Life-size dummies of Van Aert and Evenepoel made to test Olympic skinsuits

Belgian Cycling produces custom mannequins of its time trial stars, to fine-tune Bioracer skinsuits ahead of Paris Olympic Games

Clock12:29, Thursday 1st February 2024
Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel celebrate the latter's World Championship Road Race title in 2022

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel celebrate the latter's World Championship Road Race title in 2022

Belgian Cycling has decided that to bolster its chances of coming away with medals in the Elite Men’s Time Trial at this summer’s Olympic Games, the skinsuits worn by Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert need to be as efficient and aerodynamic as possible.

This desire is nothing new, of course, but interestingly, the federation has decided to make life-size dummies of each rider, to carry out wind tunnel testing in the months leading up to the Games.

Coming around every four years, there is no expense spared when it comes to preparations for the Olympic Games and, for this arms race, millions of pounds are pumped into research and design. Where British Cycling has partnered with Lotus to develop 3D-printed bikes at an eye-watering expense, Belgian Cycling is working in tandem with kit supplier Bioracer to produce the fastest time trial suits on offer.

Read more:

For medal hopefuls Evenepoel and Van Aert, custom-made suits have been a huge part of their success on the road to date, with the pair winning five individual time trials at Grand Tours between them. Van Aert’s Visma-Lease a Bike have previously conducted their own tests with a model of Van Aert’s body, to nail the perfect fit for his AGU skinsuit.

Evenepoel rides for his Soudal Quick-Step trade team in a refined Castelli skinsuit that Het Laatste Nieuws reports is made in partnership with Specialized’s expertise, but both men will use Bioracer - a former supplier to Ineos Grenadiers - at this summer’s Olympics.

Het Laatste Nieuws reports that the custom-made dummy of Van Aert’s body has already been made, designed from testing on the brand-new Heusden-Zolder Velodrome and a 4D-scan taken of his position on the bike. This dummy will then be used in the coming months to tinker with the fit of his Bioracer skinsuit, without taking time away from Van Aert’s own busy schedule, which will reach its zenith at the Giro d’Italia in May.

Read more:

View post on Instagram

For Tour de France hopeful Evenepoel, his dummy will be developed in March and follow the same process as that of Van Aert’s. This preparation is said to cost tens of thousands of pounds but will alleviate the burden on each rider to conduct wind tunnel tests, whilst allowing Belgian Cycling and Bioracer to perfect the aerodynamics of each custom-fitted skinsuit.

“You can also take the test with the rider, but that takes a lot of time and energy, especially with repeated tests spread over months, as in this case. In addition, a comparative test with a doll is more accurate,” explained an insider from Evenepoel’s camp to Het Laatste Nieuws.

“A doll is static, while the rider constantly takes a different stance during the pedalling movement on his bike. In the latter case, you measure the difference between the postures instead of the difference between the time trials.”

Read more: Remco Evenepoel unveils Tour de France focused race programme

Before they line up for Belgian colours in the Paris Olympics, though, both men have lofty goals to strive for elsewhere.

For Van Aert, this means tuning up for the Giro d’Italia via warm-up races Clásica de Almería, Clásica Jaén and the Volta ao Algarve. For his compatriot, Evenepoel’s season focus lies on the Tour de France, but he will aim to enjoy a first peak at the Ardennes Classics, also via the Volta ao Algarve in a couple of weeks.

Related Content

Link to Assos unveils Fenoq skinsuit ready for Paris Olympics
Assos has made the Fenoq available to the public

Assos unveils Fenoq skinsuit ready for Paris Olympics

New skinsuit has been made available to the public for the first time but already appears to have been used by pro athletes

Link to GCN’s new Pro Team kit revealed: The GCN Show
NEW GCN and AGU Kit reveal

GCN’s new Pro Team kit revealed: The GCN Show

Si Richardson and Dan Lloyd take a first look at our new kit produced by new brand partner AGU and round up the other hot topics in the world of cycling this week

Link to New GCN Pro Team kit released and AGU partnership announced
New partnership announced between GCN and Dutch clothing company AGU as new GCN Pro Kit revealed

New GCN Pro Team kit released and AGU partnership announced

GCN partners with AGU, the Dutch clothing company who supply Team Visma-Lease a Bike, with the release of new GCN Pro Team kit

Link to How are WorldTour cycling kits designed?
Some of the fresh WorldTour kits for 2024

How are WorldTour cycling kits designed?

GCN spoke exclusively to designers and teams to understand more about the design process behind a jersey fit for the WorldTour

Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox