The Deceuninck-QuickStep team ramped up their preparations for the 2020 season last week, with Remco Evenpoel, Bob Jungels and Yves Lampaert travelling to the USA for equipment testing at Specialized's headquarters.
The trio spent three days at the home of the Belgian team's long-standing bike sponsor in Morgan Hill, where they fine-tuned their riding positions in the US company's so-called 'Win Tunnel'.
The riders also had bike fits in the RETUL fit lab before a training ride and a conference with Specialized employees.
"It was very interesting and really nice to visit Specialized, as we learned a lot during our stay there. For me, it was a pleasure to meet all those people who work every single day so that we can enjoy the best bikes, shoes and helmets," said Evenepoel, who has already secured a place in the Belgian team for the time trial at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"When you talk about your experiences on the bike, you can feel that the people there really listen and are interested in what you’re telling them so they can work on their products. We can be happy to have a sponsor like Specialized."
Specialized have supplied bikes to Patrick Lefevere's team for the past eight years, and before that from 2007 to 2009.
Bob Jungels, who has been with the team since 2016 and won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne this year, said he was still making improvements as a result of the trip.
"I must say I didn’t expect to come home with the gains we had. I worked on honing my position on the bike, tested a few things, changed other things, and in the end, I am really content with what I found out. A small change can bring a lot of gain, and it was the case also now. I’m very glad we did this session of testing.”
Deceuninck-QuickStep coach, Koen Pelgrim, added: "As we were going to Morgan Hill with three time trial specialists with whom we already did multiple tests to optimize their TT position, we were of course hoping to find subtle improvements. To our surprise however, with the help of Specialized, we were able to make quite significant gains in the reduction of the aerodynamic drag of our riders.
"With these changes, we’ll be able to train during the upcoming winter period in already an optimized position, which makes us confident we can see very good performances again of our TT specialists in 2020.”
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a selection of images from the trip.