The Tour de France may be the most challenging sporting event in the world. During a three-week journey in France—up and down multiple stretches of mountain ranges in the French Alps, Pyrenees and Massif Central—cyclists are not only challenged by competing teams, they are also challenged by weather and geographic conditions.
The changing weather is unavoidable, especially since some tour stages are greater than 100 miles and go through different geographies. Cyclists want and need be as comfortable as possible in order to perform at an optimum level, especially when the weather is rainy and windy.
To meet the need for high-performance protective cycling rain jackets, Craft Sportswear, Team Sunweb and DSM Engineering Materials designed, developed and optimized their cycling rain jackets with an Arnitel® membrane. The rain jackets provides 100% protection against rain and wind, along with upgraded levels of breathability thanks to its absorption and desorption technology. The jackets keep riders warm and protected without causing overheating or compromising agility, which can make all the difference between winning and losing a race.
Arnitel can be processed in membranes that are high performing but just a few microns thick. The secret—the unique material structure and its monolithic nature make the Arnitel membrane flexible and comfortable, leaving the material “open” to moisture vapor yet “closed” to wind and water. Also, its high breathability makes sure body moisture is dealt with immediately.
The monolithic structure assures 100% wind and waterproofness under all circumstances. Even when surface tension lowering liquids are applied like alcohol, fuel, and soaps, optimal performance and comfort are still maintained.
Another advantage is its sustainability—Arnitel is extremely durable, made of 100% recyclable thermoplastic copolyester, and completely free of perfluorinated compound (PFC-free), lowering its environmental impact by 70% compared to PTFE membranes.
The monolithic membrane consists of a closed surface, which enables a long product lifecycle since it lacks pores that are prone to clogging or lower performance over time. The rain jacket has been tested and worn by Team Sunweb, demonstrating its high levels of functional performance and strong durability over time.
Unlike many other available material solutions, the cycling rain jacket has a low environmental impact with a long product lifecycle. Plus, the rain jacket is UCI-approved (a requirement for all clothing of professional cycling teams) and can be printed on without damaging the Arnitel membrane.
This year, the partnership of Team SunWeb, Craft and DSM created more innovations than ever before. In terms of apparel, the iconic team jerseys have been added to the layers of protective clothing incorporating abrasion resistant Dyneema®.
Also, new 3D printed arm pads have been designed that support the elbow and forearm in the aerodynamic ‘high hands’ time trial position. Plus, the riders are provided with several nutritional supplements from Namedsport containing DSM's Life’s™Omega 3, BioCare CPH probiotics and OPTISHARP®.
17 September 2020
Alexander Stroeks is trained in chemical engineering and received his Ph.D. from Eindhoven University of Technology on a topic related to thermodynamics of polymer solutions and blends. After obtaining his Ph.D. he joined Envalior and was active in material properties related to R&D positions. He is currently principal scientist for functional properties of polymer materials. He is a material innovator based on solid material understanding. He is co-inventor of 50+ patents and examples of current interests are polymer barrier materials, advanced polymer modelling and polymer materials for novel energy solutions.