Chris Froome has confirmed he is happy to wear a yellow skinsuit provided by the Tour de France organisers even though it does not include the aerodynamic vortex generating technology that reportedly helped him gain precious seconds on his rivals in the opening Dusseldorf time trial.
Team Sky have confirmed that other riders in the team will use the Castelli skinsuit that angered some rivals teams at the start of this year's Tour de France. Team Sky placed four riders in the top eight in Dusseldorf. Geraint Thomas won the 14km time trial and pulled on the first yellow jersey, while Froome gained more than half a minute on his principal rivals.
FDJ coach Fred Grappe immediately questioned the legality of the textured patterns on the shoulders and upper arms of the skinsuit. Citing a study into the use of such vortex generators, Grappe estimated that riders using the skinsuits might have gained between 18 and 25 seconds as result. Team Sky insisted the skinsuit was legal because the vortex generators were integrated into the material. The UCI race commissaires agreed and allowed the results of the time trial to stand.
The UCI were reportedly investigating Grappe's claims as the Tour de France went on but confirmed to Cyclingnews that Team Sky's skinsuit, and those of other teams, are compliant with the UCI rules.
"The various skinsuits used in this year's Tour de France have already been used in other races this year. They have been checked by UCI Commissaires and were found to be compliant with our regulations," the UCI told Cyclingnews.
Froome would no doubt have preferred to wear his sponsor’s skinsuit but under UCI rules he is obliged to wear one provided by the race organiser.
Made to measure by Le Coq Sportif, Cyclingnews understands that four tailors and designers will meet with Froome and Team Sky before the time trial to ensure his skinsuit fits perfectly. The other special classification jersey wearers will be given similar made-to-measure treatment. Riders and teams are often concerned that an ill-fitting skinsuit can cost them valuable seconds and even spark saddle sores and have occasionally provided skinsuits in the colours of race leaders' jersey.
Froome is expected to extend his lead in the Tour de France during Saturday's 22.5km time trial around Marseille but Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) are both within 30 seconds of the Briton in the overall standings. The Castelli skinsuit could have helped him earn extra seconds on his close rivals.
Froome brushed of any polemic about being obliged to use the yellow skinsuit provided by Le Coq Sportif.
"It's an honour to be in yellow at this point in the race. I wouldn't want to be in any other position and be trying to make up time on leader of race," he said.
"I've ridden in the skinsuit provided by race organisers almost every year and it's not been a problem. At the end of the day it's all about the legs."