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In a futuristic setting in the Thialf stadium, the skaters of Team Jumbo-Visma conducted a successful test with a dynamic wind tunnel on Sunday 4 October. For the first time, the aerodynamics of a moving skater could be measured.
Skating positions are still surprisingly diverse. Wind tunnel measurements were previously done statically. A dynamic wind tunnel has been installed for this research. With a long tent placed over the skating rink, a tunnel has been created that was filled with smoke.
Red Bull Media House used innovative camera techniques and LED rays to make the air flows around the skaters visible. Coach Jac Orie can perfect the skating position on the basis of these images.
There is great enthusiasm about "Project Aero" with Orie. "We've had the idea of looking at aerodynamics in this way for years and Red Bull gives us the opportunity to do this", says coach Orie. "This gives a boost to the whole team. It doesn't stop with ideas, it can really be implemented."
When asked if Orie would like to indicate what they have achieved, he answers with a laugh: "No, I don't want to give that away. We have collected as much data as possible. The gentlemen who really understand aerodynamics can look further into that. But we can already see in certain positions it gives slightly other differences than I had thought. And those are very interesting starting points. Making progress and innovating, that's what we're doing."
Antoinette de Jong had to get used to the smoke-filled tunnel: "It was super cool. I thought it was exciting, because I am quite claustrophobic. Fortunately, we got some tips that I could focus on. I am always involved with technology in training. A coach can tell you from the sidelines how to do it technically, but with this you might see things in a different way. I'm really curious about the outcome."
Patrick Roest: "It was very cool. The first time took some getting used to. You enter the tunnel and smoke comes up. You won't see anything for a second. But really a nice experience. I think we can very well start to see what is the most aerodynamic. It is really nice that we can do this with Red Bull and I think we will become much wiser again."
Team Jumbo-Visma recently extended the contract with innovation partner Red Bull until April 2023.