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Gallery: Drapac get fitted to new equipment

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A recent back injury was a key topic of discussion for Wes Sulzberger and Ken Ballhause

A recent back injury was a key topic of discussion for Wes Sulzberger and Ken Ballhause
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Bernard Sulzberger gets a feel for his new set-up

Bernard Sulzberger gets a feel for his new set-up
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Bernard Sulzberger demonstrates a basic plank - this demonstrates a rider’s core strength and areas of weakness

Bernard Sulzberger demonstrates a basic plank - this demonstrates a rider’s core strength and areas of weakness
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Hucker's hips are checked to ensure he's square

Hucker's hips are checked to ensure he's square
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Small adjustments are made to the cleat position

Small adjustments are made to the cleat position
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Hucker's cleats are double checked tightened

Hucker's cleats are double checked tightened
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Now fully comfortable, Hucker begins to ramp up his effort

Now fully comfortable, Hucker begins to ramp up his effort
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Darren Lapthorne demonstrates a forward plank

Darren Lapthorne demonstrates a forward plank
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Darren Lapthorne runs through the neural tests - they demonstrate the state of the sciatic nerve and can determine saddle position and type

Darren Lapthorne runs through the neural tests - they demonstrate the state of the sciatic nerve and can determine saddle position and type
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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A long-time member of the Drapac squad, the 2014 equipment list results in a big change for Lapthorne

A long-time member of the Drapac squad, the 2014 equipment list results in a big change for Lapthorne
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Ken Ballhause checks the difference between handlebar and saddle height on Lachie Norris' rig

Ken Ballhause checks the difference between handlebar and saddle height on Lachie Norris' rig
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Ballhause determines the cleat position for Malcolm Rudolph's Bont Vaypor+ shoes

Ballhause determines the cleat position for Malcolm Rudolph's Bont Vaypor+ shoes
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Rudolph moves into a side plank - his time in the gym was evident

Rudolph moves into a side plank - his time in the gym was evident
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Malcolm Rudolph's flexibility was on show

Malcolm Rudolph's flexibility was on show
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Ballhause makes some minor adjustments to Malcolm Rudolph's cleat position

Ballhause makes some minor adjustments to Malcolm Rudolph's cleat position
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Ken Ballhause makes some small adjustments to accommodate Hucker's cleat position

Ken Ballhause makes some small adjustments to accommodate Hucker's cleat position
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Hucker's cleat position is reviewed

Hucker's cleat position is reviewed
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Ken Ballhause inspects Hucker's initial set up

Ken Ballhause inspects Hucker's initial set up
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Meanwhile - mechanic, Dennis Kreder gets to work on one of the training bikes

Meanwhile - mechanic, Dennis Kreder gets to work on one of the training bikes
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Bike fit technician Ken Ballhause inspects Wouter Wippert's initial bike set up

Bike fit technician Ken Ballhause inspects Wouter Wippert's initial bike set up
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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With anatomical landmarks highlighted on Wippert's body, he is filmed as he builds up to a peak effort

With anatomical landmarks highlighted on Wippert's body, he is filmed as he builds up to a peak effort
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Just like all the other riders, Wippert's effort is recorded for analysis

Just like all the other riders, Wippert's effort is recorded for analysis
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Fizik saddles are fitted to Drapac Pro Cycling's SwiftCarbon Ultravox frames.and saddle heights are adjusted to previous requirements

Fizik saddles are fitted to Drapac Pro Cycling's SwiftCarbon Ultravox frames.and saddle heights are adjusted to previous requirements
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Ken Ballhause checks the angle of Robbie Hucker's saddle

Ken Ballhause checks the angle of Robbie Hucker's saddle
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Saddle height is double checked

Saddle height is double checked
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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While significant technological advances have been made in bike fit, some tools remain rudimentary

While significant technological advances have been made in bike fit, some tools remain rudimentary
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Each athlete's data is captured and plugged in

Each athlete's data is captured and plugged in
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Key points are marked on Hucker's Bont shoes

Key points are marked on Hucker's Bont shoes
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Robbie Hucker executes a basic plank to demonstrate core strength

Robbie Hucker executes a basic plank to demonstrate core strength
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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Hucker moves into a side plank - similar to the basic plank, the side plank is an exaggerated test of hip and core stability

Hucker moves into a side plank - similar to the basic plank, the side plank is an exaggerated test of hip and core stability
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)
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One legged squats demonstrate overall stability

One legged squats demonstrate overall stability
(Image credit: Drapac Professional Cycling)

Drapac Professional Cycling recently received a Professional Continental license for 2014 and will make its WorldTour debut at the Tour Down Under. The move to Pro Conti comes with several new sponsors and the associated challenges with moving riders onto the new equipment.

Drapac gave BikeRadar access to the team's initial bike fitting session, a long but important process in order to prevent injury and get the best from the riders come race day. The move to Swift Cycling frames, Bont Shoes, Fi'zi:k saddles and Speedplay pedals is a significant change for all, and for some riders it's the first major equipment change in nearly seven years.

Bike fitting expert and Clinical Myotherapist, Ken Ballhause, spoke about the processes each rider went through.

"These sessions were to establish a baseline for the riders, for the most part we were mimicking the riders' previous setups and ensuring they were comfortable. We took video analysis, with this we will be able to make future improvements and recommendations at the next training camp."

The sessions catered for a dizzying number of factors – with rider flexibility, core strength, structural fitness and previous injury all affecting the outcome. Ballhause spoke about strength and conditioning.

"I believe it's equally important as the bike fit itself, we test the riders to diagnose areas of weakness and from there I can provide strengthening exercises which has huge potential."

A change to new saddles, shoes and pedals represents challenges for many riders. As Ballhaue said: "For me the saddle represents the largest challenge, it has huge effect on the riders' baseline measurements, luckily many riders were coming from Fi'zi:k saddles. For the riders, it's always the shoes, they immediately notice the change in fit and feel."

The potential effects of a saddle change was seen with Wes Sulzberger who had crashed a few days prior to the fitting and was complaining of lower back pain. Ballhause attributed this to being a neurological issue from lumbar flexion and the perceived pain was effected by a change in pelvic tilt. A basic tweak in saddle angle or a different model would solve Wes' short-term acute pain immediately.

Click on through to the photo gallery for a glimpse of what happens when a team begins a season with new equipment, in this case, riders getting fitted to their 2014 training bikes.