Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team continues to work closely with partner Specialized in order to optimize time trial bike position for team riders. OPQS visited the velodrome of Valencia last week to participate in further testing.
“Last month we had testing in the Specialized wind tunnel at Morgan Hill,” OPQS Sport & Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. “On the track, it’s a little bit different of a scenario. It’s still all about positioning for the time trial bikes, but a different environment. With Specialized we had a structured plan for these guys in mid-November, and now we’re back on the track to confirm what we had seen in the wind tunnel. It’s always a learning process. You can never say you are done and we don’t have to do this anymore. There is always something more to improve on and work with.“
Aldag said the testing is crucial to optimize each rider’s physical performance.
“It’s not only comfort, but the ability to use all of your physical performance while also trying to be aerodynamic,” Aldag said. “For example, we talked about hip angles. If you close the angle too much, the muscles won’t really perform. Details like that make it really interesting because you have to find a way to make each rider super fast, but also put them into a position that is ridable. Sometimes one makes the other impossible. This is where we need a lot of expertise and to learn, you need the kind of support we get from Specialized and its Body Geometry Fit experience.”
All OPQS riders who participated learned something new about their individual needs.
“It’s a lot of work for small gains, but it’s definitely worth it to do these kinds of tests,” Aldag said. “Especially when you do it for the guys who have never been tested, and we had participants who hadn’t. But it’s also important for guys like Cavendish. He’s been on the track before and tested on aerodynamics, but you still can work on the details and try to understand where you can lower some drag and get some better numbers for him. Some of these guys it’s as simple as them not being flexible enough to get more aerodynamic. But we can train that, so it is better to find that out now, find their limitations, and train where their needs are so we can come back and find a more aerodynamic position for them in the future. “
Aldag said the success of the team in the time trial specialty— such as OPQS being a two-time UCI World Team Time Trial Champion — is a testament to the team’s dedication as well as the hard work of Specialized.
“In 2012 we won by about three seconds in the UCI TTT Championship,” Aldag said. “In 2013 the difference was less than a second. So, with those fractions of time differences, we can be happy this kind of stuff is done. We don’t have to do all of this hard work on our own and start from scratch with our riders in the time trial. We have experienced people to help us and it really helps give us a bit of an edge.”
All photos: EmilyMaye-OPQS-Velo.