A closer look at the Van Rysel bikes Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale will ride in 2024

Decathlon's in-house brand to supply RCR road bike and XCR TT bike, as well as helmets and glasses, with Campagnolo set to drop from WorldTour level as team switches to Shimano

ClockUpdated 15:24, Monday 27th November 2023. Published 12:05, Monday 27th November 2023

© Van Rysel

Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale will ride Van Rysel bikes in 2024

AG2R Citroën, soon to be Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale from January, will ride Van Rysel bikes for the 2024 season after announcing a five-year partnership with Decathlon. The team’s new bikes, the RCR Pro and XCR, will be specced with Shimano components, meaning Campagnolo is likely to be absent from the WorldTour peloton in 2024.

Van Rysel is the performance road cycling arm of Decathlon, which has stepped up as co-title sponsor of the team. The team and brand aren’t strangers, with Decathlon providing the team with bikes between 2000 and 2007.

For Van Rysel, which was only founded in 2018, it will be the first time its bikes have been used in the WorldTour, and it will also provide helmets and sunglasses for the team.

The announcement comes after BMC recently confirmed that its three-year partnership with the French team had come to an end, meaning the Swiss brand’s bikes won’t be present at WorldTour level for the first time in over a decade.

"Van Rysel has a big ambition: to reach the global top five cycling brands," said the brand's director Nicolas Pierron, on Monday. To achieve that, we must have the best in class products. It’s not an option.

"Our engineers and designers place ultra-high standards to achieve ultra-performance. We are partnering with experts and professional riders, to arrive at the starting line with products ready to win.

"We are very proud to see our bikes, helmets and glasses chosen by the AG2R La Mondiale teams, including the historic team of UCI World Tour. We are excited and looking forward to starting the season."

Founded in 2018, Van Rysel took over B’Twin as Decathlon’s premium road bike brand. Monday's presentation took place at the B'Twin factory in Lille, and the name Van Rysel in fact means 'From Lille' in Flemish, with Lille situated near the Belgian border in north east France.

"This name is very important for us. It truly means something," said Pierron. "We have deep roots and we are proud of that."

The Van Rysel range of bikes has been bolstered throughout 2023, leading to plenty of rumours that Decathlon was preparing for a return to the pro ranks, something that has now been confirmed.

Let's take a closer look at the bikes and equipment Decathlon-AG2R will be riding in 2024.

RCR Pro – The do-it-all road bike

For road stages, the team will use the RCR Pro, an aero road bike designed in collaboration with ONERA, a French aerospace research laboratory.

It’s no surprise that this partnership was focussed on aerodynamics, and the bike sports a modern and on-brand aero design, with dropped seatstays and a deep head tube.

The integrated cockpit is the fruit of another partnership, with the Italian component company, Deda.

With Van Rysel choosing to follow the one-bike solution that's being adopted by many brands, the RCR Pro will be used in every type of stage, from flat days to forays into the mountains. This is an approach taken many brands, including Specialized, Colnago and Pinarello.

The XCR – The time trial machine

For time trials the team will turn to another new bike in Van Rysel’s line-up, the XCR.

It has made appearances at exhibitions this year and for its design the brand turned to Swiss Side, whose over experience working on Formula One cars was filtered into the bike.

Again, the cockpit comes directly from Deda.

Components

Both bikes will be paired with Shimano Dura-Ace components, which extends the Japanese brand’s numerical domination at WorldTour level, while ending Campagnolo’s stay.

The historic Italian brand has become less frequent in the WorldTour over recent seasons and, as of 2023, only AG2R Citroen used its components after UAE Team Emirates also made the switch to Shimano. Unless another team switches to the brand prior to the new season, it means that Campagnolo will be absent from the top level of both men’s and women’s cycling in 2024.

It’s not all change for the team, which will continue to use Swiss Side wheels.

There is, however, an apparent change of tyres, with the new bikes fitted with Continental rubber, whereas the team were sponsored in 2023 by Pirelli.

Helmets and glasses

The partnership with Decathlon also covers helmets and glasses, which also come under the Van Rysel brand.

The team will have three different helmets at their disposal, the Van Rysel RCR, FCR and XCR.

While the XCR is the time trial helmet to go with the XCR TT bike, there are two options for road races. The RCR, which also follows the name of the other bike in the range, is a ventilated all-round helmet, while the FCR is a dedicated aero helmet with reduced vents for smoother airflow over the helmet.

All of the helmets are new and, according to Van Rysel, have been designed with safety as a priority.

"The speed of the peloton continues to break records and because road cycling is one of the only sports to be shared with motorists, our priority is safety," Van Rysel says. "We have set an even higher requirement than the CE standard, guaranteeing cyclists maximum protection."

Van Rysel has also developed a new line of glasses for the team, the PERF900. The standard model comes with rims but there's a second option, the PERF900 light, which does without them.

The frames are paired with lenses from Zeiss, NXT, and Transitions.

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