UAE Team Emirates’ clothing supplier Champion Systems has provided the WorldTour team with a zipless jersey for the riders to race in at the 2018 Tour de France.
Designed in an effort to reduce jersey weight and improve aerodynamics, the jersey fabric has been optimised to wick away sweat and keep riders cool without the need for unzipping the jersey, which can massively increase drag while racing and lose watts to the wind.
Essentially an aggressively cut T-shirt, the jersey appears to fit UAE Team Emirates’ riders perfectly and offers an anatomic fit while in a low riding position.
The jersey is paired with regular bib shorts, unlike speed suits, which integrate the shorts into the jersey and do not require straps Josh Evans/Immediate Media
Speaking to BikeRadar ahead of stage two of the race, which saw temperatures at the start line of over 30°C, Darwin Atapuma praised the jersey and said he liked the lighter weight and better aerodynamic performance of it.
More frequently, cycle clothing specialists say that keeping their jerseys zipped up will help keep the rider’s core temperature down versus bare skin due to the insulating properties of the fabric. Perhaps most famously was Greg Van Avermaet’s Bioracer Aerosuit RP 2.0 RR Mesh Stratos speed suit used during his Rio Olympics road race victor.
Darwin Atapuma told BikeRadar ahead of stage two that the jersey was lighter and more aerodynamic than the regular team jerseys Josh Evans/Immediate Media
Bioracer claims the fabric in the jersey acted as a cooling vest and while Van Avermaet’s competitors in the finale had their jerseys unzipped, Van Avermaet’s remained zipped up potentially saving valuable watts through the improved aerodynamics.
Another key aspect of removing a full, or even partial, zipper off of the front of the jersey means that the team sponsors’ logo designs are not split by the zipper or fabric and riders cannot be tempted to cross a finish line with jersey open and their team sponsors hidden or obscured.
BikeRadar has contacted Champion Systems for further technical details and availability of the jersey.
To the rear of the jersey, it looks like a regular, aggressively cut race jersey Josh Evans/Immediate Media