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Every second will count in Saturday’s decisive Tour de France time trial to the Planche des Belles Filles.
Rather than gambling on standard-issue yellow and white skin suits, race-leader Primoz Roglič and second-place and best young rider Tadej Pogačar were fitted out for custom kit Friday night. With a time trial decided not just by raw power but also the aerodynamic efficiency of every element of the rider and the bike from the socks to the handlebars, the skin suit has a vital role to play in reducing wind resistance.
After arriving in Champagnole after Friday’s 19th stage of the race, the Slovenian duo were measured up and assessed by two seamstresses, two model-makers and a Le Coq Sportif prototypist to allow them to create the suits that could play a factor in deciding Pogačar and Roglič’s final podium placings in Paris on Sunday.
Just as riders’ approaches to gearing and bike selections will vary for the 36-kilometer test Saturday, Roglič and Pogačar have opted for markedly different specifications for their outfits.
Roglič choose a short-sleeved suit with shortened sleeves and legs, with super-tight adjustments across the waist and shoulders to reduce the possibility of drag while in him time trial position. The 30-year-old also chose to reduce the neckline by 1cm to allow perfect aerodynamics and an ease of breathing.
Contrastingly, Pogačar, who has to make up 57 seconds on Roglič in order to snatch the yellow jersey, opted for long sleeves. Pogačar’s white skinsuit has also been narrowed across the neckline and central back.
French brand Le Coq Sportif was presumably in a race against the clock to produce the garments through Friday night. It’s Roglič and Pogačar that will be next to battle the stopwatch when they roll out of Lure this afternoon.