David Millar’s prototype aero helmet

David Millar sported an aero helmet on the final stage of the Tour de France. I’m far from a gear expert but I thought I’d bring together a few thoughts on it.

David Millar - Tour de France, stage 21
pic © Team Garmin-Cervélo
click through for their flickr photos of the Tour

The helmet caused plenty of reaction on twitter, initially with people wondering who the rider was and whether it was an aero or track helmet – “WTF?”, if you like. Screenshots from Eurosport and itv4 were posted.

Even amongst pros, one of the prevailing feelings is that out-and-out aero kit during a road stage is not the done thing. “Like turning up to an amateur race in a skinsuit and not even getting in the break” someone said.

However this is nothing new for Garmin- the lines between road race clothing and TT clothing are beginning to blur, with garments like Castelli’s speedsuit, worn to vitory at the Paris-Roubaix this year, coming in.

Previously we have seen Millar modelling the ‘bat wing skinsuit‘ – a garment by Pearl Izumi that featured a ‘winged sleeve’ around the underarm. Incidentally Pearl Izumi is now suing Garmin over these suits.

Riders may use TT overshoes on a day when they’re looking to get in a break, and ‘aero road’ bikes like Cervelo’s S series, Specialized’s Venge or Felt’s AR series are becoming more and more common.

According to a tweet from cervelo, it’s not a TT helmet, but a prototype ‘sprinter’ helmet from Giro. It will be interesting to see if aero helmet become the norm in the pro race peloton or if something like this would only be suitable for a crit or flat stage in cool conditions.

I suspect that the wearing of this helmet was as much (if not more) about gaining a bit of publicity for Giro than performance. Garmin didn’t win on the Champs Elysees, but placed Farrar 4th, behind a perfectly-led out Mark Cavendish.