When the Tour de France begins next month, Continental will begin offering a limited number of road bike tires made in Germany of rubber derived from dandelion plants. The Urban Taraxagum model will be offered in a 700×32 size.
The company has been experimenting with dandelion rubber for years and recently opened a $39 million lab in Anklam, Germany, devoted to bringing the material made from the Russian dandelion plant to consumers.
The company says the dandelion is a more sustainable source than rubber trees, which grow only in the tropics and produce latex only after 7 years of growth. The Russian dandelion can grow in a wide range of conditions and produces a latex-like material after a year.
Conti Taraxagum at the Tour
Continental is one of the Tour de France’s five Main Partner sponsors this year. After each stage, a representative of Continental will present the trophy to the stage winner.
Additionally, Continental sponsors six teams competing in the Tour and will be equipping the official Tour vehicles with its tires.
“We have many years’ experience in manufacturing racing tires for the Tour de France and a long tradition of supplying teams with our tires. The Tour also helps us to build a bridge between cyclists and drivers and to highlight our commitment to Vision Zero, which targets a world without fatalities, without injuries, and indeed without crashes on our roads. At the Tour we will be urging cyclists and drivers to show more consideration for each other, as well as spotlighting our ‘Stay Wider of the Rider’ campaign.”
Unfortunately, the Taraxagum model will not be available in the U.S. initially.