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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, November 3, 2022

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. - Alexander Graham Bell

Story of the Tour de France Volume 2

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, Vol 2: 1976 - 2018 is available in print, Kindle eBook & Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Dries Devenyns extends with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl

Here’s the team’s news release:

Dries Devenyns was one of the riders who played an important role in the first Grand Tour triumph in the history of the team last September, helping Remco Evenepoel write history for Belgium at La Vuelta. But Dries was a key player also in other important victories of the team, showing his huge experience and guiding our younger riders on the road. Considering all this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl offered him a new agreement for 2023 – which will mark his 12th year with the squad, one where Dries is motivated to once again give his best. [Ed. Devenyns' time with the team was not continuous. He rode for Giant-Shimano in 2014 and IAM Cycling 2015 & 2016]

Dries Devenyns wins stage three of the 2016 Tour of Belgium. He ended up the final GC winner of that race. Sirotti photo

“Of course, I’m already looking forward to next season. I realise I’m still living my childhood dream. Cycling fans in Belgium and worldwide are seeing us as the biggest team for them. We are living a dream riding for this incredible squad. That’s what you dream of as a little kid.”

“I still get my motivation out of the challenge to build condition, to do a strong race, to work well together with my teammates and to fight for victories. I do realise that everything I’m going to do later in my life will not be the same. It’s really nice also to work for such a long time together with the same people, in a way they become friends. To have a good relationship with them also gives some fire for every time I pin on a number for a race”, said Dries Devenyns.

Patrick Lefevere, CEO of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, was equally happy to have Dries stay with the Wolfpack: “As always Dries goes through fire for the team. He has a great mindset and his experience in the races is quintessential for the other riders. He knows how to stay calm when it’s needed, he has a great personality and always remains down-to-earth. It’s a pleasure that we can count on him in 2023.”

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Team DSM explains the protective qualities of its team clothing

Here’s the team’s post:

Cycling clothing and protection seemed to be two different worlds until very recently, when we (Team DSM) became the first professional cycling team to integrate protective fabrics into our race kit.

Team DSM at the 2022 Vuelta a España using the latest version of their protective clothing. Sirotti photo

Crashes are an inevitable part of our sport, as are the wounds and abrasions that come with them. That wound recovery has impact on the optimal recovery between races or stages, and precious energy is wasted that can really make the difference out on the road.

“The idea came in the mid 2010s when the team explored the idea of how they could minimise the risk of injuries and energy consumption for recovery after crashes during Grand Tours”, explained Team DSM R&D expert Piet Rooijakkers. “We worked with DSM already in the early years of this project, and in time we could finally integrate a protective fiber called Dyneema into the bib shorts. This was a great step and one we are really proud of.”

A quick analysis of the technical possibilities soon showed the team’s experts that it was not feasible to then integrate these protective fabrics in more types of specific high-performance race wear at speed, considering other key performance aspects (aerodynamics, lightweight, stretch, breathable) of race clothing for use at the highest level of elite sports.

Team DSM Textile Technologies Scientist Tina Brückner explained why: “Using Dyneema fibers in textiles is a challenge since it’s not suited for most textile processes. It is a unique material that enables protection in clothing in a crash, but it is very stiff, cannot be coloured, it is cut-resistant. The combination of different materials (elastic and printable) and the exact way of creating the fabrics is the secret on how to achieve the desired properties in the kit.”
“It’s also important to know the process of making textiles: threads are made from fibers, sheets are made out of thread, and panels are cut out of sheets. To get Dyneema fibers into sheets, it first needs to be twined into the thread, then later during the weaving, threads of other materials are added just to have the balance. It’s a complex process!”

So, what next? The team made the decision to step away from a traditional commercial model to faster integrate protective materials into more items of their race wear and it was the world’s most premium brand Nalini, who partnered with the team to work on the project. This means that our in-house R&D, Aerodynamics, and Textile Technologies Engineer specialists now work together with Nalini’s state-of-the-art MOA Lab. This ensures that the development of a wider range of specific high-performance race wear can be accelerated and at the beginning of last year, another huge step was made as the team launched its own high performance athletic race wear.

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Amazing news for the team! But to make this happen, some challenges had to be solved.

“It was a really challenging process to integrate the Dyneema fibers in such a high-performance kit. We basically had to reinvent every step in the production process of making professional racewear and come up with new solutions working with our new materials. The process has been adapted in all aspects from thread composition to the final seams in the kit”, Brückner explains.

At this year’s edition of the Vuelta, Team DSM presented the latest edition of their line of clothing. The Team DSM science group, DSM, and Nalini set a benchmark with the last sprint suit in terms of aerodynamics and speed – faster and also protective! Impressive work from the team. The suit is another benchmark in terms of speed and a huge step towards rider safety and protection in case of a crash.

“It’s really nice to have Dyneema in our clothing because it has proven time and time again that it is really protective against crashes. In the grand tours if you fall, then it’s of course not nice, but if you wear Dyneema like we have then you have less abrasions through the fabric; that saves a lot more energy for the rest of the grand tour which you really need. It’s super nice to have the Dyneema and the fact this sprint suit is even faster well, it’s just a great invention”, said Team DSM rider Thymen Arensman about the sprint suit.

Rooijakkers explained the aerodynamic benefits of the new suit: “The baseline level in performance was for us to have protection at an aerodynamic level of a normal sprint suit. Testing it at the TU Delft wind tunnel showed us a surprising benefit of five watts, which gave us the energy to push the project into a final sprint and have it ready before the Vuelta”.

“Although the Dyneema panels might be a bit abrased after a crash, the riders are fully protected up to 45 km/h. Depending on impact the skin might still be a bit scratched but provides serious reduction. Riders really rely on this in the races now.”

We are still busy at work as we approach the 2023 season with the goal of integrating protective fibers into more and more products in our custom clothing line. We hope to continue to set benchmarks and raise the standards in cycling with regards to protective race wear, and hope that in the future more cyclists can integrate protection into their race wear too.

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Black History month: Will Girmay’s “Biniam Boom” really transform cycling when black riders still face barriers?

Eurosport posted this essay:

Biniam Girmay's triumph at Gent-Wevelgem and stage win at the Giro d'Italia provided some of the most memorable moments of the 2022 cycling season. But, in a feature commissioned to mark Black History Month, Marlon Moncrieffe of Brighton University examines the extent to which the 'Biniam Boom' was a truly historic moment, and whether structures are in place to ensure a repeat.

When Eritrean cyclist Biniam Girmay produced his awe-inspiring killer sprint finish at the close of the Under-23 race at the Road World Championships in November 2021, he became 'the first' Black African rider to finish on the podium at the event.

With all of the celebrations given to the emergence of this young, gifted and Black athlete and his winning smile, it seemed it would only be a short matter of time before he would explode onto the 2022 UCI World Tour scene. Of course, he did, and it was again his outstanding sprint finish victory at Gent-Wevelgem earlier this year on March 27 which captured world media headlines:

Biniam Girmay wins Gent Wevelgem.

'Biniam Girmay: Eritrean becomes first African to win a one-day classic with Gent-Wevelgem victory' proclaimed BBC Sport, with CafeRoubaix exclaiming 'Biniam Girmay: Eritrean becomes first African to win a one-day classic with Gent-Wevelgem victory'. The Telegraph added 'Biniam Girmay becomes the first ever African rider to win a cobbled Classic'. VeloNews said 'Cycling history was written on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Wevelgem, Belgium when 21-year-old Eritrean rider Biniam Girmay (Intermarche – Wanty – Gobert Materiaux) became the first African rider to win a classic.'

Indeed, in the above VeloNews article, Girmay gave his take on the significance of his win: “I’m happy my team decided for me to do this race. This is so important for me, for my team and for African cycling. This is a really important moment for us.”

This writer watched the climax of the race at the Rapha Clubhouse in New York City. Their staff had gathered around huge screens to witness this 'history' in the making. The evening before, I had been presenting my Sunday Times Cycling Book of the YearDesire Discrimination Determination – Black Champions in Cycling with leaders and members of the African American cycling community.

Central to our conversation was the history of Black cycling champions, including the original 'Black cyclone', the track sprinter Marshall 'Major' Taylor, and more recent outstanding Black road racers such as Rahsaan Bahati and Justin Williams. All at some point in their careers they tested their racing ambitions in Europe.

Their stories are central to understanding the narrative of the Black cyclist presence across Europe over the years. Very few riders of this identity have been able to achieve the same highs and victories across Europe as Marshall 'Major' Taylor did over one hundred years ago. However, Girmay, the new 'Black cyclone', has been storming to new heights. And he followed his Gent-Wevelgem victory with another 'historic' win - this time on Stage 10 in this year’s Giro d'Italia.

Girmay admirers have taken to social media to fete this 'history maker'. I see this as a real term to use, but also a very contentious one, depending how you choose to see the world of cycling. When the media headlines above state: 'Cycling history was written on a sunny Sunday afternoon', it should be noted that Moses L Kamara of Lunsar Cycling Team took the Stage 3 victory at the 2nd Tour De Lunsar, in Sierra Leone on that same day.

You can read the entire story here.

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