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Dauphiné Libéré
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Giro's ATMOS debuts at 2003 Tour de France

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Lance's new lid
Photo: © CN
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Giro's new ATMOS helmet has made its worldwide debut at this year's Centenary Tour De France, being worn by the US Postal-Berry Floor and Rabobank teams during the opening stages.

"ATMOS is a working prototype", explained Giro's senior sports marketing manager Toshi Corbet. Giro was kind enough to allow Cyclingnews a peek at Giro's innovative new helmet. However, Corbet stressed that the ATMOS was still a just a working prototype, not a production model and that the commercialisation of this new Giro helmet was well in the future.

"Our main objectives with the ATMOS were focused on reducing the weight, while maintaining or even improving the performance and strength", said Corbet. "But with the new UCI helmet mandate, we went back to the development cycle to further improve the passive ventilation of the ATMOS."

Cobert described that the effect of active ventilation was due to the speed of the airflow from the rider's progress, but with further wind tunnel research, Giro has been able to enable the ATMOS prototype vent more efficiently at lower speeds, such as when climbing l'Alpe d'Huez. "We belive that the ATMOS prototype is the most efficiently ventilated helmet on the market."

Rabobank has them too
Photo: © CN
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Besides a target weight that's 15-20% lower than Giro's current PNEUMO model, ATMOS sports a unique evolution of Giro's internal roll cage design. "Giro has eliminated the front 'strap bones' where the webbing is attached on the PNEUMO and we are incorporating the webbing into the helmet structure to reduce weight," said Corbet. "Additionally, we've upgraded the roll cage by using carbon fiber inserts that reduce the weight and increase the strength."

Look for Lance Armstrong and the USPS-Berry Floor squad, as well as Giro's other TDF squads to have the new Giro's new ATMOS helmet prototype.