Vince Gee

Technology in the strangest places

Last year in the Tour De France we used some unusual technology. We used special skinsuits for the Time Trials. Designing fast skinsuits is not new but has not been focused on much. If I remember correctly there was the bat suit designed for a past Olympics. Mainly if not exclusively designed for track events.
Our skinsuits in the Tour had not only fast material (slippery/coated) but directional seams to save seconds. The coating which made air slip over it had a down side. It did not vent well and thus was hotter than normal.
This year riders are trying on a new design. It is wacky to think a skinsuit could make a difference but it can. Even if it is only seconds. Last year we lost the team time trial (in the beginning of the tour) by only a handful of seconds. All things being equal, I think this new design will be faster. I can’t really tell much about it but some things I have noticed by just looking at it can be advantageous.
A few riders even came out one by one to be seen by the Nike folks in the clothing technology department. They measured certain areas of each athlete and then had the athletes sit on a bike in a TT position to also see how to make the skinsuit fit even sleeker/smoother. Almost a custom fit.
There are a few other more specific aspects about this but that is a little more secret. Technology in the strangest places.
There was an odd visual aspect of this sizing task the Nike people were performing. There was three sizes. Small, Medium and Large. All had long sleeves but with normal shorts length (goes just above the knee) The medium and large size was bright red and bright blue. My first thought was Spiderman. Picture our team in Spiderman suits for the Team time trial. Not really. The test suits were made generic red/blue. Our real skinsuits will be in (obviously) team colors with sponsors.


Owner of and long time professional race mechanic.