Aero position is crucial with new Visma | LAB time trial helmet: "I don't care how ridiculous I look, I feel super fast" Cycling

Aero position is crucial with new Visma | LAB time trial helmet: "I don't care how ridiculous I look, I feel super fast"

Aero position is crucial with new Visma | LAB time trial helmet: "I don't care how ridiculous I look, I feel super fast"

Juan Ayuso won Monday's time trial in the Tirreno-Adriatico, but the post-race discussions were primarily about Visma | Lease a Bike. Not necessarily because team leader Jonas Vingegaard lost time to the winner, but mainly because of the striking new helmet worn by the riders. spoke with the Visma riders and team scientist Gerard Rietjens about the story behind this innovation.

The Aerohead II from the producer Giro is noticeable for its huge bulge at the front of the helmet. "It's all about aerodynamics, and that's the idea behind the helmet. It's a maximally aerodynamic shape," begins Rietjens, who as an 'Embedded scientist' was closely involved in the development of the helmet. "The idea for this helmet originated over a year ago. We always look at what works best for us, which involves many hours in the wind tunnel, on the track, and in computer simulations. We look at what suits our riders."

Expert user Cian Uijtdebroeks clocked a 129th time with it on Monday, although that was mainly because he was one of the few who rode in the rain. The Cervélo bike ("I felt better than last year on the bike") and the helmet were all met with the young Belgian's approval. "It was the first time we used the helmet outdoors, which was an adjustment. I had to figure out how to hold it, but all in all, my posture was okay. Now it's mainly about analyzing, because it naturally varies per rider which helmet fits best. This was a test moment, especially towards the Giro d'Italia. We did look at how to hold the helmet precisely, but now it's about seeing if I can maintain that posture when going full out."

Rietjens, confronted to Uijtdebroeks' comments, understands that it takes some getting used to but emphasizes that the helmet's complexity isn't significantly higher. "The main thing is to maintain your position; that's important. If you adopt a different position with such a balanced helmet, some of the advantage is lost. You need to focus on ensuring that the position is correct. There isn't necessarily a lot of weight at the front; it's quite manageable. It's mainly about the shape, although the helmet is indeed heavier. So, you won't see it much in time trials that are predominantly uphill. The helmet is specifically designed to slice through the wind, and that has been well thought out."

Read more below the photo!

Aero position is crucial with new Visma | LAB time trial helmet: "I don't care how ridiculous I look, I feel super fast"
Ben Tulett with the new helmet

Visma | Lease a Bike riders didn't take long to adjust to the new helmet

This is also confirmed by "Head of performance" Mathieu Heijboer in a press release from Visma | Lease a Bike. "We extensively tested the helmet last winter, using prototypes and position scans of various riders, including Jonas Vingegaard and Wout van Aert, among others. This helmet is specifically designed for the aero position. It's no coincidence that we have made significant progress in this area. The riders were initially surprised when they saw the helmet, but that didn't last long. After a few tests and seeing the benefits, everyone was quickly convinced."

Attila Valter echoes Heijboer's sentiments. "It looks funny, but innovation is sometimes humorous. I'm very proud to be part of this team and to have this helmet already. I'm sure other teams will do something similar," asserts the Hungarian confidently. "Tell me, which time trial helmet looks good? If you don't follow cycling, all time trial helmets look ridiculous. I don't care how ridiculous it is, what matters is how fast the helmet is."

During the opening time trial of the Tirreno-Adriatico, Valter experienced firsthand outdoors how fast the helmet is. "When I'm on the bike, I feel super fast. It sounds like you're in a wind tunnel. It also feels safer because I can see more with the larger visor. The helmet sits more on your head, allowing you to look further ahead. I'm very happy with it, even though the team has indicated that you can use the old model if a time trial isn't important. But I would never do that. If a helmet is faster, I'll use it."

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