Team Sky is famous for its marginal gains mantra and there’s no better example of the team’s pursuit of fractional advantages than in the kit used by Chris Froome over three weeks of racing.
Here’s a look at the bikes, kit and extra tech used by the Brit to get a leg-up to the podium’s top step.
Pinarello Dogma F8
Chris Froome’s Pinarello Dogma F8 is the workhorse he used throughout the Tour, with the exception of the time trial and cobbles stages.
An aero road bike with Pinarello’s truncated FlatBack tube shapes, the curvaceous frame is certainly fast with such a big engine atop it, but has also proved peerless in the mountains. In fact, there’s probably a marginal gain to be had in the versatility of the Dogma F8, with no time spent stressing about mid-stage bike changes like some other teams.
Once in yellow, Froome’s Dogma F8 got a fresh paint-job complete with the ‘Froomey’ nickname and a charging rhino to highlight Froome’s ambassadorship of Unite for Wildlife – a charity that raises awareness of poaching.
If the yellow on that first custom bike was understated, the one Froome rode into Paris to collect his final maillot jaune was anything but. The same rhino decals were now pictured on a bright yellow frame fit for the champion.
Pinarello Dogma K8-S
After crashing out of the 2014 Tour, even Froome’s most vociferous supporters seemed worried about how the 2013 winner would fare on the cobbles. This year, Froome had a mechanical advantage over the rest of the peloton – the rear suspension equipped Dogma K8-S.
The DSS1.0 elastomer suspension system gave Froome’s rear wheel 10mm of vertical travel to help tackle the rougher terrain of Stage 4. Plump FMB tubulars also added to the smoothing effect, helping Froome concentrate on his ride, not avoiding ejection from his saddle.
The Bolide is Pinarello’s no-nonsense all-about-the-aero time trial bike and comes complete with front and rear brake covers, an integrated cockpit and wheel-hugging tube shapes. Froome’s Bolide featured an old Dura-Ace 6900 crankset along with his usual Osymetric rings. The bike rolled on PRO disc and tri-spoke wheels.
Purveyors of non-round rings have long touted performance benefits for cyclists, but even if these are only psychological, there’s no doubt they feel great. Froome seems to agree, choosing Osymetric rings in spite of the increased danger of chain drops thanks to the constantly changing chainline and higher installation of the front derailleur.
A one-sided power meter system doesn’t seem to have harmed Team Sky since the switch from SRM in 2014, with the data from Froome's Stages meter offering crucial data to help in both training and racing.
Froome used Shimano Dura-Ace Stages crankarms, with a new housing spotted at the Tour de France – possibly designed for more robust protection against inclement weather.
Fizik Antares 00 saddle
Despite the fact that most teams were adding weight to their bikes in order to reach the UCI’s minimum weight limit, Froome’s saddle choice is the feathery 135g Fizik Antares 00 with Carbon Foam Core and carbon braided rails. The saddle fits within the company’s Chameleon collection, designed to offer optimum comfort for those with medium spine flexibility.
Kask Protone helmet
The Tour certainly highlighted the effectiveness of the Team-Sky issue Protone helmet when Welshman Geraint Thomas survived a head-on collision with a telegraph pole, but it’s also a clever piece of kit in its own right.
Developed in conjunction with Team Sky, it’s a road helmet designed to deftly balance aerodynamics and cooling ventilation. CFD designed and wind tunnel validated, the smoothly rounded rear is key in the helmet’s aero intentions – especially given Froome’s distinctive head-down style. Eight vents on the front also helped to keep the race leader comfortable on hot climbs. Froome's also pictured here wearing Oakley Radar EV glasses.
Sidi Wire Carbon Air Vernice shoes
As well as being ultra stiff and super light, Sidi’s Wire Carbon Air Vernice shoes include some fancy features for precision fitting. As indicated by their name, the shoes use a wire closure system that’s ratcheted up via two dials for a snug fit.
The dials themselves feature easily gripped pop-up handles, while each also has two buttons. Hold both and the tension slackens for removal, while a single click loosens by one click of the ratchet – perfect for on-the-bike adjustments as the feet swell after hours on the bike. There’s also fine-tuning of the heel grip with simple screws bringing in plastic arms around the heel cup to avoid slippage.
While his Rapha Team Sky Pro Bib Shorts collection had plenty of airtime during the Tour, including a yellow band version, Froome had to make do with wearing a Le Coq Sportif yellow jersey for most of the race ( with a main range Pro Team Base Layer and team-issue Summer Bib Shorts underneath it). This meant he missed out on some of the wind-cheating innovation the British brand is putting into its professional gear. We doubt he’d have wanted to swap though.
Before slipping into the maillot jeune, Froome wore the team-issue, wind tunnel-tested Aerosuit. The suits were of course tailor-made to fit each Team Sky member – as all their garms were – and pack such aero features as: no vertical seams on the front of the garment except for on the sleeves, longer-length sleeves and legs, and sleeves made of open mesh. A two-way zip on the front makes bathroom breaks a tad speedier. In foul weather, Froome preferred a standard team-issue waterproof Rain Jacket, which is being developed for commercialisation in the next year. The zip pull was designed specifically to be used with gloved hands – a nice detail for use in cold conditions.
Wahoo Kickr and Turbine nose clips
Froome’s warm-down routine reportedly slowed podium proceedings during the Tour, but form an important part of the rider’s recovery after a stage – another marginal gain for the list.
To support the Brit in his key post-ride routine were his Wahoo Kickr and Turbine nose clips. The former is a direct-drive wheel-less turbo trainer with a large flywheel and precise resistance control, the latter a nostril dilator claimed to give the user 38 per cent more air. Check out the gallery for pics.
Riders were using GoPro cameras throughout this year’s Tour for the first time, with one athlete per team per day adding ballast and drag to their race setups in order to capture an inside view of the race.
While it was typically domestiques given this duty, Stage 21 into Paris saw Froome himself with GoPro’s newest Hero4 Session mounted on his bars, immortalising the final stretch to his second, hard fought Tour win.