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Eight Grand Tour wins and counting: The lubes behind the results

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Eight Grand Tour wins and counting: The lubes behind the results

Thousands of hours of testing.
Countless prototype formulas.
Eight Grand Tour victories.
Two race-winning chain lubes.

Tao Geoghegan Hart’s Giro d’Italia success adds another Grand Tour victory to the palmares of Muc-Off’s longest and most successful pro team partnership.

From the very beginning of our relationship with Team Sky, now INEOS Grenadiers, we’ve been hard at work to keep them running as smoothly as possible. Muc-Off Hydrodynamic and Nanotube lubes have got the job done, time after time, in the world’s toughest bike races.

Our very first task with Team Sky was to show that our chain lube was the real deal. We knew it was, but this famously data-driven team wanted numbers to prove it. Our solution? To design and build a sophisticated test rig from scratch. Enter C.L.O.D, our Chain Lube Optimisation Dynamometer. This award-winning machine lets us test and measure any combination of chain and lubricant.

Crucially, it gave us quantifiable data on power output during the development of our Hydrodynamic Lube, the first big hit for Muc-Off and Team Sky.

"I was very vocal about what we wanted to test and how we wanted to test it, especially at the beginning of the partnership. It’s all well and good to test a chain running smoothly on a dyno, but we wanted to test it under load. That’s a very different measurement to simply turning a chain around a sprocket.

From there, we’ve just kept developing. To be really honest, to this day Muc-Off is pretty much the only set-up that has solid numbers. There’s a lot of marketing and a lot of hot air out there. You’re told that a chain will save you 14 watts when you know there’s less than 14 watts of resistance in the whole drivetrain!" Carsten Jeppesen, Head Of Technical Operations & Commercial, INEOS Grenadiers

Our partnership with Muc-Off is an excellent case study, not only for how we operate as a team but also for how they operate as a company

Carsten Jeppesen, Head Of Technical Operations & Commercial, INEOS Grenadiers

The development of our Hydrodynamic lube included 426 days of formulation and thousands of test miles logged by passionate, real-world riders inside the company. Only then did we supply the prototype lubes to Team Sky, allowing their world-class athletes to put our sample formulas to the test. Finally, each of the prototypes spent a further 300 hours on the C.L.O.D to get the data needed for the final formula.

After 11 rounds of testing – and over 18,000 miles in the legs of Team Sky riders - we hit a top-notch formula.

Bradley Wiggins, 2014

While Team Sky didn’t win a Grand Tour in 2014, the first year of our partnership, we did gain valuable data on how to make even more efficient lubes in the future. Fast forward (smoothly, of course) to 2020, and we’ve again been a huge part of the team’s success. They’ve achieved eight of their 11 Grand Tour victories with our Hydrodynamic and Nanotube lubes and treated chains.

Five overall victories at the Tour de France, two overall victories at the Giro d’Italia and one overall victory at the Vuelta a España make an emphatic case for our partnership with Britain’s only UCI WorldTour team.

Modern cycling is all about what we call marginal gains. You have to look into every specific detail to find savings. Of course, if you can reduce friction, it's another way of saving energy.

In a time-trial, you can win a race by a fraction of second.

In a stage race, it's often about laying the foundations for a GC victory. Every second counts in our job. It's very important to look into every detail.

Christian Knees, Rider, INEOS Grenadiers

Gains are what we’ve produced: sometimes marginal, but often massive. In 2014, testing proved our Hydrodynamic Lube 15.5% more efficient than our C3 Wet lube and 27% more efficient than a competitor’s premium option.

Every year, we look to squeeze even more performance out of our lubes for INEOS Grenadiers, leaving them to concentrate on what they do best - winning Grand Tours.

Muc-Off are super open to feedback. I’ve always found them unbelievably helpful. You can’t ask more from a sponsor than that they’re willing to listen. For example, they’ve been working on a slight modification to the Hydrodynamic lube. They send us tests and samples and invite us to offer feedback.

Jeff Crombie, Service Course Mechanic, INEOS Grenadiers

At Muc-Off, we refused to believe that Sky was the limit. Egan Bernal’s 2019 Tour de France victory – the team’s first in INEOS colours and the seventh for our partnership - felt like the start of a new chapter. Now Tao’s triumph at the Giro d’Italia has added new pages to a story of unbroken success. As we write, Richie Carapaz leads the Vuelta a España. The wins keep coming, along with our ground-breaking formulas. Here’s to another eight Grand Tour victories for Muc-Off and INEOS Grenadiers.

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