Rudy Project, manufacturer of technologically advanced cycling helmets, performance and casual eyewear and Rx/prescription sunglass solutions, continues to build on the company’s power position in the triathlon space. The signing of IRONMAN® 70.3® Champion Sarah Piampiano as well as several other recent additions to an alreadyimpressive roll call of top-tier athletes, along with the brand’s scientifically engineered new product offerings and an array of strategic partnerships, positions the company as a dominant force and dynamic player in the triathlon marketplace in advance of the 2014 race season.
Piampiano’s path to professional triathlete took a few unique twists. Her early years were devoted to ski racing in the downhill and Super G events–wherein she gained invaluable experience learning to fearlessly descend at high speeds and comfortably battle cross winds. She then tackled a career in international finance, working upwards of 100 hours a week, before shifting gears to take up the swim/bike/run trifecta. “Rudy Project was actually one of the first helmets I rode in when I started doing triathlon as an amateur, and I always loved how comfortable and secure the helmet felt,” said Piampiano. “When I began racing professionally I was working with another helmet brand, but my teammate, Emma-Kate Lidbury, was always raving about Rudy Project products. When the opportunity came up to give them a try I jumped at the chance and was not disappointed. Their glasses are amazing! The Hypermask [the predecessor to 2014’s new Airblast] is my favorite for riding, with a larger lens that gives you greater peripheral vision. I’ve also been impressed by how well they stay in place. It can be so frustrating and distracting when glasses slide down the bridge of my nose, particularly on the bike, but Rudy glasses stay put perfectly. It’s one less thing to worry about!”
Piampiano is an up and coming talent with one IRONMAN® 70.3® title (New Orleans 2012) to date and, based on a strong 2013 season and a second-place finish at IRONMAN® 70.3® Pucon to kick off 2014, many more in her promising future. Fresh off an intense training camp on Hawaii’s Big Island, Piampiano had this to say about putting Rudy Project products to the test on the IRONMAN® World Championship course:
“In hotter conditions I find that some aero-helmets don’t provide good side ventilation and airflow to help keep core temperature under control. I love how Rudy Project’s aero helmets incorporate ventilation and airflow around the head while maintaining aerodynamics. That is a big factor for me when choosing helmets, and it’s great that Rudy offers a product that is ideal for hot weather races. Plus with the new Wing57 helmet’s visor and different tail options they are really differentiating themselves! The helmets are also incredibly comfortable, and I particularly like the brightly-colored options because of how they increase rider visibility to motorists. I’m a big, big fan!”
Rudy Project’s full lineup of professional triathletes highlights a number of top talents from around the globe, an initiative spearheaded by newly appointed Global Sponsorship Director for Triathlon, Chris Lupo, a six-year veteran of the brand. Recent signings include IRONMAN® 70.3® US Pro Champion Kevin Collington, ITU World Duathlon Champion turned long-course triathlete Leon Griffin, IRONMAN® Champion Dede Griesbauer and USAT Age Grouper of the Year turned professional Mandy McLane. Veterans of Team Rudy Project include a duo of world champions–2012 IRONMAN® World Champion Pete Jacobs and 2007 IRONMAN® 70.3® World Champion Andy Potts. The roster boasts a wealth of IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3® Champions and podium regulars–Meredith Kessler, Mary Beth Ellis, Rebekah Keat, Caitlin Snow, Amanda Stevens and Emma-Kate Lidbury on the women’s side and Joe Gambles, Tyler Butterfield, Richie Cunningham, Matt Reed and Tim Reed on the men’s side among them–as well as short-course standout stars Cameron Dye, Matt Chrabot and Sarah Haskins. Olympic Silver Medalist and 2006 IRONMAN® World Champion Michellie Jones continues in her long-standing role as a premier Rudy Project spokeswoman.
“The fact that these athletes have chosen to represent Rudy Project speaks to the endless efforts of our product development team,” said Lupo, “As these are individuals that seek out every possible technological advantage in pursuit of their dreams. It’s an honor to work with such an array of talent–athletes that not only succeed across all distances in the sport, but that also serve as eager ambassadors for our brand in their day-to-day dealings within the triathlon community.”
Along with Rudy Project’s sponsorship platform of professional athletes and high-profile triathlon events, the company supports two key initiatives geared to reach a broad range of amateur athletes. For the 14th consecutive year, Rudy Project will serve as the Official Helmet and Eyewear of USAT, the sport’s governing body in the United States. The company also proudly supports the efforts of the Challenged Athletes Foundation as the non-profit organization’s Official Helmet and Eyewear Sponsor, another multi-year partnership. Rudy Project’s inroads in the sport were manifest at the 2013 GoPro®IRONMAN® World Championship where, for the third year running, the brand scored as the number one helmet worn by athletes racing on the Big Island. The company’s performance eyewear also earned kudos as the second most worn brand in Kona in 2013.
The design and development team at Rudy Project has risen to meet the demands of the discerning triathlon market with several new products engineered to optimize high performance. In addition to the recent debut of the Wing57™ helmet–wind-tunnel tested as the world’s most aerodynamic cycling helmet–a trio of new sunglasses touts the company’s advances in premium optics. The Airblast, a new sunglass for 2014 originally targeted to the shooting sports market due to its unobstructed field of view, is seeing significant traction among triathletes attuned to the benefits of the rimless mask design. The Agon™ is a 2014 update to the company’s tried and true competition eyewear, incorporating all-new Integrated Air Conditioning™ to combat lens fogging along with Rudy Project’s signature Adjustable Temple Tips and ErgoVI™ Adjustable Nosepiece for fit precision. Also new this year, the Proflow™ takes performance comfort to a new level with innovativeSuspended-Hinge Geometry™ temple design and Dorsal Stabilizers™ that provide enhanced fit and stability for virtually any head shape. Along with in-line technologically superior features, the majority of Rudy Project’s sunglass range is designed to accommodate Prescription Optics, providing performance Rx solutions to triathletes of every age.