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Though the Colombian’s 2022 racing calendar is not yet finalized, anticipation is growing that he will return to the Tour next year and square off against the two-time defending champion in what would be a thrilling battle for the yellow jersey.
With one eye on the 2022 calendar, the Colombian recently visited the facilities of gebioMized, a lab based in Münster, Germany, to undergo a series of tests and training sessions with technicians from HyCys on a velodrome in Büttgen to hone his time trial position.
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According to officials, some of the techniques used included saddle pressure mapping, high-speed video analysis, body sensors, and CdA measurements.
“The development of the aero position is a very intense process consisting of many steps. That’s why we used our complete range of measurement technology,” said gebioMized bike fitter and managing director Daniel Schade in a release. “From a bio-mechanical and aerodynamic point of view, we have made huge progress.”
Bernal started working with the German bike fitters in 2018, and the facility played a key role in his recovery from a back injury in 2020, when he abandoned the Tour in pain. The work there helped him bounce back and win the 2021 Giro d’Italia.
Ineos Grenadiers teammate Dylan van Baarle, world road race silver medalist in 2021, also visited the facilities and put a special focus on shoe-fitting and power transfer.
“To do this, we optimized his position at the saddle contact point, for example, and improved his weight distribution on the bike,” Schade said. “It’s not just about mere power, we also increased stability and comfort in the shoe.”
How did Bernal improve? According to Schade, stability, comfort and aerodynamics were enhanced, key elements for better performance on the road.
“But, of course, we won’t reveal the details,” Schade said of the team’s trade secrets.
Will it give Bernal an edge against Pogačar and his other rivals? The road will say next season.