Ineos Grenadiers’ new aero aficionado will bring F1 thinking to pro cycling

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You don’t have to be a nerd to ride a bike, but it helps.

This is certainly the case for Dan Bigham, the aero enthusiast and British hour record holder who has joined Ineos Grenadiers in the role of performance engineer.

With a degree in motorsport engineering and experience working with the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team as an aerodynamicist, Bigham comes to the Ineos Grenadiers backroom as the team looks to hold the wheels in the new world of grand tour racing.

“My role is to effectively apply all of the team’s collective knowledge and science of aerodynamics and equipment to the athletes, acting as a conduit,” Bigham said in a team statement this week. .

“I can speak in rider terminology because I race bikes, but I can also speak in aero and technical terminology and I can be the person who bridges the gap between the two, as well as working to meet the questions we currently don’t have answers to.. It could be anything from position optimization, helmets, clothing, tire selection, tire pressure choice, strategies pace to speed choices.

Read also : Dan Bigham breaks British hour record

Bigham, 30, is the latest new addition to the Ineos Grenadiers staff setup as she seeks to reclaim her place on the grand tour throne from Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič.

Sporting director Roger Hammond and former sailing staff member Ben Williams have also been brought in this winter, while longtime coach Tim Kerrison is out.

Just as Williams will bring skills from sailing, Bigham is set to bring intelligence from his Formula 1 experience. He has already spent time optimizing aerodynamics at Jumbo-Visma, Canyon SRAM and the Danish track team, and undoubtedly contributed to the composition. the hour world record of his partner Joss Lowden.

Having team boss Dave Brailsford now working in the Ineos sports empire means Bigham will be exposed to big thinking from the Mercedes motor racing team.

“Following Ineos’ investment in the Mercedes F1 team and the collaboration between sports at Ineos, the team was already starting to learn how F1 does things and it made them realize that there were some potential gaps around race engineering, knowledge translation, and also orienting it to the athlete – telling them why they should be doing things,” he said.

Wind tunnel testing and the search for faster components and garments are nothing new in the pro peloton.

Read also : Bernal fine-tunes TT position in high-tech lab this offseason

Egan Bernal has already been busy storing his time trial in a lab in Germany as he hopes to tame TT heavyweights Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič in the Tour de France. But Bigham plans to increase saddle pressure mapping, body sensors and CdA measurements even further.

“There will be a lot of different areas opening up as we go along,” he said. “The time trial will lead the way and that’s a bit obvious because there’s always work to be done there, but hopefully we can also bring the same mentality and approach to racing on road.”

Bigham has already started working with Ineos Grenadiers during his December camp and will continue to do so until 2022 while competing in time trials and completing another hour record race. He will have to be careful not to give Filippo Ganna too much advice in advance.

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