How to dress for a grand tour
Based on the characteristics of the stage and the weather conditions, every rider makes his own clothing choices. It’s important to show up at the start with the “perfect” clothing, but it’s also important to select the right pieces to have in the team car during the race or in the team bus before the race when there will be a warm-up session on the rollers.
We took a moment to chat with Andrea Peron, Castelli Race Performance Director, about what clothing the riders of team Cannondale-Drapac selected during the most significant stages of the 2016 Giro d’Italia.
Individual TT. (Apeldoorn)
Since this is a time trial, I’ll use the TT Suit 3.1. The highest-performance and most aerodynamic product currently available, it is the result of hours and hours of research, aerodynamic studies and wind tunnel tests. The different fabrics used, along with the cut and the seam placement on specific points on the body, ensure maximum aerodynamic efficiency and energy savings. Along with the TT Suit 3.1, I’ll wear the Aero Speed Glove, our super-specific glove for time trialing.
Because the warm-up is done on the rollers, and therefore the body will generate a lot of heat and perspiration, I will choose the Climber’s Jersey: the lightest-weight jersey, but at the same time the one that dissipates moisture the best, preventing the jersey from becoming soaked with all the sweat produced when riding on the rollers.
These stages are always very tricky, both because of the weather conditions and because of the wind. It’s best to be as aerodynamic as possible. So, the San Remo 3.2 Suit. What is most aerodynamic for road races is perfect for the wind up there in the Netherlands. Another important point to note is the great variability of the weather: it will almost certainly rain along some parts of the course. So to make sure I always have rain protection with me, I will have the Tempesta Vest in the pocket of my jersey right from the start. It’s very lightweight and packable, and I don’t even feel it in my pocket. If the risk of rain is greater, I’ll bring the Tempesta Jacket instead of the vest. This new jacket fits comfortably in a pocket and at the same time offers an aerodynamic fit when I put it on, thanks to the new fully waterproof stretch fabric. In the event that the weather forecasts are really nasty, predicting rain all day, then I will trust the guarantee of the Gabba: perfect for racing with the best performance in difficult conditions involving echelons and wet roads.
Medium mountain, flat (Catanzaro – Praia a Mare/ Praia a Mare – Benevento)
The race returns to Italy and to the south. It will certainly be very hot. Here the Inferno Bibshort and Climbers Jersey will be ideal. When it’s hot I prefer the Inferno short because it’s very light and cool but sacrifices absolutely none of the necessary comfort that a race short must provide.
Medium mountain (Ponte – Roccaraso)
The first mountaintop finish. Here as well, light weight and high performance are needed, the Free Bibshort and Climber’s Jersey. The Free short is the best a short can offer: great muscle support, but without the discomfort of feeling seams pressing on the muscles. Plus, the different fabrics used ensure that this short is extremely aerodynamic.
Medium mountain, flat, mountain TT (Sulmona – Foligno / Foligno – Arezzo / Rada in Chianti – Greve in Chianti / Campi Bisenzio – Sestola / Modena – Asolo / Nolae Bibione / Palmanova – Cividale del Friuli)
Now the classification is starting to take shape, and for riders who are not toward the top it’s time to try their hand at establishing a break. This stage is perfect: rolling terrain, but not impossible. So today, to take my chance in the breakaway, I’ll choose the Aero Free Bibshort and Aero Race Jersey 5.1, a combination that allows me to stay out in the wind all day, to save watts on every kilometer, and arrive fresher at the finale so I can take a shot at victory. The Aero Race Jersey 5.1 represents the latest development in aerodynamic jerseys. It incorporates all of Castelli’s experience in the world of racing and performance and countless hours of studies and wind tunnel tests. What I like most about this jersey, though, beyond the aerodynamics, is how comfortable it is to wear. Before, if you wanted to wear an aero jersey you had to give up some comfort. Now I finally have a super-fast jersey that is very, very comfortable!
This is where the real Alps and the very difficult stages begin… Rather than having a single kit, it’s better to start out well prepared for any eventuality. The dramatic conditions encountered on some alpine stages in recent years (we all remember the Stelvio stage of the last edition) remind us of this. The basic kit will be the classic Free short and Climber’s Jersey. But I will adapt it according to the latest weather forecasts. I will definitely have the Tempesta Jacket with me throughout the day again. Thanks to its light weight and easy storage in a jersey pocket, it offers the best in quick protection against the rain and cold, so I don’t have to wait for the team car — which on these stages could be far from me. I will give the team car, instead, all my “emergency” supplies for extreme situations:
1. Tempesta Pant. A new and revolutionary pant that is completely waterproof. With this I am sure not to freeze my legs during long descents in the rain.
2. Tempesta Leg Warmer. Thanks to the silicone layer, the water that gets sprayed on my legs by my front wheel is no longer a problem.
3. Tempesta Glove. This new glove with OutDry technology finally keeps my hands dry and warm. In addition to being more comfortable, it means my fingers have full functionality on the brakes, so I don’t need to worry about having problems braking due to frozen fingers on the long alpine descents.
4. Gabba 2 offers an additional thermal and protective layer in case of extreme conditions. If the weather is truly severe, I will use the Gabba 2 under the Tempesta Jacket. This gives me another thermal layer that is resistant to water under a completely waterproof jacket.
Individual TT (Castelrotto/Kastelruth – Alpe di Siusi /Seiseralm)
For this unusual mountain time trial, I prefer to use the San Remo 3.2 Suit: a skinsuit for the road, but very aerodynamic. The results in the wind tunnel showed it to be just slightly slower than the TT Suit 3.1. I choose the San Remo 3.2 rather than the TT Suit 3.1 because the TT suit is designed specifically for the extreme position on the time trial bike. Here, because road bikes will be used, the San Remo 3.2 will give me better performance.
High mountain, flat (Bressanone/Brixen – Andalo / Molveno – Cassano D’Adda)
Two stages with long climbs and descents. It starts with a false flat, descending gradually for the first 40 km to just after Bolzano (intermediate sprint), where the peloton takes on the classic climb to Passo Mendola before the long and undulating descent to the foot of the final climb. This climb is divided into two parts: the first part to Fai della Paganella (categorized climb) and the second to the stage finish. Note that there is a section with a 15% gradient 200 m before the summit in Fai.
If the weather is expected to be sunny, a Climber’s Jersey and Inferno short will be called for a Perfetto Light could be helpful if it’s rainy, because at these elevations a bit of rain can significantly lower the temperature.
Medium mountain , high mountain, flat (Muggiò – Pinerolo / Pinerolo – Risoul / Giullestre – Sant’Anna di Vinadio / Cuneo – Torino)
Considering that the stages start downhill and we are in the mountains, the best thing for the beginning of the stage is the Fawesome 2 Vest worn over the Aero Race Jersey 5.1. Excellent wind protection, good warmth and good breathability. When the action heats up, I can easily remove it and put it in my pocket until I have a chance to hand it off to the team car.