In an effort to improve their general classification efforts, riders from the Holowesko-Citadel team followed up their recent spring camp with a stop at the A2 wind tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina.
The full-scale wind tunnel was purpose-built for NASCAR in 2006, but cyclists have been taking advantage of its services as well. With many of his riders in South Carolina for recent team training camp, Holowesko-Citadel director Thomas Craven decided to schedule some time for his riders.
"We've got some of the best equipment out there with Felt DA Series frames, Osymetric USA rings and the new Giro helmets," Craven said. "And we've sort of built ourselves on these stage finishes and being aggressive, so I think the natural progression is to finish the stages off and start winning stage races. A big part of all these stage races is the time trial. One thing I've done during the time off from last year to this year is strengthen the time trailing skills as well as the time trialists themeslves."
An increased focus on time trialing skills might sound odd coming from the director of the US team time trial national champions, but Craven said the focus now will be on individual efforts. To that end, Craven has also brought on board former Team Sky, BMC and Tinkoff coach Bobby Julich to consult with some of his riders.
"In the team thing we're great," he said. "We did pretty well in Alberta. We were the first Continental team, and it was a good for us, but I think to be more competitive in the individual time trials is something we've never really worked on."
Holowesko's Jon Hornbek, in an entry on his personal blog, said he jumped at the chance to spend some time in the wind tunnel.
"The time trial discipline is the one area where you can basically 'buy time' unlike other areas in cycling, and this is where you see people with best bikes, top of the line wheels, the newest aero helmets and so on," Hornbeck wrote. "That all goes only so far though; if your bike fit on your bike is off and you’re not in the best position possible, you are just giving up time right there. I haven’t had the chance to do much work with my position—it’s more or less UCI legal and I race it as is. That sort of thinking works on the road bike, but on a TT rig it doesn’t always end up with the best results."
Hornbeck said his two-hour session in the wind tunnel led to changing almost everything about his TT set up, from head position, to saddle height to raised bars pads moved inward.
"My blank canvas was more or less a blank sail; the changes made resulted in a 10 percent improvement. That’s massive and now I’m actually really looking forward to getting to the races, and testing out my new position in a time trial."