How the Velosense Formula 1 probe is helping Jumbo-Visma dominate time trialling

How the Velosense Formula 1 probe is helping Jumbo-Visma dominate time trialling

Ahead of the final period experiment of this year’s Tour de France, we want to look back to the first time trial, and specifically an aero sensor we spotted on Jonas Vingegaard’s Cervelo P5.

We spotted this sensor on Vingegaard’s bike as he headed out on the morning recon, and once again, as the group returned, crew machinists removed it from below the handlebars. Vingegaard went on to finish third in that time trial a few hours later, the first glimpse of his GC potential at this Tour de France. Check out our time trial tech gallery to see those photos. After several dialogues, we can now confirm the sensor is from VeloSense, aerodynamic sensor specialists in Formula One and cycling.

In short, it’s designed to measure aerodynamic drag, gust hastened, altitude, gale direction, and more in real occasion, which teams can then apply along with power and other data to optimise post, equipment, and pacing.

The Velosense Ventos is a wind acceleration, yaw slant and altitude measuring aero sensor.

Velosense is a British company set up by Formula One aerodynamicists Barnaby Garrood and John Buckley. Both males are keen cyclists and wanted to bring their aerodynamic expertise to the cycling world.

I spoke with Buckley, who substantiated the sensor on Vingegaard’s bike is from Velosense:” That is a kind of our Ventos sensors on a central mount. It assesses wind velocity, guidance, and altitude .”

The Ventos is a variant of Velosense’s patented Formula 1 aero probe.

According to the Velosense website, Buckley and Garrood started with their patented probe layout from their Formula 1 days, which measurements wind speed and yaw angles.

Yaw angle and accurate elevation have proved a challenge for aero sensor decorators and producers. The Ventos probe assesses yaw slant, and Velosense claims elevation accuracy is within 20 cm. The elevation accuracy is particularly important for an aerosensor to provide accurate CdA calculations and this grade of accuracy is almost unheard of.

A better photo of the Ventos on a hour experiment bicycle.

Although he couldn’t go into any specifics of work with teams, Buckley used to say ” We have been working with selected spouses to improve their performance, and in this case they are measuring the wind speed and future directions prior to the TT”

” The primary used to support the sensor is assessing aerodynamic drag( CdA ), but it can also map the wind speed and direction along a course to provide a team’s equestrians with detailed information about the wind around the course, highlighting any areas that might have increased breezes .”

The Ventos has three main uses;

Traverse lap testing: the rider completes an out and back loop starting and finishing at the same place. Velosense claims the ventos can quantify CdA with velodrome testing levels of accuracy. Snapshots: Velosense can analyse any session using an algorithm that automatically picks out suitable segments within a go to track a equestrians CdA and ability to maintain position throughout a journey. The algorithm checks airspeed, braking, cornering etc ., to find these segments and supply a snapshot of a rider’s CdA at multiple degrees in a ride. Realtime CdA and Poweradvantage: When paired with a compatible chief division, the Ventos can calculate and display “realtime” CdA. This real-time is actually a occasioned rolling average. Velosense currently recommends a 45 seconds average but are working on technology to get this down to simply 15 seconds.

Velosense also has ambitions to use GPS to create a section-based average. As information and communication technologies improves, the hope is that this section-based testing “shouldve been” similar accuracy to that of the traverse testing.

The Ventos also calculates what Velosense calls a rider’s Poweradvantage, employing airspeed and body point. This likens the rider’s current position to previously acquired statu data to estimate the number of watts a equestrian could gain or lose compared to the ” principle ” post.

Velosense shows this aspect could help equestrians determine whether an aero or upright post will be best on an uphill.

Buckley couldn’t go into too many specifics, but have been told that the Ventos pairs to another sensor from Velosense, the Zenith, to measure the rider’s head position, torso statu and if the rider is seated or stand. All this is used in calculating the Poweradvatnage metric.

Velosense believes pairing torso point and aero sensor data together will enable riders to perfect its own position, measurement how sustainable its own position is, and get a better understanding of how their body position affects aero drag.

While Buckley could not confirm who the selection of partners are, we can make a fairly good guess.

Velosense is currently simply supplying sensors to selected collaborators as it refines the final give, but its long term plan is to deliver affordable and accurate aero testing to the public.” Velosense’s objective is not just to measure a cyclists drag, but to combine knowledge of body position and drag to allow rider’s to ride more efficiently and comfortably ,” Buckley said.

” Our long term goal is to make a consumer machine that will make aero testing more affordable and efficient for competitive cyclists. Currently we are working with selected collaborators to improve rider performance and reduce wearines through our aerodynamic and figure sensors. I cannot disclose who we are working with, but I can confirm that sensor in the picture is a kind of our Ventos Aero Sensors .”

John Buckley

What is perhaps most interesting is that both Jumbo-Visma and Mercedes F1 teams are using variants of the Velosense probe, which speaks to Velosense’s experience in the aerodynamics realm. Jumbo-Visma has predominated period trialling this season, and Mercedes has won the last seven world championships.

It is expected that Jumbo-Visma will again use the sensor during recon ahead of Saturday’s TT. I questioned Buckley why the team would use the Ventos sensor on the morning of the first time trial, as it seemed unlikely the team would adjust rider outlooks so close to a Tour de France TT.

” The reason for extending a sensor on the recon lap on the day of the race is that it renders the team an accurate measurement of the wind speed and direction over the entire course” Buckley clarified.

Mechanics removed the Ventos from Vingegaard’s P5 immediately following the recon go.

Of course similar data is available with modern climate apps and a local weather station. Buckley explained” these published measurements are taken at 1.5 meters above the ground in a clear location. The local wind hasten and direction which the cyclist actually encounters at different locations on such courses can vary by up to 90 deg depending and half the acceleration.

” A simple example would be a road with builds along both sides. The breeze guidance must change for it to pass around the building. Therefore the wind in cities generally travels along the direction of the roads. The impression is called’ canalisation’ and can also occur with hills, valleys, hedgerows, etc .”

Buckley explained that Team Jumbo-Visma employs this information to create more detailed race strategies, relay the sector of unexpected wind changes or puffs in “todays opening”, and inform equipment selection decisions.

” During the preparations for the Velosense aero probe, we often learnt sharp-worded spikes in breeze which we initially attributed to hardware or software difficulties. When we mapped these spikes onto GPS we would usually find that they corresponds to gates in hedges or gaps between constructs. We are now able to provide wind information along an entire course demonstrating specific points where the wind speed may spike or the wind angle varies is important to note and the rider can approach those sections on the upwind side of the road, which reduces the chances of being blown off the road. If high winds are severe, a less aggressive wheel alternative may be selected .”

Buckley also clarified the team could use the data collected on the morning recon for correlation and analogy.” For climbers, watts per kilogram is the yardstick, for period trialists, it is watts vs CdA. Therefore in order for teams become competitive, they do not just need to know their riders ability on the day, but also to have some measure of their aerodynamic drag, as it often varies in races from training and the wind tunnel .”

I spoke to Mathieu Heijboer, head of performance at Jumbo-Visma for an upcoming Nerd Alert podcast and asked about about how the team uses the Velosense Ventos.

Heijboer recurred the value of creating a wind profile for a course on race period to inform wheel selection, and likewise explained how the team applied the Ventos to optimise Vingegaard’s time test post despite Covid-1 9 lockdowns in Denmark over the winter.

Somewhat surprisingly, Heijboer clarified Vingegaard has never been in a wind tunnel and was the fastest rider in the stage five time trial not to have optimised its own position in a gust passageway.

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