This article first appeared on Cyclingnews.
The 2018 season saw each WorldTour team stick with the same bike brands they used in 2017. For 2019, nearly a quarter of the 18 teams have struck new bike sponsorship deals, with one Belgian manufacturer returning to the top tier of the sport for the first time since 2011.
The biggest bike brands have a merry-go-round of team sponsorships in the WorldTour every few years. BMC Racing has morphed into the CCC Team and switch from BMC bikes to Giant. Team Sunweb, in turn, move from Giant to Cervélo, leaving Dimension Data to sign with BMC to complete the triangle.
AG2R La Mondiale and Factor Bikes have come to the end of their two-year partnership and the French team have signed with Eddy Merckx Bikes. The Belgian brand has had a hiatus from the WorldTour for eight years after Specialized bought out its contract with Quick-Step Floors back in 2011.
The newly announced partnerships will see four of the 18 WorldTour teams on new bikes next season, with groupsets, wheels and accessories yet to be fully announced.
New bikes, new components
The 2018 season will be remembered as the year of the aero bike after Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, BMC, Cervélo and Ridley all brought out new or updated aero models, with all bar the new Cervélo S5 being raced on.
This year also saw groupset innovation as Campagnolo dialled up the speed from 11- to 12-speed groupsets, but while the technology was released way back in April, the Italian brand's sponsored teams have yet to be seen racing on the new groupsets.
Cyclingnews has put together a table* of the framesets, groupsets, wheels, finishing kit and other accessories that will be used by each WorldTour team in 2019.
*Provisional until each partnership is officially confirmed on 1 January 2019.
Who's on what
|AG2R La Mondiale||Eddy Merckx Bikes||TBC||Mavic||Deda Elementi|
|Astana Pro Team||Argon 18||TBC||TBC||TBC|
|EF Pro Cycling||Cannondale||TBC||TBC||TBC|
|Lotto Soudal||Ridley||Campagnolo||Campagnolo||Deda Elementi|
|UAE Team Emirates||Colnago||Campagnolo||Campagnolo||Deda Elementi|
12 is the new 11
Following several years of all of the major drivetrain manufacturers using 11-speed, Campagnolo was the first brand to release a road-specific 12-speed groupset last year.
A 12-speed wireless SRAM Red eTap groupset was also spotted recently at the Saitama Tour de France Criterium in Japan in November. Although this is the first time the technology has been seen on a road bike, SRAM has plenty of credentials when it comes to 12-speed within off-road disciplines.
With two of the major drivetrain players already at the table, it would be no surprise to see Shimano adding another gear and joining the party. It is perhaps just a case of when.
Aero is everything?
Each of the above framesets is either disc brake-only or have a disc option and as well as the aero improvement claims, weight is also beginning to come off in a category that has been notoriously heavy in the past.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) rode several Tour de France stages on a Merida Reacto frameset, also winning Milan-San Remo aboard it earlier in the season, and the Italian's mechanics say Nibali's aero machine is very close to the 6.8kg UCI weight limit. Gone are the days of the 9kg aero race bike.