Marginal gains taken a step too far with new skin suits?
Team Sky during Stage 4's 25km Team Trial Trial in Nice at the 2013 Tour de France (Image: Team Sky).
As you all know, it’s the New Year, and for the cycling world, that means that new kits and bikes are revealed by the world’s biggest teams. One kit in particular has turned heads this New Year.
Chris Froome tweeted his new Sky time trial skinsuit stating, “This skin suit takes #marginalgains to the next level.” It certainly will be noticeable in the time trials next year, as the majority of the skin suit has been made using partially transparent fabric.
The result is that the only areas with substantial covering are the front and back of the short section, a decision made obviously to minimise drag from the skinsuits, and allow the rider a smoother path through the air.
The decision has provoked reaction throughout the cycling world, with multiple tweets and comments on articles commenting on how it was going too far into the marginal gains theory that the Sky boffins have utilised since the team’s formation in 2010.
Sky’s scientists must think that the new look will gain them more time, it isn’t the first time they have been radical in shaving seconds off the time trial.
They were one of the first and only teams to date to utilise the new rounder aerodynamic helmets, and also took their own yellow skinsuit to the 2012 Tour de France in case Bradley Wiggins was leading the race in the time trials.
However, it is difficult to see where this will gain them more time, but who am I to argue with a ridiculous team science budget?
I’d certainly have protests if I were some of Sky’s riders, if they carry on at this rate we’ll have age restrictions on the television coverage of the time trials.
One comment that was particularly apt was that Sky certainly shouldn’t put this particular skinsuit out for the general public to buy. It will definitely be an unpopular sight on any Sunday morning club run.
There have already been calls for the UCI to ban the suit, as it is too revealing, and will put off potential sponsors if other teams ‘follow suit’ and decide they want their new team colours to double up as beach wear.
We’ll probably have to wait to see what the UCI does in relation to the suit, but for now, cover your eyes when you see a Sky boy lining up for a time trial.