Spanish media outlet Marca reports that Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) as been undergoing a series of technical tests to improve his power output and aerodynamics in view of the 2006 season, where one of his major goals will be the Tour de France. Team mate Vladimir Karpets joined the Spaniard at the Pinarello factory in Italy for a thorough study of their position and pedalling efficiency.
As it turned out, Valverde could improve his power transfer by fixing his cleats a little more to the back of his cycling shoes. "Before, the rotary mouvement of his ankle was blocked, as there was no angle," Italian biomechanic Alessandro Mariano explained. "Now, thanks to this small change, has an angle of 30 percent." However, a modification to the height of Valverde's seat did not bring about the desired effect. "This high, I won't be able to increase my cadence," Valverde said after the saddle had been uppered, and the subsequent computer data proved him right.
Further tests on a time trial bike revealed that the handlebars, as well as the seat could also be lowered by five millimetres in order to improve the 24 year-old's efficiency.