Team Sky’s success is built upon their striving to achieve marginal gains in all areas of the race day – from preparation, to the bike, to team kit.
But even then, eyebrows were raised earlier this winter when Tour de France champion Chris Froome posted a cheeky – with cheeky being the operative word – snap of him in his new mesh skinsuit.
The daringly revealing outfit may be a definite no go on these shores in January, but Sky hope the new kit – developed in conjunction with British brand Rapha – will serve them well as they attack the hot weather racing season however.
Sky expect to be using the newly-designed Rapha Road Race Mesh Skinsuit in Australia, Qatar and Oman, with the London-based brand describing it as ‘an example of the technical and performance advancements as a result of working with one of the world’s best teams’.
Designed to be both cooling and aero, Rapha Team Sky design manager Piers Thomas based the design on riders’ experiences at the Tour Down Under and Tour de France last season.
Thomas found riders preferred to wear the more traditional skinsuit ahead of the development prototypes of the Rapha Mesh Jersey for time trialling and even some shorter stages.
Lacking airflow and requiring increased temperature management, however, Rapha set about designing a suit which could provide cooling without affecting the aerodynamic advantage.
The end product is a 196.6g one-piece suit, in medium size, for use by the team on the hottest race days.
Similar in mesh structure and material to those used in the Rapha Pro Team Baselayer, the suit’s mesh upper and front thigh sections allow for maximum airflow and evaporative cooling.
Panels in the shorts meanwhile, use the ColdBlack and antibacterial treatments to provide additional comfort.
Although Rapha have no plans to sell the Road Mesh Skinsuit in 2014 as part of the Sky range – launched last week – there will be a Team Sky Mesh Jersey available mid-summer.
For more information visit www.rapha.cc.