Performance Process newsletter: Stefan Küng and the future of time trialling

All that's new in the world of tech and the Ultra-Cool Tech cooling towel reviewed.

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Hey folks! Back with another PP newsletter. Let’s kick it off with …

Weekly “gainz”

🚲 ICYMI this week we published an exclusive behind the scenes look at Wilier’s race to create the new Supersonica SLR TT bike for Stefan Küng.

🇨🇭Speaking of Küng, he is the guest for this week’s Performance Process podcast you’ll find at the end of this newsletter.

🕵️ In other performance and tech news, Filippo Ganna was spotted training on a new Pinarello Bolide TT bike tech, we found something fishy about Jan-Willem van Schip’s latest disqualification.

🍴 Fox fork prototype spotted! Paris-Roubaix elicits the same question for many every year: “If suspension could be aero, would it be faster?” Clearly someone at Fox had a similar thought for Unbound Gravel and worked something up for Andrew Lespy. The “RAD” decal is Fox’s “this is a prototype” branding and so while there are no details of what exactly is going on here, Fox has clearly either added an aero profile to the lowers and/or is hiding something, plus they’ve managed to integrate the front brake hose, routing it through the steerer and out the underside of the crown.

🕹️ Bianchi Arcadex – Bianchi has a new Arcadex and it’s not a monstrosity … unlike its predecessor. Apologies to Arcadex owners and fans, but look at this new bike; it’s a Bianchi beauty. Perfectly timed to highlight why Fox may want internal hoses on a gravel suspension fork and why such routing is so popular despite all the extra faff: Just look at that lasso-like front brake hose.

It’s not just the Arcadex aesthetics that get an update; the new bike also features clearance for up to 50 mm tyres, a new down tube storage compartment, and internal cable/hose routing.

The new bike is available with rigid or suspension forks and with either SRAM’s Apex/GX AXS or mechanical Apex or Shimano GRX builds. Full technical specs at

🛞 DT Swiss has expanded its aero road wheelset offering with new ARC 1100 DICUT 38 and ARC 1400 DICUT 38. The new wheelsets are now the lightest in the ARC ranges with claimed weight for the 1100 spec sitting at 1,292 grams. Both wheelsets avail of the same hooked, 38 mm deep / 20 mm inner / 26 mm outer rim. The main difference is in the spoke and hub spec with the 1100 wheels built around DT’s 180 hub (with SINC ceramic bearings) while the 1400 gets the 240 hub. More info at

🥸 Parcours – Speaking of new wheels, “friend of the Collective” Joe Laverick was spotted racing Unbound Gravel with a prototype wheelset from British brand Parcours. Judging by the fit of those 47 mm Specialized Pathfinders, these look like some WIDE rims!

📱Zwift was, then wasn’t, now kind of is again doing a “smart bike” trainer. The virtual riding platform this week unveiled its “Zwift Ride,” basically a trainer-specific, bike-shaped object offering designed to offer a simple and “always-ready” indoor setup with the need to add and remove your regular outdoor bike.

The Ride package currently includes a Kickr Core trainer, Zwift Cog (single speed jobby), and upgraded Zwift Play controllers now incorporated into a full lever. The bike features extensive adjustability, fitting riders varying from 152-198 cm with saddle heights from 61-87 cm (center bottom bracket to top of saddle) and carrying a maximum 120 kg weight limit.

Shane Miller and Ray Maker have more details on their GP Lama and DC Rainmaker YouTube channels.

🐎 Fizik has a new 3D-printed take on its ever-popular Aliante sadddle. Describing the Aliante as an “endurance saddle,” Fizik claims to have incorporated “multiple functional zones within the saddle” and an overall “flatter surface” for better pressure distribution and “slightly wider platform to support the ischial bones … for improved stability and weight distribution during extended rides.”

The Aliante Adaptive is available in either 145 mm or 155 mm widths and an R1 version with carbon rails or R3 version with Kium hollow ti alloy rails. More at

🚀 In bad news for time trial riders’ wallets Wattshop has new Anemoi MKII TT extensions. The updated extensions follow the UCI’s decision to permit larger extension profile cross sections and a development process spanning some 40 different profile designs.

The result looks similar to the existing MK1 to the uninitiated, but Wattshop claims the updated one offers enhanced customisation options, greater adjustment windows, and of course improved aerodynamics. There are also new handgrip designs, neater-integrating fixed angled risers, and new computer mounts … all things I felt could be improved on the MKI extensions. Details at

😎 Ceramic Speed OSPW Aero – the fastest way to demonstrate a considerable investment in marginal gains has just got a little more durable with the addition of CeramicSpeed’s Alpha Disc solid pulley wheels straight from the brand’s off-road offering with a narrow-wide profile and composite construction said to improve wear rate and reduce noise. The OSPW Aero also gets CeramicSpeed’s Active Debris Remover (ADR) which encloses the bearings to help reduce or eliminate debris ingress, while grooves in the dust cover are said to reduce buildup. Any increased durability and perhaps reduction in service intervals is a welcome thing given the frequency with which I’ve found myself maintaining the OSPW bearings and the fiddly process that entails. Tech info at

Performance modelling aka a mini-review – Ultra Cool Tech cooling towel

The image shows the Ultra Cool Tech towel on a handlebar

Yesterday we covered the potential marginal chills on offer with new cooling products from Ultra Cool Tech and I’ve had the cooling towel for a few months now.

Designed for use in training, pre-cooling during warm-ups, and post-race cool-downs, it’s like a regular towel but cooler when wet; surprisingly so, in fact. At US$16.50 / €15 / £12.50 / AU$24 it’s also by a large margin the most affordable product in UCT’s current lineup.

It features a chamois-like texture and offers the same water-activated cooling properties as the Glacier bar tape and vest. It also comes with its own storage container, making it easier to transport without soaking the rest of your kit bag and to store between use without it drying into a crisp sheet. Storing a towel wet seems like a recipe for mold, but I’ve had my test towel since January. I wash it regularly and store damp in the container and have noticed no detectable issues.

I’ve used it mostly for indoor training rides and TT warm-ups (and more frequently in a bid to give my daughter some cool relief from eczema flare-ups.) It pretty much does what it says on the tin, delivering a surprising degree of cooling sensation. That cooling sensation does quickly diminish, but UCT claims the cooling value remains with the wet towel still drawing heat out of the body even when the body no longer senses it.

That said, if the towel (or the bar tape and vest for that matter) do entirely dry out their thermal cooling effect will then die off. Ultra claims a quick water top-up will reactivate the cooling, which it does, but given the body has already grown accustomed to the cooling effect, it never quite provides that initial chilling sensation again in the same ride.

The cooling towel is now my go-to option for indoor training rides. While I can’t put a wattage number on the benefit, the cooling sensation is so much more refreshing than a regular towel for mid-Alpe du Zwift face or forehead wipe, or just covering your neck throughout.

As you’d expect, such use means it requires a wash post-ride and UCT recommends hand washing up to 30° for both the towel and vest using gentle sanitiser or even dishwasher soap rather than warmer temps or stronger products.

All told, I’ll probably buy myself another couple towels to have for regular indoor riding and other uses, and I’m hopeful UCT can provide both the tape and vest for more in-depth reviews of each.

Finally, the pod

Finally, this week’s Performance Process podcast is a TT special with none other than Stefan Küng. We ask the former European and Swiss TT champion if “watt monsters” are an endangered species in time trialling, if he is actually a TT specialist, and if time trialling is now just an arms race and too dangerous. Plus, we get an update on his lost wedding ring.

The image shows Stefan Kung.

Until next time …

That’s all folks! All that’s left to say is thank you for reading the newsletter, listening to Performance Process and an extra thanks to all of you who have signed up already as Escape Collective members.

Sign up here to get future editions of this newsletter and others from the Escape Collective network straight into your email inbox.

Until next time … Trust the process.

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