With a three-week grand tour being decided by seconds and a time trial coming down to the millisecond, Jumbo-Visma isn’t leaving anything to chance.
Jumbo-Visma has already been working with the Netherlands-based brand for 18 months, with AGU supplying all the team’s cycling and casual clothing. They are also partnering in a project with the ambition of “developing the fastest sprint suit and developing the fastest time trial suit.”
The team suggests that their leading clothing technology played a key role in Jumbo-Visma’s team time trial victory, and Mike Teunissen’s opening stage sprint win at the 2019 Tour de France. And this year, they’re going to be going even faster, as AGU has recently launched a new iteration of its suits, each tailor-made, tested and adapted for every rider in the squad.
“This is a very intensive process, which already results in no less than 3.7 percent less drag and up to 1.3 percent time savings compared to the initial situation,” said Bert Blocken, professor at Eindhoven University of Technology following testing in a wind tunnel.
The extended commitment to AGU, which will last through at least 2023, marks another example of Jumbo-Visma upping the ante in the battle for supremacy with Team Ineos at the head of the stage racing scene.
Jumbo-Visma will be challenging Team Ineos at this year’s Tour with its three leaders Dumoulin, Roglič, and Steven Kruijswijk. With Dumoulin and Roglič both noted time trialists in their own right, team manager Richard Plugge is confident he’s leaving no stone unturned in taking the challenge to his British rivals both this year and in seasons to come.
“For riders like Tom Dumoulin every millisecond counts,” Plugge said. “Time saving is extremely important and can be found in the smallest details. AGU has put its shoulder to the wheel with us and taken us to the next level. In addition, with this partnership, AGU shows that it not only supports the professional team, but also the development team and the future plans of the team for 100 percent.”
Skinsuits have been at the forefront of teams’ quests for “marginal gains” throughout the past decade, with rider clothing and helmets slated to offer the largest potential savings in drag of all the equipment used in a time trial.
Team Sky [now Ineos] has hit the headlines for its use of innovative skin suits in the past, first in 2014 when a super-light mesh suit left Chris Froome with a swathe of sunburn. In 2017, the squad introduced a new dimpled suit that some claimed violated UCI rulings. More recently, socks became another area of attention for their potential aerodynamic savings – to the extent that the UCI introduced regulations around acceptable sock height.