We ride in the rain

We ride in the rain

“Rain gear is super important.”
Koen Bouwman

The Challenge

Few riders like racing in the rain. Wet roads are slippery. When 200 guys race flat-out over them, railing corners shoulder-to-shoulder at full speed, they can be downright dangerous.

To make matters worse, all of the water falling out of the sky and splashing up from the rest of the peloton’s wheels can make it very hard for the riders to see.

A racer has to be extra aware in the wet. One false move by anyone in the peloton can send dozens of riders skidding across the ground. If a rider is cold and soaked to the bone, it is even harder for him to concentrate.

Staying warm and dry is not enough though. In a wet race, aerodynamics still count and weight is just as important of a factor.

And weather can change very quickly, especially during the northern European spring and in the mountains in early summer or fall. The riders could be racing in the warm sun one minute; a moment later, they might be in the middle of a storm.

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Rider experience

Solutions

AGU has outfitted Team Jumbo-Visma with a full range of versatile waterproof and water-resistant rainwear, so they are prepared for all conditions, from light summer showers to winter storms.

For the wettest days, the team’s riders have a rain jacket with a Poray membrane. When AGU’s designers developed the Poray membrane, they sought to to create a material that was 100% waterproof and windproof and breathed well. The fabric they produced can handle a water column of 10,000 millimetres. That means that 10,000 millimetres of water can rest on one square centimetre of the fabric without it leaking though. All of the seams on the team’s jacket are sealed, so it could keep out a monsoon. Still, it doesn’t trap perspiration inside, which means the riders can always stay dry and comfortable, even in heavy summer thunderstorms. This jacket is very lightweight and can easily be stuffed in a pocket.

The riders also have short-sleeved and long-sleeved jerseys made with an eVent DVstretch membrane. These provide an extra layer of insulation and protection against the wet, while remaining very comfortable and streamlined. The stretchy material fits close to the skin for warmth and better aerodynamics. It is also extremely breathable. Unlike a regular membrane, which only begins to work when it gets wet, the millions of tiny pores in the DVstretch material work immediately and continuously to remove moisture from perspiration, so the riders can stay warm and dry for longer.

Neoprene gloves and shoe covers provide the similar benefits for the riders’ hands and feet.

For colder days, the riders also have a water-resistant long-sleeved thermal jersey. Their arm warmers and leg warmers have also been treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating. This ensures that water beads off the fabric before it can be absorbed by its fibres.

Classic cycling caps remain an effective way for the riders to shield their eyes from rain and road spray.

In the summer, when any jacket would be too warm, the riders have the option of wearing a jersey made from a water-resistant woven fabric. Due to a special weaving technique, this material is both stronger and lighter than conventionally woven fabrics. It offers excellent wind-resistance and breathability without a membrane, which allows the riders’ bodies to maintain their optimal temperatures. The yarn is treated with a DWR coating before and after weaving, which makes the fabric highly water-repellent, so the riders can stay dry if they get caught in a shower. When the sun comes out, the lightweight fabric offers excellent UV protection.

AGU has outfitted the team with shorts made from a similar stretchy fabric too.

For the riskiest days, the riders have shorts with ceramic side panels. Arrayed on the fabric in a honeycomb pattern, the ceramic coating offers protection against road rash without hindering the riders movements whatsoever.

"If it’s really cold, it’s a problem. But in the rain I do like to ride. Half of the peloton is done mentally, and if you see it as a challenge, you can really benefit. I do like to ride in the rain."

Taco van der Hoorn

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Rider Experience

“I can remember one day in the Tour of Romandie that was really extreme. The photos—I am not someone who collects many photos—but those photos are legendary. And Liege-Bastogne-Liege—I think it was 2016—that was pretty extreme.” Koen Bouwman

Other Tricks for Riding in the Rain

Tyres

Reduce the amount of air in your tyres for better traction in the wet.

Glasses

Most riders will put bright lenses in their glasses, so they can see better in rainy conditions. Glasses do shield their eyes from water and dirt, but muck can collect on lenses over time, which makes seeing difficult. A good spray from a waterbottle usually clears them off pretty well. Trying to wipe them off in a race usually just smears the dirt around and makes it even harder to see. A cycling cap is the classic way to shield eyes from rain.

Mudguards

Saddle-mounted mudguards shield shorts from road spray. For winter training, most pros will ride with full fenders.

Warming-up

On cold, wet days, most riders will apply embrocation to their legs. This creates an oily barrier so water cannot penetrate their skin.

"If it’s dry, it’s always ok, but if it rains and it’s under five degrees, it’s always cold."

Amund Grøndahl Jansen

Rider Experience

“It is mostly a problem if it gets wet. Then, it’s really hard to stay warm. So it has to be waterproof, and stay waterproof for as long as possible. If it rains all day, you are going to get a bit wet, but if you can hold that off for as long as possible, that is something you can really benefit from. If the cold is getting at your body all day, your performance will really decrease. And if you can hold that point off for as long as possible and actually minimise its effect, it can make a real difference to your performance.” Taco van der Hoorn

Rain Jacket

Waterproof protection for the wettest days

Bib short

High-performance comfort

All weather jack

Protection against the wet

Process

Working with Team Jumbo-Visma’s riders and performance staff is central to AGU’s research and development strategy. Together, they have produced innovative gear for all of the wet-weather conditions that the team is likely to face. The riders have been testing their AGU kit on the road for months and have provided AGU’s designers with feedback to use for future versions, which will soon be available in stores for everyday riders.

"Rain gear is super important. I am someone who can handle it pretty well; I think better than the average rider in the peloton. But if you get really cold, and a chill sets into you—no athlete can perform then. That’s why rain gear is so important."

Koen Bouwman

Rider Experience

“One race that really stands out for me is last year’s Strade Bianche. It was in pretty unique conditions. It was snowing and raining all the days before. We thought: oh man, this is going to be a real cyclocross race almost, and it was. It reminded me of when I was a mountain bike racer—real muddy. It was important to have the right equipment and to stay warm the whole time. It was just a crazy day, with the dirty, wet roads. And yeah—it was cool.” Sepp Kuss

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Future Developments

AGU’s lightweight waterproof and water-resistant clothing is prepared for all manner of wet weather, from heavy storms to summery drizzle. AGU’s designers are now testing a range of advanced new fabrics and manufacturing processes to make it even lighter and more aerodynamic, so Team Jumbo-Visma’s riders can excel, whatever the conditions.

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