Words: Joe Hall | Date:
Team Sky started the 2014 Tour Down Under cooler than the rest. This week’s opening race of the season was the perfect proving ground for the newly-designed Mesh Skinsuit. Developed in conjunction with testing and feedback from Team Sky riders in the 2013 season, the skinsuit is an example of the technical and performance advances as a result of working with one of the world’s best teams.
The Mesh Skinsuit draws on Sky’s experiences from both the 2013 Tour Down Under and the 2013 Tour de France. In Australia, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard’s feedback on our Summer Bib Shorts resulted in the creation of a mid-season, second-generation Summer Bib Shorts, which were then used at the Tour. In France, the team also had development prototypes of the Mesh Jersey, but on time trail days when aerodynamics trumped all other factors, they chose a more traditional skinsuit. Even during some short stage-race days the bulk of the peloton, including Pete Kennaugh, started using skinsuits for aerodynamic advantage.
Innovation and Specifics
These suits, however, lacked airflow and required temperature management. Observing this, Piers Thomas, the Rapha-Team Sky Design Manager, returned from France with a new solution, which was that the garment must be both cooling and aero. He started by connecting the Mesh Jersey with the second-generation Summer Bib Shorts. Working with the Rapha product development team to reduce, refine and optimise, this design evolved into the 2014 Mesh Skinsuit, a 196.6-gram one-piece suit (size medium) for the hottest racing days.
Technically, the mesh structure and material are similar to that used in the Rapha Pro Team Base Layer. The mesh upper and front thigh sections allow for maximum airflow and evaporative cooling, while the panels in the shorts rely on our tried-and-tested coldblack® and anti-bacterial treatments for additional comfort.
Salvatore Puccio wears the Team Sky Mesh Skinsuit by Rapha
There are no plans for Rapha to sell the Mesh Skinsuit in 2014 as part of the Sky range, however there will be a Team Sky Mesh Jersey available mid-summer that uses the same insights from the riders.