Power divided by aerodynamic drag is a primary game in time trials, and clothing companies like Castelli pulled out all the stops for the opening TT of the Tour de France with brand new and tried-and-true aero gear.
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Defending Tour champion Chris Froome and stage 1 winner Geraint Thomas raced in brand new Castelli Body Paint 4.0 Speed Suits.
“We have spent the last nine months working on this,” Castelli’s Steve Smith told BikeRadar. “We have gone beyond rider-specific designs to speed-specific concepts.”
By rider-specific, Smith was referring to the tailoring Castelli has done for top riders, adjusting fabric type and seam placement based on an individual’s shape in a wind tunnel.
Now, the Body Paint 4.0 suit is targeted for speeds around 50kph.
Most notable on the 4.0 are the textured patches on the portions of the upper arms and shoulders that face the wind. Presumably, these dots are there as vortex generators, smoothing the airflow around the body.
Smith said the 4.0 suit is actually marginally slower than the current 3.3 suit at slower speeds, but for a short effort it was the top speed that mattered. On July 1, stage winner Geraint Thomas average 52.3kph for 16 minutes and four seconds. And that was on a rain-drenched technical course with plenty of treacherous turns.
Click through the gallery above for a look at the various clothing strategies riders and even fans employed on stage 1 of the 2017 Tour de France.