SPECIAL
Pour l’amour
du Grand Départ
July, 2022
Pour l’amour <br>du Grand Départ
The first time at the Tour de France with Movistar Team: all the excitement about reaching an ambitious goal.
The intense heat, the Alpe d'Huez, the Pyrenees, and then Paris: summer and the Tour de France are almost synonymous, it's the race children want to run once they turn pro. Being at the start of the biggest cycling competition in the world with a World Tour team isn't just a goal, it's a dream come true. Giuliano Ragazzi and Yurika Marchetti - the Founders of La Passione - together with Alberto Bianchi - Head of Product - talk about the excitement of the first Grand Boucle and the product studies that have helped them to become high performers on this international stage.
Making history
On the eve of the departure of the Tour de France from Copenhagen, a young brand like La Passione finds itself facing an important chapter in its existence.
Giuliano Ragazzi describes this ambitious project as follows: “We've only been in existence for a few years and it was almost unthinkable to imagine getting to this point in such a short time, yet we have managed to achieve this important goal. It is a source of great pride for us to know that we will have a World Tour team participating in the competition, aiming for excellent results in terms of the overall standings.”
We've only been in existence for a few years and it was almost unthinkable to imagine getting to this point in such a short time, yet we have managed to achieve this important goal. It is a source of great pride for us to know that we will have a World Tour team participating in the competition, aiming for excellent results in terms of the overall standings.
“The Tour de France offers unique media exposure,”  says Yurika Marchetti. “Competing in this race allows you to make your brand known to an huge audience. It's the only race that is actually covered by television, radio and the newspapers of all nations and the number of guests and people who follow the stages of the race every day is impressive. These are just a few details that give a real sense of how the Tour is an important event, even for those who, like us, participate as sponsors and technical partners.”
Developing the product to the highest level
In recent years in professional cycling, almost frantic research has been carried out on the aerodynamic aspects of technical clothing. Participating in a Grand Tour, however, requires a balanced mix of small details designed to perfection.
“The main requirements of professional teams are centered around aerodynamics,” Giuliano explains. “I agree with this, of course, but we shouldn't forget that in the big stage races, there are significant changes in altitude, where - especially in the Tour de France - the main problem we have to deal with is the excessive heat. For example, numerous editions have climbed the iconic Mont Ventoux climb, which is also famous for not having even an inch of road in the shade. Normally, these stages are raced in temperatures approaching forty degrees Celcius, and in these cases, aerodynamics takes a back seat to the need for high levels of perspiration and the ability to maintain the athlete's body at an acceptable temperature level as much as possible. Descents also require special consideration, where there is a need to stay well-covered while maintaining a proper aerodynamic profile during the rather high speeds that are reached.”
Over three weeks, weather conditions and physical conditions can vary drastically, which is why product development focuses on the need for excellence, in order to best respond in a focused and high-performance way to the uncertainty of a major stage race.
“Time trials are another factor that shouldn't be underestimated,”  Yurika adds. “If, as it will be in this year's edition, we're dealing with long courses, it's easier to spread out the seconds for technical reasons, so the study obviously has to be as detailed as possible for all items, without leaving anything out. Everything matters in the pursuit of those important marginal gains that have now become so crucial in cycling.”
Managing the time
We have now reached such a high level of performance that a Grand Tour, like the Tour de France, can be lost by just a few seconds. This is why time management is so crucial. During these three weeks, the individual time trial plays a key role, and this year, it will be long and demanding.
“Several different prototypes of bodysuits have been tested with different parameters to verify the actual improvement in aerodynamics” explains Alberto Bianchi, Head of Product at La Passione. “As a result of these tests and the feedback received from the riders, we have achieved some really high-performance results. Thanks to all these observations, we're also working on new developments that specifically affect the waistband, neckline and back yoke that will then be incorporated into future La Passione products.”
Another great adventure is upon us and expectations are high, especially in terms of excitement.
“The results are important, of course,” says Giuliano Ragazzi, “but what really makes us happy is knowing that athletes feel comfortable wearing our clothing, in any conditions. We love cycling and we feel that what we do every day is our mission. What are you looking forward to? Lots of entertainment and fun, and an unforgettable experience”.