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Tour de France

Mathieu van der Poel to challenge for Tour de France yellow with $3,400 TT skinsuit

Alpecin-Fenix kit partner Kalas teams up with aero aficionados Vorteq, maker of top-price, top-tech time trial suits.

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Mathieu van der Poel and Alpecin-Fenix will be wearing some super-high-tech skinsuits at the Tour de France.

Alpecin-Fenix kit sponsor Kalas has teamed up with leading aero brand Vorteq for a set of new time trial suits that will debut at the Grand Départ next Friday.

“Vorteq has a proven track record of delivering super-fast custom-fit skinsuits ensuring athletes reach their peak performance in the world’s biggest events,” Kalas boss Josef Filip said in a press release this week.

“This special combination of their unique aero expertise and our own state-of-the-art production facility means we can together create a new collection of world-class aero kits.”

The British Vorteq crew has brought R&D expertise to British Cycling and Team Sky as well as motorsport outfits Aston Martin and Bentley.

It partnered with BikeExchange-Jayco this winter and helped the Aussie team win both time trials at the Giro d’Italia. It will now work with Alpecin-Fenix – set to be rebranded Alpecin-Deceuninck next week – in what was described as a “long-term collaboration.”

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Vorteq’s custom-fit skinsuit is on the market at an eye-watering £2,750 ($3,400), with overshoes retailing at a similarly staggering £600 ($740).

The arrival of Alpecin-Fenix’s superfast new suit turns up the anticipation for what will be one of the hardest-fought time trials of the season Friday.

A 13.2km test through the streets of Denmark will set the Tour de France rolling and award the race’s first yellow jersey.

Filippo Ganna, Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard, and Mads Pedersen all have eyes on a ride to the top of the Tour in a dash through the Danish capital Friday.

Although Van der Poel doesn’t have world and national TT jerseys in his wardrobe, he has made a habit of pulling something special in the TT skis when he needs to most.

The Dutch dynamo defended his yellow jersey when he raced to an against-all-odds fifth place in the stage 5 time trial of the Tour last summer. He similarly booked himself one more day in the maglia rosa with a blazing ride to second in the Budapest test of the Giro d’Italia last month.

Van der Poel snatched more time in yellow when riding wheels painstakingly sourced in a 10-hour overnight drive in last year’s Tour.

He’ll be looking for the Maillot Jaune once again next week wearing something that involved far more forward planning. A stack of data crunching and wind tunnel testing went into Alpecin-Fenix’s speedy new kit.

“The quality and volume of data we have been able to analyze together [with Vorteq] is exceptional,” said Kalas’ head of development František Klouček.

“We have already used this data to find considerable gains for our customers, including Alpecin-Deceuninck who are currently benefitting from this partnership with time in the Silverstone wind tunnel where we are optimizing their skinsuits for the Tour de France.

“We have the multiple data sets from our own garments, and from the tests we have done with our competitor equipment, so we are confident in our claims when we say we have already delivered world-class products for our customers, with much more to come in future.”

Stay tuned to VeloNews for all the news and tech from the Tour over the next month.