Got your head around that title? I havent quite, so let’s go over what this is about. As in tune with my work-in-progress Grand Tour Stages project, one of its many, many aims is to try and count what bicycles stage winners in Grand Tours used, and thus which has the most wins in history etc. I’ve now got through 63% of all the stages in history (there’s over 5000, and this requires lots and lots and lots of research, delving through photos, foreign articles etc to try and determine what bikes teams where using),but I have completed all of those since 1990, a year notable for being 25 years ago (in terms of grand tours, given 2016’s havent happened yet…) and for being the year of my birth. Hurrah!
So, what is this about? It’s about counting all the wins aboard bicycle brands across the last 25 years, and telling you which is has the most wins. Obviously, this is a count only of stage wins in the three Grand Tours (The Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana if you need reminding). Only the brand is noted – I do not have the time to do this, let alone note the model of bike, if that was even possible.
There are of course various issues with bikes – people use re badged machines, and some companies churn out bicycles that appear under different brands. To avoid confusion, I’ve just used whatever the team was meant to be using, so there are no Litespeeds under Lance Armstrong etc. On the subject of Le Texan, stages are only reawarded if it has been done officially, so those desperate to see Big Tex relegated out of history will be disappointed.
I fully expect to have made some glaring errors, so please, let me know if you spot anything obvious. Firstly though, lets get going with a few stats, because everyone likes those.
Since 1990 there have been 78 grand tours, with a total of 1,668 stages run (although 6 stages were either annulled or cancelled).
A total of 69 different bicycle manufacturers have won stages in that time, of which 10 have won 1 or more stages. 36 manufacturers have won 10 or more stages, and a special 4 have won 100 or more.
The highest number of stages won by one manufacturer in a year is 22, by Pinarello in 2003. This is the equivalent of winning the entirety of one of the three Grand Tours.
The majority of the names you would expect are on this list, although perhaps not in the order you might expect. For the records, and in alphabetical order, the 69 manufacturers to have won stages are:
Alan, Basso, Batavus, Battaglin, Benotto, BH, Bianchi, BMC, Bottecchia, Caloi, Cannondale, Canyon, Carrera, Cervelo, Colnago, Concorde, Conti, Coppi, Daccordi, De Rosa, Decathalon, Eddy Merckx, Fanini, Felt, Focus, Fondriest, Fuji, Gazelle, Giant, Gios, Gitane, GT, Guerciotti, Guimard, Koga, Kuips, Kuota, Lapierre, LeMond, Litespeed, Look, Macario, MBK, MCipollini, Merida, Moser, Ocana, Olmo, Orbea, Otero, Panasonic, Peugeot, Pinarello, Principia, Raleigh, Razesa, Ridley, Rossin, Scott, Specialized, Spiuk, Time, Trek, Villiger, Viner, Vitus, Wilier, Zeus & Zullo
By Grand Tour…
Tour de France
48 different winning manufacturers across 545 stages
6 have won one stage only, 13 are on double figures, and two have over fifty stages to their name.
52 different manufacturers for 553 stages
11 on only one stage win, 18 on double figures, and two on more than fifty.
Vuelta a Espana
52 different manufacturers for 552 stages
6 have won just a single stage, 17 have ten or more, and again, two have over 50.
The Top 25 Grand Tour stage winning bike manufacturers since 1990
NB: the list of teams is not exhaustive, only the key ones, and the highest contributor is based on my own, quite rough, calculation. They have some information, a list of where in this 25 they come in terms of each individual Grand Tour, a graph of their wins over the 25 years, and so so-so bumph where I try to drone one about some poorly written history. Enjoy!
25. Concorde (18 wins)
Year Established: ?
Teams who’ve used them: PDM-Concorde (1990-92)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Erik Breukink, Jean-Paul Van Poppel, Uwe Raab
Biggest contributor: Jean-Paul Van Poppel (7 wins)
Best year: 1990 (7 wins)
Giro: 0 (25th)
Tour: 5 (22nd=)
Vuelta: 13 (10th)
Alas, not the brilliant combination of British and French aerospace engineering, but a Dutch manufacturer no one seems to know anything about. Still, the sponsored PDM with enough cash to be co-sponsor, so they must have had some dough.
Jean Paul Van Poppel, father of Danny, now also a Grand Tour stage winner (albeit on a Trek), was the main contributor of wins for the Dutch outfit and Concorde.
However, just as everyone seems to know nothing of their past, they don’t look to have a future either. Still, they just scrape into this list.
24. Lapierre (19 wins)
Teams who’ve used them: Francais deux Jeus (2002-)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Bradley McGee, Nacer Bouhanni, Baden Cooke, Sandy Casar, Pierrick Fedrigo, Thibaut Pinot.
Biggest contributor: Bradley McGee (3 wins)
Best year: 2014 (5 wins)
Giro: 4 (20th)
Tour: 9 (14th)
Vuelta: 6 (20th=)
FDJ, as they are now known, have, like their sponsor, been extremely loyal to their bike manufacturer, as 2016 will bring up their 15th straight year on Lapierre bikes. In that time, FDJ haven’t been especially succesful, but considering their budget, it’s not a surprise (I’m sure Marc Madiot would offer “peloton à deux vitesses” into the mix as an explanation as well.)
Whilst once crown jewel Philippe Gilbert never won any grand tour stages for FDJ, there have been a solid collection of strong riders who have nabbed wins for the outfit along the way. Lapierre’s were under the likes of Bradley McGee when he flirted with being a GC contender, Baden Cooke when he defeated Robbie McEwen to win green on the Champs Elysees (even if Jean Patrick Nazon actually won the stage) and more recently under Nacer Bouhanni before Madiot decided Arnaud Demare was a better sprinter (as of February 2016, not a wise move).
More happily, Lapierre have also now won on the Alpe d’Huez thanks to Thibaut Pinot, who also managed to get a Lapierre onto the podium of his nations greatest race in 2014 – the first French manufacturer since 2005 to get a pike under any jersey winners or podium finishers at the Tour (the last being Look in 2005, as Credit Agricole’s Thor Hushovd won green.) Will they be the first French brand to get onto the top step of the podium since…er…*Scans record books* 1986 ( I think?), when Greg Lemond won on, a, er, Hinault bike apparently, which was presumably actually a Look like the team usually used.
23. Gazelle (21 wins)
Year Established: 1892/1902 (Gazelle name first used)
Teams who’ve used them: TVM (1993-99)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Jeroen Blijlevens, Bart Viskamp, Jesper Skibby, Bo Hamburger
Biggest contributor: Jeroen Blijlevens (10 wins)
Best year: 1998 & 1999 (4 wins)
Giro: 3 (21st=)
Tour: 7 (18th)
Vuelta: 11 (13th=)
Awarded a Royal Title by Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, where Gazelle are from, Gazelle sponsored TVM, one of the big Dutch teams of the nineties, with Jeroen Blijlevens the main resource for their wins, as they sponsored the TVM team.
Blijlevens won stages mainly in the Vuelta and the Tour, but also triumphed in the Giro, although TVM had a rather low win rate.
Gazelle now seem to have abandoned racing bikes in favour of the sit up and beg variety favoured by the Dutch for commuting, and will now be in their 16th year without a win. Probably never going to increase if we’re honest.
22. Orbea (22 wins)
Year Established: 1840 (first made bikes in 1930s)
Teams who’ve used them: Euskatel-Euskadi (2000-13), Kelme (2006), Fundacion Galicia (2006-10), Cofidis (2015-)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Samuel Sanchez, Iban Mayo, Roberto Laiseka, Igor Anton
Biggest contributor: Samuel Sanchez (6 wins)
Best year: 2007 & 2011 (4 wins)
Giro: 3 (21st=)
Tour: 3 (25th)
Vuelta: 16 (8th)
Alpe d’Huez, The Zoncolan, Luz Ardiden (twice), Andorra Vallnord. These are all mountains that Orbea, in tow with Euskatel Euskadi, have conquered. A throwback team in a way, essentially a regional squad in that they are only from the Basque country (unless you rode for their feeder team), Euskatel did really rather well to get themselves on this list. Sure, as the graph shows, most of that has been at the Vuelta, but can you blame them?
Globalisation through the WorldTour led them to actually have to bother in races outside Spain, and there attendance at the Giro brought stage wins, as did Samuel Sanchez at the Tour, winning a stage as well as getting bumped up to the podium in 2010 when both Alberto Contador and later Denis Menchov were DQed. A king of the mountains jersey, as well as an Olympic Gold, helped Sanchez elevate Orbea to a famed brand.
The death of Euskatel and the supposed rescue by Fernando Alonso looked to have ended Orbea’s chances of winning much again, much they have been rescued by…er, Cofidis. But Cofidis do have Nacer Bouhanni, who will surely pick up stages at some point in the future.
20= BMC (23 wins)
Year Established: 1986
Teams who’ve used them: Phonak (2001-2006), Astana (2007), BMC (2007-)
Famed riders whose won on them: Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert, Alexander Vinokourov, Greg Van Avermaet, Taylor Phinney, Floyd Landis (albeit DQed), Paolo Savoldelli, Oscar Pereiro
Biggest contributor: Philippe Gilbert (5 wins)
Best year: 2015 (7 wins)
Giro: 7 (17th=)
Tour: 5 (22nd=)
Vuelta: 11 (13th=)
BMC have had an affinity with teams with a Swiss connection, as befits their roots, hence why they sponsored the Swiss registered Phonak, Astana in the one year they were Swiss registered, and the Andy Rihs (who is Swiss) sponsored, US owned BMC team, of course. Odd then, that of the eight Swiss riders who have ever won Grand Tour stages, none have done so for BMC (only one,Johann Tschopp, has ridden for the team as well.)
For a team with a famous thirst for world champions and “galacticos”, there stage win numbers have been quite poor. Phonak’s can be taken with a pinch of salt, given the number of positives that emerged from that team, and it only really kicked off last year, when the team took seven stage wins across all three Grand Tours.
Philippe Gilbert has been their biggest contributor of wins, and having also been the one wearer of the rainbow jersey to have actually won the race on a BMC (Cadel Evans won on a Canyon, and Thor Hushovd on a Cervelo), is probably a favourite child in the BMC household. The majority of both his and BMC’s wins have come in the Vuelta however, when surely the Tour, where they have the lowest number of wins, would be their favoured hunting ground.
20= Time (23 wins)
Year Established: 1987
Teams who’ve used them: QuickStep (2003-2006), Cofidis (2007-08), Bougues Telecom (2000-2009)
Famed riders whose won on them: Tom Boonen, Paolo Bettini, Richard Virenque, Sylvain Chavanel, David Moncoutie, Pierrick Fedrigo, Thomas Voeckler
Biggest contributor: Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini(4 wins each)
Best year: 2006 (5 wins)
Giro: 3 (21st=)
Tour: 14 (13th)
Vuelta: 6 (20th=)
French manufacturer time are more known for their pedals these days, having partially supplanted Look in the early nineties, but in the mid noughties they landed a whopper in the form of the Quick Step team, who they sponsored from 2003 to 2006 to ride their rather sleek looking bicycles. They had already been sponsoring Bougues Telecom, who had seen their bikes get publicity thanks to Thomas Voeckler’s Tour de France heroics in 2004, but the team didn’t actually win a stage until 2006 (and that was Fedrigo, not Voeckler).
QuickStep, on the other hand, won lots, although admittedly, the majority wasnt in the grand tours. The Tour of Flanders (Boonen in 2005 and 2006), Paris Roubaix (Boonen in 2005), Milan San Remo (Bettini in 2003, Pozzato in 2006), the Tour of Lombardy (Bettini in 2005 and 2006), the World Road Race Championships (Boonen 2005, Bettini 2006), the World Time Trial championships (Michael Rogers 2003-05) and the Olympic Road Race (Bettini 2004) all fell to Time bicycles, although obviously it was the calibre of the riders that made that possible.
At the Grand Tour level, things were more serene. Tom Boonen was the best sprinter at the Tour de France for a couple of years, although he didn’t win Green until he was on a Specialized, and Bettini managed to poach wins at the Vuelta and the Giro, as did many other riders at the ever punchy QuickStep. However, once Bougues Telecom moved to Colnago and Europcar in 2010, Time vanished from the peloton, and don’t even advertise any sponorships on their website. The 5 year drought of wins thus looks near certain to extend into the second half of a decade.
19. Peugeot (24 wins)
Year Established: 1810
Teams who’ve used them: Festina (1995-99)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Richard Virenque, Laurent Dufaux, Laurent Brochard, Marcel Wust, Alex Zulle
Biggest contributor: Marcel Wust (10 wins)
Best year: 1996 (8 wins)
Giro: 5 (19th)
Tour: 7 (18th=)
Vuelta: 12 (11th)
Probably the oldest brand on this list, Peugeot are nowdays more famous for their cars, the 206 et all, but in the nineties, they’re bicycle manufacturing was still going strong, and as a French company, they decided to sponsor the succesful Festina team. What could go wrong?
Well, 1998 happened, and with a scandal named after the team you’re sponsoring, Peugeot decided to call it a day the year after. They do still seem to be making bicycles, which given they started life making them and coffee mills rather than cars, is probabl a nostalgic historical thing.
Still, when Richard Virenque wasnt sobbing over his Peugeot, Marcel Wust, who has been criminally dropped from ProCycling magazine (bring him back!), was racking up stages in all three Grand Tours. Sadly, with Festina, Peugeot disappeared from the sport, and are unlikely to be seen again.
17= Moser (27 wins)
Year Established: ?
Teams who’ve used them: Polti (1990-91), Cantina Tollo (1996-97), Saeco (1996)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Gianni Bugno, Danilo Di Luca, Fillipo Simeoni
Biggest contributor: Gianno Bugno (9 wins)
Best year: 1996 (7 wins)
Giro: 19 (9th)
Tour: 4 (24th)
Vuelta: 4 (23rd)
Another rider who decided to make their own frames, Mosers where ridden for never more than a couple of years by any team. They did however have the luck to have Gianni Bugno ride for them, and he notched up a series of Giro successes.
Moser also had the poignant luck to have Fillippo Simeoni pay tribute to the victims of the September 11th Terrorist attacks by walking his bike across the line aloft in the air.
17= Battaglin (27 wins)
Year Established: 1981
Teams who’ve used them: Ceramica Panaria (2000-04), Refin Mobilvetta (1995-97), Carrera Jeans (1991-93)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Emmanuele Sella, Djamolodine Abdoujaparov, Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio, Guido Bontempi, Claudio Chiappucci
Biggest contributor: Djamolodine Abdoujaparov (7 wins)
Best year: 1992 (9 wins)
Giro: 12 (13th)
Tour: 9 (14th=)
Vuelta: 6 (20th=)
After its namesake won the Giro and Vuelta in 1981, he decided he would fancy to make some bicycles. Battaglin was born, and were mainly under teams I wont pretend to know much about. Perennial crowd pleasers such as Chiappucci and Abdoujaparov won aboard Battaglins, and as the graph shows, that was pretty much it, with not alot happenning since 1993.
Oh well. Perhaps now that Enrico Battaglin is riding in the peloton, he can convince his team (currently LottoNL) to get on Papa Giovanni’s bikes?
14= De Rosa (32 wins)
Year Established: 1953
Teams who’ve used them: Acqua & Sapone (2006-09), LPR Brakes (2008-09), Alessio (2000-03), Vini Caldirola (1999-2001), Gewiss-Ballan (1994, 1997), Ariostea (1990)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Moreno Argentin, Evgeni Berzin, Bjarne Riis, Nicola Minali, Alessandro Petacchi, Stefano Garzelli, Pavel Tonkov
Biggest contributor: Stefano Garzelli (6 wins)
Best year: 1994 (8 wins)
Giro: 22 (7th)
Tour: 7 (18th=)
Vuelta: 3 (24th=)
The hearts of Ugo de Rosa, in contrast with the clubs of Ernesto Colnago, have graced many a beautiful racing machine in recent years, although again, not many wins have transpired in recent years as Italian cycling nosedives.
De Rosa found more success in the 60s and 70s, although the nineties and ealy noughties saw success for their bikes, with Petacchi adding to his Giro toll on them, alongside riders such as Bjarne Riis getting their first taste of Grand Tour glory on them.
1994 was their big year though, as Gewiss-Ballan racked up wins at the Tour and the Giro, which they ultimately won with Berzin. Stefano Garzelli was the last man to win a stage on one, adding five wins in his stint at Acqua and Sapone – will another Giro champion turn the pedals of such a machine again?
14= Wilier (32 wins)
Year Established: 1906
Teams who’ve used them: Tenax (1995, 1998-2001), Mercatone Uno (1997), Gerolsteiner (2003-04), Cofidis (2005-06), Lampre (2006-12)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Daniele Bennati, Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Marco Pantani, David Moncoutie, Jimmy Casper
Biggest contributor: Alessandro Petacchi (4 wins)
Best year: 2007 (7 wins)
Giro: 13 (12th)
Tour: 9 (14th=)
Vuelta: 10 (17th)
Probably the last surprise winner of a Tour de France sprint stage, Jimmy Casper, poached his 2006 Tour stage win aboard a Wilier, the Italian brand whose name, as you may know, is an acronym that stands for W l’Italia liberata e redenta, ie “Long Live Italy, Liberated and Redeemed” (The W is a typical italian abbreviation for “Viva”). In other history lessons, the Triestina part comes from the fact Trieste was not part of Italy in 1906, and was not poached back from Slovenia after the first World War. Its inclusion in the name was basically a not very subtle attempt to claim it back to Italy.
But back to the present, or rather a few years previous, as Wilier follow a trend in Italian manufacturers in not having won anything in the last few years. They did however have a long and fruitful relationship with Lampre however, and benefited from Daniele Bennati’s talents before he moved to Liquigas. They also won the green jersey at the Tour with Alessandro Petacchi, who took a couple of stages at the 2010 Tour to wrap up his collection of points jerseys.
Wilier have at least tried to follow the aero bike trend, unlike compatriots Bianchi and Colnago (lets not count the V1-R), although its come up with some pretty unaesthetically pleasing models, which may explain why they haven’t recently got much sponsorship (Although the dearth of top Italian teams also explains that.) Still, tricky to seem them breaking away from fellow Italians De Rosa or not getting left behind by…
14= Canyon (32 wins)
Year Established: 2002
Teams who’ve used them: Unibet (2007-08), Movistar (2014-), Katusha (2012-), Omega Pharma Lotto (2009-11)
Famed riders whose won on them: Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez, Alexander Kristoff, Philippe Gilbert
Biggest contributor: Joaquim Rodriguez (9 wins)
Best year: 2014 (7 wins)
Giro: 11 (16th)
Tour: 7 (18th=)
Vuelta: 14 (9th)
For a manufacturer established only 14 years ago, Canyon have been supremely successful, indeed, even becoming victims of their own success as their much reported issues with distributing orders has shown. Originally under the ill-fated Unibet team, Canyon now have the honour of being one of only two manufacturers to sponsor multiple World Tour teams (the other being Specialized), Katusha and Movistar.
Whilst Alexander Kristoff might be the obvious go to man for headlining Canyon, it is actually Joaquim Rodriguez who has taken the most wins on them, and in each individual Grand Tour as well. Philippe Gilbert added wins during Omega Pharma Lotto’s spree on Canyons, but otherwise it is the mountain climbing forces over at Movistar that have been most useful, although Alejandro Valverde has only actually added two Vuelta stages in that time.
Still, with Kristoff seemingly ever stronger and likely benefiting from gran tour organisers apparent hatred of flat sprint stages, as well as Nairo Quintana getting ever stronger (he is still only 26), its difficult to see Canyon dropping off as the grizzled old Spaniards (not chums though) of Valverde and Rodriguez retire.
13. Ridley (35 wins)
Teams who’ve used them: Davitamon Lotto/Lotto-Soudal (2005-08, 2012-), Katusha (2009-10), Vacansoleil (2011)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Robbie McEwen, Andre Greipel, Greg Van Avermaet, Cadel Evans*, Joaquim Rodriguez, Filippo Pozzato
Biggest contributor: Robbie McEwen (14 wins)
Best year: 2005 & 2006 (6 wins)
Giro: 12 (13th=)
Tour: 20 (8th)
Vuelta: 3 (24th=)
Bar a brief affair with Canyon between 2009 and 2011, Ridley have been synonymous with the “Belgian Cycling Project” (as they now like to term their team) in Lotto-Soudal, and seem to be sticking with them for the long term. Robbie McEwen was the master of maneuvering a Ridley through the maelstrom of metal and fibres, both carbon and fast twitch, in the mid noughties, and chalked up 14 wins for the team and Ridley, when he wasn’t headbutting Stuart O’Grady or pulling wheelies up mountains of course.
When Lotto and Omega Pharma decided to go with Canyon (this was before Omega Pharma confused everyone by migrating to QuickStep, then beginning to use their products names, such as Etixx, again), McEwen remained on a Ridley at Katusha, but his speed had been blunted by age and crashes and so it feel to sprinter of the uphill variety, Joaquim Rodriguez, to keep Ridleys finishing first.
Lotto found another winning machine in the arguable antithesis of the small and punchy McEwen in the huge and powerful Andre Greipel, who has roared his way to the pinnacle of sprinting, delivering a Ridley to a first place in the Tour de France on each of the last five Tour de Frances. As this list should show, a good sprinter is key to building a brands win rate at the Tour de France, and so Ridley will be looking at the stagnant Merckx ahead of them with the confidence of quickly becoming Belgium’s premier cycle manufacturer.
12. Eddy Merckx (36 wins)
Teams who’ve used them: GAN (1995-98), Kelme (1990-93), Motorola (1990-94), Domo-Farm Frites (2001-02), Lotto [BEL] (2003-04), MTN-Qhubeka (2010-11), QuickStep (2010-11)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Stuart O’Grady, Magnus Backstedt, Phil Anderson, Lance Armstrong, Andy Hampsten, Richard Virenque, Robbie McEwen, Sylvain Chavanel, Wouter Weylandt
Biggest contributor: Robbie McEwen (3 wins)
Best year: 2010 (5 wins)
Giro: 7 (17th)
Tour: 18 (9th=)
Vuelta: 11 (13th)
Merckx have had a bit of an up and down history, and recent revelations about their time as the sponsor of QuickStep have been interesting to note. They signed a three year deal but only completed two, apparently unable to keep up with the demand due to their size. There were also rumblings that riders were unhappy with the equipment, not that it showed much – Sylvain Chavanel still rode to two wins and two yellow jerseys at the Tour, resulting in a dodgy half yellow/half green bike.
Still, Merckx have pretty much always sponsored a team, bar the last couple of years, and so have had the pleasure of winning under quite the range of riders. One of the wins still on Lance Armstrong’s record, in the 1994 Tour, was on a Merckx, and at the other end of the spectrum, the late Wouter Weylandt won his Giro stage aboard one of the contraptions. Sprinters like Robbie McEwen and Stuart O’Grady have also found success, whilst Richard Virenque won on the Ventoux.
Merckx seem to have rebranded away from being race machines however, to a semi-collectors edition style brand, which is why they seemingly don’t feature under any teams any more. Admittedly, they’re probably happy to trade on their name (despite the fact Merckx himself rode rebranded Colnagos and Pinarellos), which is more then enough as a marketing tool without the added headache of team sponsorship.
11. Coppi (40 wins)
Year Established: Late 1950s
Teams who’ve used them: Polti (1994-2000), MG Maglifico (1995-98), De Nardi (2003-04), Alexia Alluminio (2002)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Djamolodine Abdoujaparov, Gianni Bugno, Richard Virenque, Davide Rebellin, Luc Leblanc, Guiseppe Guerini, Pascal Richard, Serhi Honchar
Biggest contributor: Djamolodine Abdoujaparov, Serhij Usakov, Pascal Richard, Fabio Baldato , Gianni Bugno(3 wins each)
Best year: 1996 (12 wins)
Giro: 24 (6th)
Tour: 9 (14th=)
Vuelta: 7 (19th)
Fausto Coppi needs little introduction to cycling afficionados, although I personally didn’t know he had a bike range. Quite who makes them is a bit up in the air (Fiorelli?) and I get the impression they were this brand rebadged, but they were pretty successful none the less. Paolo Savoldelli won the Giro on one in 2002, and a range of riders (Admittedly not ones with the greatest chemical histories…) have won on their bikes.
The interesting thing is that they never really seem to have had one rider who took loads of wins, but lots who took two or three. Serhi Honchar took two wins at the Giro in 2003 and 2004 for instance, whilst Richard Virenque poached mountain stages and Abdoujaparov won the sprints. As such, they could lay a good claim to being one of the more varied winning brands.
Still, they appear to have vanished in the last 10 years, so the only way they look to be moving on this list is downwards.
10. Cervelo (49 wins)
Year Established: 1995
Teams who’ve used them: CSC (2003-08), Cervelo Test Team (2009-10), Garmin-Cervelo (2011-14), MTN Qhubeka/Dimenson Data (2015-)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Ivan Basso, Carlos Sastre, Frank Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Thor Hushovd, Simon Gerrans, Heinrich Haussler, Dan Martin, David Millar, Tyler Farrar, Ryder Hesjedal
Biggest contributor: Ivan Basso (6 wins)
Best year: 2006 & 2009 (8 wins each)
Giro: 16 (10th)
Tour: 24 (7th)
Vuelta: 9 (18th)
For a company a mere 20 years old, Cervelo have done pretty well for themselves – they’ve won at least one Tour de France stage every year since their 2003 debut, and have had some pretty impressive names upon their steeds, with Mark Cavendish to come to, they no doubt hope, add that 50th in to their palmares.
Cervelo was the first of the current generation of bike manufacturers to kick off the “sponsor your own team” revolution, since joined by BMC, Trek, Cannondale etc, with the promise to use their squad as a development opportunity, whilst selling bikes in a menacingly cool black and red kit that doubled as the first skin tight jersey a team had worn. They were amply rewarded in 2009, where they won four stages at the Giro, two at the Tour and two at the Vuelta thanks to messrs Gerrans, Sastre, Hushovd, Konovalovos, Haussler and Deignan.
And ill advised and tension filled merge with Jonathan Vaughters was successful at the Tour, but the wins slipped after that as the controversial American’s team became the sole user of the Canadian machines. When MTN Qhubeka began using them, it looked unlikely the team would pick up any wins given their wild card status, but Steve Cummings kept up the team’s Tour de France run, and Kristian Sbaragli added to it at the Vuelta to ensure that 2004 was the only year the brand hadn’t won less than 2 stages.
8= Trek (60 wins)
Year Established: 1976
Teams who’ve used them: US Postal/Discovery Channel (1998-2007), Astana (2008-09) Team Radioshack (2010-11), Leopard-Trek/Trek Factory Racing (2011-)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, Levi Leipheimer, Andy Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Chris Horner
Biggest contributor: Lance Armstrong (20 wins)
Best year: 2004 (8 wins)
Giro: 3 (21st=)
Tour: 35 (4th)
Vuelta: 22 (5th)
The mighty Trek, try as they might, are synonymous with Lance Armstrong. The man who has taken a third of their wins in this period has provided the name of their signature model, the Madone, and they have to thank him for a period of unparalleled growth and exposure.
Being the main supplier of US Postal and subsequently Discovery Channel, the team where of course focused on the Tour de France, and this shows in the graph breaking down their wins. Post Armstrong, the wins slowed in comparison to those heady years, but the manufacturer have always managed at least one each year, even with an ageing Radioshack squad to prop them up.
Aided by publicity built by the Leopard Trek team (who insisted on being called LEOPARD TREK by the press) and Jens Voigt (who didn’t win a stage on the Wisconsin machines), Trek have now begun to rebuild their winning run, with old hands like Cancellara and young guns like Nizzolo to build them back towards the big time.
8= Scott (60 wins)
Year Established: 1958
Teams who’ve used them: Columbia-HTC/HighRoad (2009-10), Saunier Duval (2004-08) , Orica-GreenEDGE (2012-), IAM Cycling (2013-)
Famed riders whose won on them: Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Edvald Boassen Hagen, Simon Gerrans, Caleb Ewan, David Millar
Biggest contributor: Mark Cavendish (17 wins)
Best year: 2009 (17 wins)
Giro: 22 (7th=)
Tour: 16 (11th=)
Vuelta: 22 (5th=)
Scott probably thought they would do reasonable business when they signed up to replace Giant as the sponsor of Columbia-High Road. Sure, they had seen Mark Cavendish take six stage wins the year before, but they probably never dreamed of the two years of success they enjoyed with HTC-Columbia.
Mark Cavendish was obviously the driver of that success, but everyone from Andre Greipel, Greg Henderson, Peter Velits, Matthew Goss, Edvald Boassen Hagen and Konstanstin Siutsou all won stages to help Scott along. Whilst they did drop to zero wins when HTC moved to Specialized in 2011, there attachment to Orica-GreenEdge has seen growth in there win base once again, even if IAM Cycling were a bit embarrasing in being the only WorldTour team to not win a grand tour stage in 2014 or 2015.
Perhaps they will be disappointed if the numbers dont increase this year. Caleb Ewan will probably be dropped into the Grand Tours again, and Michael Matthews, who used to have ding dong battles with Peter Sagan at Under 23 level, will hope to at least be up their with his own adversary.
6= Giant (64 wins)
Year Established: 1972
Teams who’ve used them: T-Mobile (2004-2008), ONCE/Liberty Seguros (1998-2004), Rabobank (2009-13), Giant-Alpecin (2014-)
Famed riders whose won on them: Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Joaquim Rodriguez, John Degenkolb, Abraham Olano, Laurent Jalabert, Andre Greipel
Biggest contributor: Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel (6 wins each)
Best year: 2014 (11 wins)
Giro: 16 (10th=)
Tour: 26 (6th)
Vuelta: 22 (5th)
Giant reaped the benefits of jumping on the (supposedly) sinking Argos-Shimano ship to become Giant-Shimano (later Giant-Alpecin) when they found they had Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb, two of the premier young talents in cycling, at their disposal. Even better, a cacophony of strong young time trial types meant they had an exceedingly powerful leadout to deliver their Teutonic twins to triumph. The wins rolled in, although remember this wasn’t until 2014- Kittel’s previous run of wins had been aboard a Felt, who sadly do not make this list.
Whilst Giant loom large in the immediate memory, they have form in the past as the supplier for the T-Mobile team during their period of change and renewal, from their 2004 super squad showcasing Ullrich, Zabel, Vinokourov, Kloden and Cadel Evans amongst others, to the bright young things of their Team HighRoad/Columbia rebirth with Andre Greipel, Mark Cavendish, Gerald Ciolek, Edvald Boassen Hagen, Tony Martin and more, Following the trend of how galacticos usually go in sport, it was the latter set up that brought more wins for Giant.
Some time under ONCE also have them a good boost up the rankings, although Jalabert wasn’t as prolific as he had been, and Rabobank’s squad was more built for classics and Grand Tours than grand tour stages, although they did have the honour of winning on the Ventoux in the 2009 Tour through Juan Manuel Garate. The recent crash involving Giant Alpecin, as well as Kittel’s defection to Etixx and Specialized after a lingering fall out over his none selection for the 2015 Tour, suggests it will be the Vuelta, traditionally a happy hunting ground, where Giant will have the form and riders to pick up more wins.
6= Bianchi (64 wins)
Year Established: 1885
Teams who’ve used them: Barloworld (2008-09), Mercatone Uno (1998-2001), GB-MG Maglifico (1992-1994), Liquigas (2005-06), Androni-Giocattoli (2011-14), Belkin/LottoNL-Jumbo (2014-), Bianchi (2003)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Marco Pantani, Mario Cipollini, Lars Boom, Fabio Baldato, Luca Paolini, Jan Ullrich
Biggest contributor: Marco Pantani (10 wins)
Best year: 1992 (11 wins)
Giro: 37 (4th)
Tour: 16 (11th=)
Vuelta: 11 (13th)
Bianchi are one of the old guard of the bicycle manufacturers, created 18 years before the Tour de France even existed, and I can tell you, from the other 100 odd years I’ve looked at, they’re one of the most winning manufacturers of all time. In the last 25 years though, they’ve been in a state of decline, with fallow periods between 2007 and 2010.
There best years were the 90s, where they had a youthful Mario Cipollini in the first few years, but it was the another Italian following in the classic Bianchi mould of Fausto Coppi’s tragic heroism, Marco Pantani, who racked up the most wins for the brand, including wins at Montecampione, Plateau de Beille, Les Deux Alpes and Mont Ventoux.
Recently though, they have been somewhat nomadic in who they sponsor, with no real association to any team for a significant period. They now sponsor LottoNL in what is a peculiar deal, with their celeste frames clashing horribly with the custard yellow the Dutch team have chosen to go with. With no sprinter or real top GC man on the team, there win rate has been two wins in the last six grand tours, so don’t expect to see them nipping at Cannondale’s heals.
5. Cannondale (81 wins)
Year Established: 1971
Teams who’ve used them: Saeco (1997-2004), Lampre (2005), Liquigas/Cannondale (2007-2014), Cannondale-Garmin (2015-)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Mario Cipollini, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali
Biggest contributor: Mario Cipollini (26 wins)
Best year: 2002 (11 wins)
Giro: 51 (2nd)
Tour: 18 (9th)
Vuelta: 12 (11th)
Cannondale are a peculiar breed – an American brand, founded in the 70s alongside Specialized, who have found the vast majority of their success under Italian riders in those riders home race, the Giro. In fact, it is only since Cannondale attached themselves to Jonathan Vaughters’ motley crew that they have sponsored an American team, as their previous squads had been exclusively Italian.
Trivia questions in future years will record that a youthful Peter Sagan recorded his first Grand Tour stage win aboard a Cannondale, even if his win record will doubtlessly be overshadowed by Super Mario himself, Mario Cipollini, who was a perfect match for Cannondale’s more exuberant marketing attempts.
For their superlight steeds led to all sorts of gimmicks, from the “Legalise my Cannondale” prisoners jerseys worn to victory in the Giro by Damiano Cunego, and all sorts of jersey matching paintjob monstrosities for Cipollini, including his infamous all yellow ensemble at the Tour. Cannondale thus gained a slightly rebellious aura in the peloton, something lost slightly when they began sponsoring Liquigas, although they did have Danilo “The Killer” Di Luca, and of later on a certain Slovakian, to spice things up a bit.
4. Look (101 wins)
Year Established: 1951
Teams who’ve used them: ONCE (1990-1997), Credit Agricole (1998-2008), Festina-Lotus (1994), Cofidis (2009-14), Kelme (2000-05), Gewiss-Ballan (2000-01)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Marino Lejarreta, Laurent Jalabert, Johan Bruyneel, Alex Zulle, Chris Boardman, Jens Voigt, Magnus Backstedt, Thor Hushovd, Simon Gerrans, David Moncoutie
Biggest contributor: Laurent Jalabert (20 wins)
Best year: 1994 (11 wins)
Giro: 12 (13th=)
Tour: 29 (5th)
Vuelta: 60 (2nd=)
Personally, thinking of Look reminds me of Thor Hushovd in the green and white of Credit Agricole stomping all over the sprints, as well as suave adverts where for some reason he was walking a black panther. But Hushovd was a rider or the noughties, and Look are arguably more of a team of the nineties, where they were under Manolo Saiz’s ONCE team.
The figurehead of that team, or at least its most winning rider, was Laurent Jalabert, the sprinter turner Vuelta-winning climber who apparently has no qualms about accusing Chris Froome of doping when the French Senate had revealed he was one of the many EPO cases at the 1998 Tour. But Jalabert was a stage winning machine, winning 7 stages of the Vuelta on this way to 75th overall in 1994 before taking only a measly 5 on his way to overall victory the following year.
If you remove some of the more interesting, shall we say, names on the Look roster, they have a very classy and wide spread of talent who have triumphed upon their steeds. David Moncoutie is an unsung hero of cycling, and was one of the last riders to win them a stage for Cofidis. Sadly though, the sculpted French machines have been substituted for Orbea at Cofidis, and so 2016 will mark another year without their presence in the peloton.
3. Specialized (105 wins)
Year Established: 1974
Teams who’ve used them: Astana (2010-), SaxoBank/Tinkoff (2009-), QuickStep (2007-09, 2012-), Gerolsteiner (2005-08), Domina Vacanze (2002-04)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Alberto Contador, Mario Cipollini, Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish, Andy Schleck, Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali, Paolo Bettini
Biggest contributor: Mario Cipollini (11 wins)
Best year: 2014 (19 wins)
Giro: 34 (5th)
Tour: 41 (3rd)
Vuelta: 30 (4th)
As Specialized’s graph suggests, they seem to be getting ever more wins each year, with a tremendous rate of growth which peaked in a year where they won 19 stages in 2014. This has of course been tremendously helped by the fact that they sponsor not one, not even two, but three World Tour teams, and those teams are the creme de la creme – Astana, Tinkoff and Etixx. Really, with that line up, they should be winning more.
The line up they’ve had on their bikes is perhaps the reason why they’ve been so succesful, although whether this was because Specialized put their bikes under these riders, or riders joined teams to ride Specialized is unclear (probably the former). Names that will be in the top echelons of cycling history, your Cipollini, Cavendish, Contador, Cancellara and Boonen all won stages on Specialized, and of course the brand has set about taking a great number of wins in other events as well.
Between 2008 and 2012, only 3 out of 15 editions of the Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix and Liege Bastonge Liege were not won by a Specialized, whilst Vincenzo Nibali’s triumph in the Tour of Lombardy in 2015 gave the Americans a clean sweep of the monuments. 4 of the last 6 Grand Tours are won on the Special S, as have the last two World Championships. Just where is there left to go for them?! Well, there’s two places ahead…
2. Colnago (173 wins)
Year Established: 1952
Teams who’ve used them: Rabobank (1990-2007), Tinkoff Credit Systems (2007-08), Bougues Telecom/Europcar (2010-15), Casino-AG2R (1997-99), Milram (2006-08), Ceramica Panaria/CSF (2005-12), Mapei (1994-2002)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Oscar Freire, Erik Zabel, Alessandro Petacchi, Thomas Voeckler, Paolo Bettini, Tom Steels, Frank Vandenbrouke, Jan Svorada
Biggest contributor: Oscar Freire and Tom Steels (11 wins)* Probably someone else, but there’s quite a lot…
Best year: 1993 (19 wins)
Giro: 47 (3rd)
Tour: 66 (2nd)
Vuelta: 60 (2nd=)
Are Colnago a spent force? An odd question to ask of a manufacturer whose name makes grown men weak at the knees, and who are the second highest winner of grand tour stages in the last 25 years. But then we must consider that in the last 3 seasons, not one win has been recorded on a Colnago in a grand Tour…perhaps this is due, in part to its attachment to its history, so that in a world of aerodynamics and low weight, Colnago have stubbornly stayed with the concept of great rides and comfort.
However, Colnago plays up to its heritage, and some heritage it has. Even in the nineties and noughties, the brand has managed an impressively equal spread of victories across the three grand tours on all sorts of terrain, whether it be in the sprints with Oscar Freire and the mountains with Denis Menchov. Speaking of Rabobank riders, Colnago had their longest affiliation in this period with the Dutch team, which is now probably not looked on so fondly due to certain revelations, but hey.
But still, despite the history, it will be the three year fallow period that worries Colnago the most. With no WorldTour teams using their bikes this year, it looks likely this run will extend to four years – a sad footnote on a very successful period for the Italians. From the iconic C40 under Mapei through to to the C60 under Europcar, Colnago have had great success. It would be a shame to not see them achieve it elsewhere.
Pinarello (204 wins)
Year Established: 1952
Teams who’ve used them: Movistar (1990-2003, 2006-2013), Telekom (1996-2003), Team Sky (2010-), Fassa Bortolo (2000-2005)
Famed riders who’ve won on them: Miguel Indurain, Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullich, Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, Alejandro Valverde, Abraham Olano, Erik Zabel, Alessandro Petacchi
Biggest contributor: Alessandro Petacchi (39 wins)
Best year: 2003 (22 wins)
Giro: 68 (1st)
Tour: 68 (1st)
Vuelta: 68 (1st)
Yes, its Pinarello that come up trumps. Bar 2014, where Sky failed to put a Grand Tour win on the board for them, they’ve won stages every year of the last 25, and in what looks like an incredible balancing act, they’ve won exactly 68 stages in each grand tour in that time.
Of course, they’ve had quite the stable of riders to do that with, whether it be sprinters like Erik Zabel, who took 15 wins on his way to multiple green jerseys at the Tour, Mark Cavendish adding another 5 whilst World Champion, or GC men like Indurain, Ullrich, Wiggins and Froome, who added TT’s and mountain stages along the way. But they all pale in comparison to a certain Italian: Alessandro Petacchi.
Between 2000 and 2005, Petacchi took 39 stage wins for Fassa Bortolo on a Pinarello, including 15 across all 3 grand tours in 2003, and nine in one edition of the Giro in 2004. His speed helped fire Pinarello to new heights, and the Italian company has been impressively good at marketing its Dogma models, as well as producing a range for every occasion. Whilst they currently don’t have a world class sprinter on their machines as in the past, they are so far ahead of the stagnant Colnago that there is little chance they’ll be caught for some time.
Here’s a graph which shows how these wins went, which basically shows that that Pinarello and Colnago are the only two teams to have held the lead, and that Specialised are coming for them at quite a rate. Also, Look have seriously tailed off!
The pie chart of all wins is also interesting, showing how three manufacturers account for over 25% of the wins in the last 25 years and just 8 make up 50%. Still, the fact there’s another 60 odd shows you can still get a win no matter how small your company.
Lets break out down by each Grand Tour.
Surprise surprise, its Colnago and Pinarello out in front, although Pinarello have only overtaken their Italian rivals thanks to the Club logoed-bunch’s poor showing in the last few years. The Pie chart of all winners in the Tour also shows that just seven manufacturers make up just over 50% of all wins in the last 25 years.
Specialised havent been quite so good at the Giro, where Bianchi and Cannondale are still above them. However, these brands arent exactly flying, and at the current rate, Specialized will overtake them this year.
The fact Pinarello, Colnago and Look are so far ahead of the pack in the incredible thing about the Vuelta graph, although again, Specialized are coming.