour around the 22.4 kilometer Alpine course. The Team Jumbo-Visma rider went into Stage 16 with a GC advantage of just 10 seconds, but walked away with an almost two minute advantage. It was an incredible day, prompting Tour de France commentators to say, “It’s obvious that Jumbo-Visma has the best equipment in the peloton.”

Individual time trials are an interesting subset of road racing. As the name suggests, each rider is literally out on their own, so it’s a pure exhibit of individual strength and prowess. This stage was a little different in that it was somewhat hilly, prompting some teams to switch from pure TT bikes to climbing bikes mid-race. Team Jumbo-Visma and Vingegaard, on the other hand, rode Cervelo P5s equipped with Reserve 77|Infinity Disc for the entire stage. 

A wheelset like 77|Disc is designed specifically for an event like an individual time trial, where bringing the wheels up to speed and maintaining that speed over a relatively short distance is the name of the game. In general, the deeper the wheel section is, the better the overall aerodynamics; the potential disadvantage is the increase in overall weight of the wheel. But as Vingegaard proved in Stage 16, when you have the horsepower, the advantage is that it’s easier to keep the heavier wheels rolling.

Stage 17 Saint Gervais to Courcheval

Wheelset: Reserve 34|37 Tubeless

Stage 17 was quite the day for Jonas Vingegaard. Felix Gall actually won the stage, but Vingegaard’s rival Tadej Pogačar cracked on the slopes of the final climb. Vingegaard increased his lead by over 7 minutes in the fight for overall victory, extinguishing any hope Pogačar may have had of wearing the yellow jersey in Paris. 

Like the other stages where Vingegaard rode the 34|37 tubeless Reserve wheels, this 165 kilometer stage was filled with steep ascents, especially the final climb up to the Col de la Loze before descending into Courcheval. The expectation on this day was that Pogačar would launch one of his signature attacks in a final effort to nab back the yellow jersey. Vingegaard was looking for the lightest wheels in the lineup, the wheelset which he could not only bring up to speed the quickest to counter such an attack.

Stage 21 Saint Quentin-En-Yvelines to Paris 

Wheelset: Reserve 40|44 Tubeless

The final stage of the tour, by tradition, is normally a parade lap for the rider who ends Stage 20 in yellow. It’s also a stage that is left for the sprinters, as the peloton laps the cobbles around the Champs-Elysees building up to a final dash for the line. 

Like the earlier stages on the tour where a sprint finish was expected, Vingegaard chose the Reserve 40|44s. This wheelset is general is deep enough to provide good aerodynamics, shallow enough to be relatively lightweight, and generally a good wheelset for quick accelerations when the peloton put in one of its patented surges. 

Vingegaard on this day was able to drink champagne, sit in with his team, and finish the tour with a repeat victory. It was truly awe-inspiring to see such an incredible rider and team dominate this year’s tour, and being the first time Reserve competed in the tour, an unbelievable achievement for our brand and our wheels. After winning the Giro d’Italia earlier in the year, and now the Tour, the only thing left is a potential victory at the third big race of the year, the Vuelta a Espana. We look forward to it.

Note: Being a smaller, lighter weight rider, Vingegaard did not use some of the deeper section wheels like the Reserve 52|63, which bigger Team JV riders like Wout van Aert used on all of the less hilly stages.

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