Up-close with Lidl-Trek’s dazzling custom Tour de France Femmes bikes

Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Balsamo’s race bikes have been given the Project One treatment

Lidl-Trek's 2023 Tour de France Femmes bikes 2023.

At races such as the Tour de France Femmes, cycling brands are keen to attract the beady eyes of the press photographers and journalists snooping through the cavalcade of team buses and along the roadside.

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For the second edition of the Tour de France Femmes, which began last Sunday, plenty of the women’s team bikes have been given a fresh lick of eye-catching paint. Not least, Lidl-Trek’s. The team has given all of its riders’ bikes custom paintwork, ranging from the conservative to the outrageous.

Courtesy of Trek’s Project One customisation scheme, the bikes of Elisa Balsamo and Lizzie Deignan reflect the two ends of this spectrum.

Deignan’s bike requires a bit of close inspection to realise what’s going on with that blue finish and Balsamo’s – well, you can’t miss it.

Lizzie Deignan’s Trek Émonda

Lidl-Trek Women’s Lizzie Deignan’s Trek Emonda.
Lizzie Deignan’s 2023 Tour de France Femmes Trek Émonda.
Matt Grayson

From a distance, Deignan’s Trek Émonda looks as though it’s painted in a fairly standard navy blue.

However, get closer and you see the climbing bike has a bluey-black base coat with a glistening lighter blue pattern over the top.

Lidl-Trek Women’s Lizzie Deignan’s Trek Emonda top tube.
The frame has a glistening blue pattern.
Matt Grayson

Deignan is running a Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 TLR wheelset. Bontrager says the 51mm-deep rim of these wheels was designed using 3D modelling to create its fastest and most stable design.

The road bike wheelset uses RSL-level OCLV Carbon which, along with the rim profile, is said to deliver speed and versatility across conditions.

Lidl-Trek Women’s Lizzie Deignan’s Trek Emonda steer Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR tyre.
The bike has Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 wheels fitted with Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR tyres.
Matt Grayson

The tubeless-ready wheelset has an internal rim width of 23mm and is fitted with Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tubeless tyres, which are indeed set up tubeless.

We saw Deignan running these tyres on her winning Paris-Roubaix Femmes bike. But while she opted for 700x30mm tyres for the Hell of the North, she’s gone for 700x28mm in the Tour de France Femmes.

Another difference between the Trek Domane Deignan rode into the Roubaix Velodrome and her Tour de France Femmes Domane SLR is it has a 2x rather than 1x SRAM Red drivetrain.

Given the prevalence of 1x drivetrains at the men’s Tour de France – also used by the men’s Lidl-Trek team – this more conventional setup might come as a surprise.

Maybe we’ll see Deignan or others at the Tour de France Femmes switch between multiple bikes with different drivetrain choices, as Jonas Vingegaard did.

One small custom touch to Deignan’s Émonda is it has sprint shifters located on the underside of the drops of her handlebar.

Elisa Balsamo’s Trek Madone

Elisa Balsamo of Lidl–Trek's Trek Madone.
Elisa Balsamo’s 2023 Tour de France Femmes Trek Madone.
Matt Grayson

An oil slick on the road is a cyclist’s worst nightmare. Have one on your bike, though, and you’ll likely be the envy of many riders.

Elisa Balsamo’s Trek Madone has one of the most eye-catching paintjobs we’ve seen on a pro bike.

Elisa Balsamo of Lidl–Trek's Trek Madone seat post hole.
Lidl–Trek rider Elisa Balsamo’s Trek Madone seatpost hole.
Matt Grayson

The paintjob is similar to the Chroma Ultra-Iridescent Madone SLR raced by fellow sprinter and Lidl-Trek rider Mads Pedersen in the men’s Tour de France.

The paintwork helps pick out the aero bike frame’s details, from the chunky bottom bracket area to the hole in the seatpost.

Like Deignan’s, Balsamo’s bike has Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 TLR wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tyres and a 2x SRAM Red groupset.

Balsamo also has sprint shifters, but these are located in the curve of the handlebar drop rather than on the bottom of the bar.

Deignan and Balsamo have also opted for different saddles from Bontrager’s line-up. Deignan is using the Bontrager Ajna Pro, whereas Balsamo has chosen the Bontrager Aeolus Pro.

The two riders’ bikes also use the same Time pedals. The French brand has been owned by SRAM since 2021 and it was announced in January this year that it would return to professional road cycling.

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Time pedals were used for 11 consecutive Tour de France victories, from Pedro Delgado’s 1988 triumph to Marco Pantani’s 1998 victory.