PTV Tour de France

Tour de France: German F1-Technology helps André Greipel

André Greipels latest victories in the Tour de France are supported by Formula 1 technology July 24, 2015 - Bike and clothing of André Greipel in the Tour de France is developed by means of German technology also used in Formula 1. During wind tunnel measurements at the Technical University in Dresden  (Germany) the same technology Formula 1 teams use to develop their racing cars, was used to analyze the performance of bike and helmet. This measurement technique is called Particle Image Velocimetry (developed by ILA GmbH) not only allows visualizing the airflow around the bike and rider, but also accurately measures the flow in detail. Development engineers use these results to optimize the performance of bike and clothing and help André Greipel in this way to reach new sportive achievements.

Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is an optical measurement technique. Small particles are illuminated by means of a powerful laser. The movement of these particles is recorded by a sensitive camera, a special version of the pco.edge 5.5. Finally, a dedicated software package can accurately calculate the direction and speed of the flow.

This PIV technique, developed by the German company ILA GmbH, has been used successfully for several years by leading Formula 1 teams to optimize the performance of their racing cars. It has become a standard part of the wind tunnel. In F1, every hundredth of a second can decide on the pole position. In cycling, improvements in efficiency of bike and helmet for example can give the rider the extra energy reserves he needs at the end of the stage to take the win.

At the start of 2015, PIV was also used in a joint project set-up by Flanders´ Bike Valley in Belgium. This allows the manufacturers of bikes and clothing to come together and optimize their product range. In this case, parts of the bike (Ridley Bikes) and the helmet (Lazer Sport) of André Greipel were measured and analyzed by the ILA PIV system. The development engineers of Ridley and Lazer Sport used these results to further improve the performance and help Greipel in this year’s edition of the Tour de France. The measurement system is a cutting edge technology for sports aerodynamics. In the near future the objective is to perform more measurements which exactly represent professionals and semi-professionals in order to adjust wear, helmet and bike.

Bert Celis, coordinator Flanders’ Bike Valley: “The know-how of Flemish Companies regarding aerodynamics and cycling technology is worldwide leading edge, but was until now rather divided. Each company had their own knowledge about their own product range. For the first time in history this know how was grouped during one week for joint tests. Together with the expertise of Euregional partners like ILA this resulted in the ideal cocktail for innovations…” Toon Wils, Engineer Ridley Bikes: “It is very interesting to participate in tests of other cycling products and to learn from each other. Most of all the cyclist benefits from a total approach where every detail is fine-tuned and fitted within a total mind blowing concept.”

Source: ILA, Frank Michaux