It may be the dreary off-season, but teams are already hard at work for next season. Omega Pharma-Quick Step, for one, is working on time trial form and function with bike sponsor Specialized.
Omega riders visited the velodrome in Valencia last week for further testing.
“Last month we had testing in the Specialized wind tunnel at Morgan Hill,” OPQS sport and 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.“
As a team, it’s not like Omega has much to concern itself with: For the second consecutive year it won a world title in the team time trial and the Belgian team also boasts three-time individual champion Tony Martin, who has become the peloton’s rider of reference against the clock.
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.”
Aldag said the success of the team in the time trial 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.”