Rudy Project is looking forward to the 105th Tour de France. The storied grand tour is shaping up to be an interesting one – the course features a healthy mix of flats, hills, time trials, and three epic mountain finishes. 176 riders on 22 teams will be taking on the 21-stage, 3,351 km race that winds itself through two countries over the course of 24 days.
“The Tour is always full of excitement, drama, crashes and throngs of devoted fans. It is also the ultimate testing ground for Rudy Project eyewear and helmets,” said Paul Craig, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Rudy Project North America. “We are excited to cheer on our three World Tour Teams and watch our amazing group of riders tackle this year’s grueling route in what is one of the world’s most intense and historical events in modern-day sports history.”
The 105th Tour de France will see three teams wearing Rudy Project’s performance eyewear and helmets – Lotto-Soudal and Trek-Segafredo in eyewear, and Bahrain-Merida in helmets and eyewear. All three teams have opted to wear the award-winning Tralyx in Rudy Project’s athlete-exclusive Fade collection, while Bahrain-Merida will be wearing the Boost Pro aero helmet in Gold and the RaceMaster road helmet in a new custom gold colorway with blue and red stripes.
With a roster designed to win stages, Team Lotto-Soudal is spear-headed by the German giant Andre Greipel and Thomas de Gendt, both heavy duty sprinters and breakaway specialists. Jasper De Buyst, Jens Keukeleire, Marcel Sieberg, Tomasz Marczynski and Jelle Vanendert complete the roster. Andre is a favorite to win multiple stages, having won 11 total stages during his previous Tour appearances.
Belgian de Gendt has his eyes on the mountains, having won the KOM jersey at Tour de Romandie earlier this year. The strong team is looking to capitalize on their increased momentum from Tim Wellens’ stage win in the Giro d’Italia. The team’s frame of choice is the award-winning Tralyx, due to its outstanding lightweight styling and phenomenal comfort combined with an unbeatable field of vision. The custom color combo was designed to match Lotto-Soudal’s distinctive monarch red and white striped jerseys, while providing optimum clarity and UV protection with Rudy Project’s Mutilaser Orange lenses.
Even without the legendary Alberto Contador, Team Trek-Segafredo is looking strong for the 2018 Tour with climber Bauke Mollema and sprinter John Degenkolb taking the helm. The team is well rounded out with Latvian time trial champion Toms Skujins, as well as Julien Bernard of France, Koen de Kort (NI), Michael Golg (A), Tsgabu Grmay (Eth), and Belgian Jasper Stuyven, who took 5th in the 2018 Paris-Roubaix. The team has already had a solid year, with strong performances in the Giro d’Italia and a stage win from the AMGEN Tour of California.
The team is looking sharp in their custom Fade Collection Tralyx and Tralyx XL sunglasses, coupled with Multilaser Blue lenses and Multilaser Orange lenses. Rudy Project’s Clear to Laser Red HDR photochromic lenses are specifically designed to increase contrast and clarity, which will come in handy during the cobblestone sections in stage 9. Climbing specialist Bauke Mollema will be targeting the three mountain stages, with a weather eye on the climbing finish to the top of the legendary Alpe d’Huez.
As the only other former Tour winner riding in this year’s edition, Vincenzo Nibali is a favorite to win. ‘The Shark’ has the tactical skills and racing experience to take on the pursuit of the General Classification win, and the Bahrain-Merida team has been carefully crafted to support his bid. The 8 man squad includes Domenico Pozzovivo, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Franco Pellizotti, Heinrich Haussler, sprinter Sonny Colbrelli and Kristijan Koren. Pozzovivo has already shown his Grand Tour mettle in the 101st Giro d’Italia, taking 10th in the opening time trial, finishing with a strong 5th place in the general classification.
Bahrain-Merida was impossible to miss in the Giro’s peloton, with their Gold Boost Pro helmets gleaming in a line during the team time trial events, opting for the superior ventilation and unbeatable protection of the RaceMaster in the hills. In the Tour, Pozzovivo will play a key role in the mountains, pulling alongside the Izagirre brothers, while Franco Pellizotti, one of the few riders in the tour over 40 years old, will stay close as Nibali’s right hand man.
“I’m very happy to go back to the Tour. I liked the route right from the start and the charm of the Grand Boucle is indisputable. I’m going to France with a lot of serenity and with the knowledge that I have done everything possible to achieve the best result,” said Nibali when the Bahrain-Merida team was confirmed.
“The team that will be with me in France is one of the strongest ever. We will be competitive on all kinds of routes: from the climbs to the time trial. I am convinced that we will entertain our fans and the millions of cycling fans who will follow the Tour.”
Nibali has been training at altitude and honing his climbing skills in the Dolomites prior to the Tour de France – he opted out of his home country’s Giro d’Italia this year in order to focus more strongly on the Tour de France, and he’s a likely contender, coming strong into the race with Chris Froome worn already from winning the Giro.
Bahrain-Merida will stand out in a stylish and unique Tralyx Fade colorway – Gold Velvet and Royal blue frames complete with RP Optics Multilaser Ice lenses. The frame series was designed to honor the partnerships with all three professional teams while providing riders with a distinctive style as they pursue podiums and race jerseys.
The riders line up for the Grand Départ on July 7th in the Vendée region of western France – follow along by following Rudy Project North America on social media, @RudyProjectNA, and help us cheer on #RudyNation! Allez!
All photos courtesy of Bettini Photo.