While most of his rivals have already been racing hard and winning sprints, Australian Michael Matthews has yet to kick off his season with Team Sunweb, preferring instead to hone his position on his new Giant Trinity Advance Pro time trial bike and TCR road frame before heading off to South Africa for a training camp at altitude with teammate Tom Dumoulin.
Matthews made the switch after four straight years with the Australian Orica squad, which has been on Scott bicycles, to the Giant-sponsored Team Sunweb, and has taken great pains to perfect his position before starting the season.
Matthews first set up his position with a high-tech bike fit, then on the velodrome in Valencia, before heading to the wind tunnel at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands to tweak his position and try out a custom-made aerodynamic skinsuit by Etxeondo.
"We started by finding the most optimum physiological position on the TT bike by doing a bike fit - using sensor testing," explained Team Sunweb R&D expert Tom Davids. "We applied the data we've gained to find the best fit on the bike. Then we went to the track at Valencia to test the aerodynamics of the position by using our testing protocol to measure the frontal area of the rider.
"Next, we went to Delft University of Technology (Team Sunweb's innovation partner) into their advanced wind tunnel to look further into details and fine tune the rider's position with the team's experts and the professors of the University.
"In the case of Michael (Matthews), we tested his position using several different types of Giant helmets to find the best fit in terms of aerodynamics. Whilst in the wind tunnel we looked for confirmation of the information we found during the track tests and fine tuned in great detail his position, through a process of precision and millimeters.
"Further to that we tested Michael on his TCR road bike to collect data, which we will then apply in his training plan as well as selecting the optimal equipment in different race conditions."