It may well be so. If it is that doesn't mean the 2016 Tour de Fer is a benchmark bike. OEM folk sell kludges from time-to-time. More likely it is a result of the Tour de Fer in drop bar form not being one of their greatest sales successes so they've reinvented it. Marketing led company these days. I owned, for a short time a flat barred Dawes, built on the same frame as a drop bar Dawes. Geometry was all wrong. Silly riser stem, etc.. I tried it because I came from an mtb background and could not get on with drops, as the brake levers were in the 'wrong' place. Not really. Only marginally closer together, sure, than they are on the hoods, though you are sitting up a little more - no bad thing in traffic. Certainly well spaced enough to exercise complete and full control on the bike. Think cyclocross, think relatively thin tyres, think wet muddy downhills requiring poise and finesse. After one is only braking with the index and middle finger at most. Me? I think flat bar bike are twitchy and transmit too much road chatter because the bars are wider than they need to be. All that said... Sounds to me like you want a project or a new bike, and who am I to deny you that pleasure?