Crash-marred stages like the one we saw early in the 2020 Tour de France often leave riders showing skin and oozing wounds on live television. It’s frightening to see, and it can cost the rider valuable energy and focus just to heal over the course of the race. That’s why Craft Sportswear partnered with Team Sunweb to create a jersey with Dyneema incorporated in it to protect riders.
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Dyneema is a polyethylene material that’s supposedly stronger than steel, but vastly lighter. We’ve seen it incorporated successfully into shoes, like Specialized’s S-Works Exos shoes, and into other outdoor equipment like backpacks, fishing line, and rock climbing ropes.
Craft has now incorporated this impressive fabric into its Armor Aerolight Jersey in a partnership with Team Sunweb and DSM, not long after the company did the same with its bibs last season. That’s all to create abrasion resistance; Craft says the material helps reduce the risk of injury and resist abrasions at speeds up to 60kph (about 37 mph).
Remember when Tiesj Benoot crashed during stage 4 of the Tour de France and cracked his bike frame? His kit sure looks fresh:
The Dyneema material covers parts of the shoulders and back. Craft says Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel, which means it’s not likely to get destroyed when a rider crashes and slides. That should help the rider keep the skin on his body where it belongs. Craft launched a protective baselayer in 2019, and it’s made to work in conjunction with the Armor Aerolight Jersey.
The jersey complements the bibs Craft created, which means Team Sunweb now has the full complement of armored clothing to help keep riders healthy during the Tour de France. That could have come in handy during Stage 1, when riders were treated to rain-slicked — and possibly soap-slicked — roads that caused countless crashes.
Alas, riders in the US will have to do without, as representatives from Craft Sportswear tells VeloNews that the jerseys are not available stateside, and probably won’t be anytime soon.