Are these Team GB's new Olympic skinsuits?

Patented technology is helping to reduce drag, whilst paper thin material keeps riders cool

Great Britain's Emma Finucane takes part in the women's Elite Sprint final race at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow
(Image credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

British Cycling has been trialing a range of new track skinsuits at the UCI World Championships in Glasgow. With all equipment due to be used at the 2024 Olympics required to make a public showing one year in advance, it seems likely that the kit is something we'll be seeing on the boards in Paris. 

The new suits - designed by Kalas and in partnership with Silverstone-based aero experts Vorteq - are being worn to great effect. At the time of writing the British team sit atop both the para and non-para medal tables, having won 18 golds in the para events and five in non-para events including the women’s madison, team pursuit and sprint as well as silver medals in the men’s madison and the individual pursuit. 

The suits are among over 20 that British Cycling has registered with the UCI for use at the Worlds, with the most prevalent the Project 1.0 It’s being worn by several members of the endurance and sprint squads, including Elinor Barker and Neah Evans, who secured gold in the Madison, and Dan Bigham, who finished second behind Filippo Ganna in the men’s individual pursuit. 

Paper thin to the point of translucency, the Project 1.0 suit fits like cling film and features ribbed lines that run down the back and the sleeves - patented technology that helps to reduce drag. 

Previously, riders wore ribbed undershirts to achieve the same effect, but by incorporating the aero properties directly into the suit, Kalas has likely been able to both save weight and improve fit. In fact, Will Perrett, who came fifth in the Points race, credited the thin fabric with keeping him cool during bunch races.

Silver medalist Daniel Bigham of United Kingdom celebrates winning during the medal ceremony after the men's elite individual pursuit finals at the 96th UCI Glasgow 2023 Cycling World Championships

(Image credit: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

After picking up his silver medal Bigham, a performance engineer for Ineos Grenadiers, credited British Cycling for its clothing innovation. 

"There are a few little upgrades from last year that are moving forward," the 31-year-old said. "I don't know how much I'm allowed to talk about all this stuff, I'll probably get shot afterwards. To be honest, British Cycling, GB, all their partners, they're doing a lot, [and it's] genuinely impressive.

"I know historically GB used to get a lot of criticism for not having up to spec kit ready for Worlds. They'd come here and finish fifth or sixth, then go to the Olympics and walk away with it. Whereas now I think we're on par [with the other countries]."

Certainly the impressive medal tally would substantiate his claim.

The Project 1.0 isn’t the only new suit we’ve spotted at the track. Both Will Tidball and Katy Marchant wore completely different looking suits, which to the eye appeared much thicker with a distinctive high collar and a wavy-lined texture. We’re unsure of the science behind these properties, but with 23-year-old Tidball winning gold in the men’s Scratch race, the suit appears to be working.

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well as a regular road and gravel rider. 

With contributions from