Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) has plenty of power, but he and his team pay attention to the details of his bike’s efficiency, too. At the Belgian classics, van Aert’s Vittoria Corsa Graphene 2.0 tubulars have been painted with a clear silicone on the sidewalls, but it’s not for protection against cuts.
Instead, the silicone is there for aerodynamics, smoothing the transition between the tire’s sidewall and the rim.
It’s a marginal gain to be certain, but one that has been looked at by others as well.
In 2012 Mavic launched the CXR80 aero wheel that featured a rubber strip that snapped into the crevice between the sidewall and the rim.
After Gent-Wevelgem, Jumbo-Visma’s performance nutritionist Martijn Ledegeld told VeloNews that the tires were painted with silicone to make the tire-and-wheel interface that tiny bit faster in the wind.
Van Aert and the Jumbo-Visma team also have access to a new aero helmet, the Lazer Vento, which the company claims is slightly faster in the wind tunnel than Bullet 2.0, which it replaces. Perhaps more notable with the Vento is Lazer’s new KinetiCore system of foam crumple zones that act as a MIPS type of system to absorb rotational forces in the event of a crash as well as the blunt force of impact.
Take a closer look at van Aert’s tires below.
Wout van Aert, like many in the WorldTour peloton, races on Vittoria Corsa tires.
But van Aert’s tires have been painted with clear silicone.
The silicone treatment is intended to smooth the transition between the tire’s sidewall and the wheel’s rim, thereby reducing aerodynamic drag on the system.
Since the tires are tubulars and already glued on, adding a bit more silicone glue to the outer edges doesn’t hurt anything.
At a glance the tubulars look like any other Vittoria Corsa tubulars.
Wout van Aert’s name and face are plastered all over Belgium this week, with camper vans flying van Aert flags already lining the course for the Tour of Flanders on Sunday. Van Aert may not take the start, which would be a disappointment to Belgium’s fans.
Van Aert and his Jumbo-Visma teammates are racing an unreleased Cervélo S5.