In 1989, Greg LeMond ushered in the era of aerodynamic technology with his Tour de France victory in Paris. Now, mountain bikers will have their turn.
Enduro World Series Champion Jérôme Clementz has been training in Punta Ala, Italy, in recent months with prototype aero equipment. Will it catch on?
“In our races, the margins of victory may be only seconds. Surely it is as important to have an aerodynamic helmet as it is to choose the correct line,” Clementz told VeloNews.
The Cannondale Overmountain enduro team has embraced innovation, and Clementz was spotted recently with a variety of prototype Mavic gear. His helmet was striking — an all-yellow full-face lid with integrated goggles.
Clementz’s apparel also received the aero treatment. In Punta Ala, he was sporting a form-fitting jersey with integrated long-finger gloves and a detachable neck scarf for cold Alpine descents.
The Frenchman continues to wear baggy shorts, however, telling us, “It is more traditional for enduro discipline. Some things must not change. I always eat my croissant before competition, and I always wear my baggies.”
Apart from apparel, Clementz’s prototype Cannondale Jekyll had one-off carbon rims modeled after the Cosmic Carbone wheels popular in the UCI WorldTour, on road group rides, and everywhere in between.
“The wheels? Yes, they are new,” said Clementz, “I trained this winter with [Ag2r La Mondiale’s Christophe] Riblon, and he could tell that I required a better wheelset. He would coast right past me on his time trial bike while my Jekyll was very slow.”
The prototype hoops have massively deep rims — approximately 80mm. Their only concession to practicality appears to be an integrated bottle opener for post-ride refreshments.
Mavic is rumored to have toyed with a 28-inch wheel size as well, but reports have not been confirmed.
“Listen, we have tried for many years,” said Mavic’s vice president of marketing, Loïc LeMieux. “Not a single Frenchman has won le Tour since Hinault. Now, in its first year, Jérôme wins the Enduro World Series. It is a simple choice, no?”