Friday, July 3, 2009

Tour Tech on Show in Monaco

What are we in store for in France this month? Have a look...

Everyone in the industry seems to think I am in Monaco for the Tour. Sadly, I am not. As they say in France, C’est la vie. But this technical editor, however, on vacation in Switzerland, visiting my wife Donna Phelan, just as I did last year at TeamTBB camp in Leysin. It’s great seeing old friends (coach Brett Sutton and athletes Rebekah Keat, Lizbeth Kristensen and Erika Csomor), and all the new faces on the team. I brought my road bike and am excited to head out today after a day of jetlag sorting… got some new stuff to test, in a beautifully appropriate locale, the Swiss Alps. It’s a beautiful day today, and am sure it will be the same around the corner in Monaco for the race start today.

And among the things we’ll see during the month-long saga? There’s a ton...

Oakley Antifreeze Radar
This one debuts with Oakley's sprinters, who will wear an appropriately wicked liquid green frame that looks like frozen Prestone (which is in effect an impossibility what with it being call, you know, antifreeze... but Oakley makes the impossible possible), with a Jade Iridium lens.They’re limited edition, available in the standard Path lens or the new XL, with a longer 7mm nosebridge (which is functionally great for when down in the aerobars, so you're looking through the lenses and not over the frame) and available soon in that limited run at get'em while you can.

Castelli Apparel
While on invite at the request of Cervelo to see Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd do some aero testing at San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel this February, I had a chance to meet the folks from Castelli, and saw some prototype apparel they said would be debuted this July.

While you’ve now seen the new reverse jerseys (white instead of black), my interest lay in their tunnel-tested gear.
Like the Aero Race Team Jersey; the wind tunnel tested skinsuit, shoecovers and aero gloves will give the riders a technical edge to cut through the wind as well. Here's a shot of defending Tour champ Carlos Sastre checking out some of the fabric that Castelli's Steve Smith is showing him.

Further, and more of an aside: keep an eye out for a totally new TT helmet from Catlike with the Cervelo TestTeam; they had something at the wind tunnel that they were vehemently preventing me from taking photos of. Pretty cool stuff.

The body of the skinsuit is made using Castelli’s BodyPaint technology: a single piece of fabric to eliminate seams and cover your body as if it was painted on. It’s cut short in the front so that when the rider is bent over in the riding position, it lays perfectly flat on the front. A flat elastic leg opening means for smooth air flow. It’s finished with an aerodynamic flap to cover the riders race number. (maybe we’ll see this in triathlon?)

Castelli’s Aero Race Shoecovers also have a “golf ball dimple” fabric.

Giro TT helmet
We’ll see this one today; a two-year project, with aero testing taking place at the University of Washington Aerodynamics Laboratory Kirsten Wind Tunnel, as well as at UW’s liquid tanks doing fluid flow. It’s pretty impressive testing, which they captured on video and you can watch here at It' follows testing the team did with Lance Armstrong at the San Diego Wind Wind tunnel last Spring as well, in an effort to find yet another optimized helmet shape that will fit Lance's highly curved back. And there's the thing: not every aero helmet will fit every head.. but this one may be best for you.
Giro marketing director Kevin Franks went on record saying:

"Based on extensive wind tunnel and ride testing, we can report that the new Giro TT helmet that will debut on Giro riders tomorrow in Monaco is the fastest TT helmet in the world. The helmet is considerably faster than any other helmet in zero degree yaw situations, and remarkably faster in 5, 10, and 15 degree yaw situations. The helmet represents a paradigm shift in aerodynamic helmet technology."

We've asked if Normann Stadler will be wearing this at the Roth Challenge next weekend in Germany, and.. afraid not, Franks said... but probably in Kona.

Rotor’s 3D Carlos Sastre Crankset
The new 3D Crankset is of keen interest; designed in concert with Cervelo TestTeam, it has three longitudinally CNC-machined holes through the length of the crankarms to cut weight, while maintaining structural integrity. For the Tour, the crank goes yellow for one man: defending race champ Carlos Sastre. It will be available to the public, however.

Just six of these cranks have been made (good luck getting one), hand-painted by a design studio that does up custom MotoGP helmets.

Specialzied Shiv
Sure, we’ve seen this at the Triathlete magazine website. But we haven’t seen the new paintjob. Here’s Fabian Cancellara’s rig being built up in Monaco for today’s TT. Get some.
Cervelo S3 Tour Limited Edition

To commemorate Cervelo TestTeam's first Tour entry (and of course Sastre's title defense), a super-limited run of a black and yellow S3 frameset will be made available. Check for more info.

1 comment:

b said...

Thanks for the great insight on the new goodies that always seem to launch pre-TdF...I know Giro has reason(s) for the shorter tail fin and look to the TT helmet but pretty soon they will look just like a normal cycling helmet :-)even the Bell & Specialized TT helmets are getting shorter tal fins I noticed in the opening TdF TT...