Newly named Team DSM - formerly Team Sunweb - is set to launch an all-new clothing brand, named after the team's ethos, Keep Challenging.
Keep Challenging Clothing is borne out of a partnership between the newly named Team DSM, the expertise from its new title sponsor, and longtime clothing manufacturer BioRacer.
The brand will first set about creating a complete line of performance wear for the team, a line which according to DSM's research and development expert Piet Rooijakkers, spans upwards of 45 different products, from training jerseys, jackets and shorts, to race jerseys and time trial suits. Once the team kit is ready, a replica will be made available to the public, and a subsequent programme of integrating the technologies into a publically available range of clothing will begin.
The task of getting the entire range ready in time for January is already underway, and the team is looking to BioRacer, long time custom clothing manufacturer, to take advantage of the brand's BioEfficiency, BioComfort and BioRegulation technologies and ensure products are delivered within the required timeframe to the desired levels of quality.
One of the main focuses of the new brand will be to utilise and showcase the technologies created by Royal DSM, which include integrating Dyneema fabrics into the clothing to improve abrasion resistance in the event of a crash, as well as Arnitel materials, which help with thermoregulation. Team Sunweb's former kit supplier, Craft, was the first to use this Dyneema technology in the WorldTour, and Keep Challenging Clothing's aim is to integrate Dyneema materials into more areas of the clothing items, as well as more items across the product range, further increasing safety and reducing the recovery time for a crashed rider.
"In close collaboration with DSM and Bioracer, our new racewear will facilitate better performance," explained Team DSM’s Head of Science, Narelle Neumann. "By stepping away from commercial brands and using new cutting-edge technologies, simply put, we want to produce the very best and fastest race clothing for our riders - without compromises. We are confident that this is a step that will definitely deliver a competitive gain.”
In addition, as part of the team's new identity, Team DSM is hoping this new partnership can convince other teams, kit manufacturers, and ultimately the UCI that the technology can help improve the safety of racewear across the entire peloton.
“Safety is our top priority and a value I know we share with the team," added DSM Co-CEO Dimitri de Vreeze. "The pioneering use of the protective material Dyneema® into cycling wear has helped the team to reduce abrasion injuries. We’re excited to continue this focus with Team DSM and to integrate even more cutting-edge technologies into their race apparel to improve both rider safety and performance"
According to Rooijakkers, the benefits of having an in-house clothing brand is an increase in flexibility, as well as the ability to continually evolve technologies as the season progresses. While he admits there won't be a custom sizing process, Team DSM will be able to tailor-make clothing to the demands of an event or a rider, instead of being limited to two or three jerseys from a predefined range. Furthermore, as new aerodynamic efficiencies are achieved, any newly improved kit can be rolled out immediately, instead of waiting for the following season.
The team has already shown off some of its new kit - which sees a complete colour change - along with the team's new Scott Addict RC race bike. The 2020 season's kit has been predominantly white with two black 'Keep Challenging' stripes, whereas for 2021, the base colour switches to black and those stripes transition to blue.
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