Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) took the second WorldTour race victory of the season on tubeless tyres at the Tour of California on Wednesday, as teams and brands continue to test the technology in the professional peloton. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) was the first WorldTour race winner on tubeless wheels and tyres when he won Gent-Wevelgem in March.
Deceuninck-QuickStep’s technical partner and tyre provider Specialized revealed that Jakobsen’s win followed an earlier puncture, which was subsequently sealed using latex sealant inside the tyre.
Tubeless tyres are used in conjunction with a tubeless-ready wheelset, where the bead of the tyre locks into the rim, removing the need for an inner tube and offering a simpler setup and similar weight to tubular tyres. Tubular tyres have been used in cycling for around 100 years and see the tube glued to the rim of the wheel. The setup can be time consuming and expensive for teams as more wheels needed and riders prefer to race on tubular tyres because of their low rolling resistance and because they can continue riding after a puncture.
Tubeless tyres can also be used with various types of flexible liquid sealant on the inside of the tyre so when a puncture occurs, the tyre can often be sealed quickly and automatically without the need for a tyre or wheel change and only a small loss of tyre pressure.
Tubeless technology has been used in cars for decades – albeit without sealant – and more recently in mountain biking. As the technology has advanced, improving reliability, lowering weight and better preventing the tyre coming off of the rim, tubeless tyres are being used more and more in cycling.
In a press release from Specialized, the brand said: “Specialized firmly believes the future of road tyre technology, both racing at the highest level and for every rider, is tubeless. The speed, handling, comfort and flat protection on tubeless tyres is a benefit for every rider and something our athletes believe win as much as we do.”
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