This year’s Tour de France will be the focus for BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM’s captain and former tour winner Vincenzo Nibali. As for all events, but perhaps particularly for a three-week long grand tour, preparation is everything. With the 2018 Tour de France route showing a few extra challenges, for example, the 15 cobblestone sections on stage 9 from Arras to Roubaix, there will also be a strong focus on the two time trials. Stage 3 will be a 35 km long team time trial followed by a 30 km long individual time trial near the end of the event at stage 20.
The importance of the time trials is undeniable and today’s ‘racing of the clock’ becomes more and more a battle of the equipment where every little improvement can provide a marginal gain and with that have an impact on the outcome of the event.
The BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM gathered the key people of the 2018 Tour de France team of riders, mechanics and engineers at the beginning of May for some in-depth testing in the velodrome in Montichiari as well as road test track (normally reserved for high-speed car testing) in Vairano.
The key focus of these tests is to determine the perfect aerodynamic positioning on the bike as well as to establish which affect certain components and setups can have.
One of the main projects for the test days was to fine-tune the setup of the new MERIDA / Vision TT bar configuration.
Head of Product at MERIDA Jürgen Falke comments, ‘During the TT test activities at the velodrome of Montichiari, the team’s WARP TT-bikes were updated with a new TT-cockpit.
The METRON TT cockpit was designed by MERIDA’s engineers and manufactured at VISION/FSA. It is a one-piece, full-carbon construction with improved cross-sections for aerodynamic gain, a more ergonomic shape of the drops and full-integrated brake-cable and Di2 wire routing towards the frame.
Furthermore, it shows a significant weight saving over the current, 2-piece cockpit which has a CNC machined aluminium stem and a standard carbon TT-bar.
The new cockpit builds a bridge between the well-known MERIDA WARP TT-bikes which have been in use for the last five years and the next generation of MERIDA TT-machines which we are aiming to introduce at the upcoming Tour de France…watch this space.’
After two days of testing, team riders and engineers were hugely satisfied with the new equipment and the fine-tuning that will make the BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM train a force to be reckoned with.
Director of Sports Marketing Andreas Rottler summarised, ‘At an event like the Tour de France, where every team brings their A-game you have to look into every little detail of your planning, your material choice and your setup to give your riders the best possible chance to be at the top of their game. And luckily this session has been another small step towards going into the Tour as one of the contending teams with a strong captain in Vincenzo Nibali at the helm’.