Getting properly positioned on the bike through Specialized's Body Geometry Fit was one of the priorities on the agenda for the new riders on Tinkoff-Saxo at their training camp held on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. Dr. Andy Pruitt developed the bike fit process over the past 30 years and believes that it can significantly improve a rider’s comfort and performance.
Dr. Pruitt has worked with Bjarne Riis and the past versions of the Tinkoff-Saxo team since 2006. Each season, Body Geometry Fits are done on all of the new riders on the team, and on returning riders who have had injuries or new concerns about their current positions on the bike.
"Each time we go to a team camp we see about half of the riders," Dr. Pruitt said. "Most ProTour riders have succeeded genetically, not because they have had all the advantages along the way. When we first started doing bike fits with Saxo Bank six years ago, riders like the Schleck brothers, Stuart O'Grady, Jens Voigt and Fabian Cancellara had never had a bike fit, ever."
Dr. Pruitt said that the Body Geometry Fit is broken down into three phases and takes 90 minutes to complete. The first phase is a physical assessment to evaluate the rider's body. Next, Dr. Pruitt uses a computer program called the Retül to capture three dimensional images and numerical data about the rider's position.
"It measures all the joint angles, so if we made a one millimetre change to a cleat, your eye may not be able to see that change but the motion capture can show us that change numerically," he said.
"It's all about alignment … knee alignment, back alignment, and flexibility, dynamic loads and non-dynamic loads, and how we react on a bike," he said.
"Saddle choice is also a huge piece of Body Geometry Fit and how the pelvis is properly supported, so that the pelvis, lower back and legs work in concert. We look at the saddle height, and their fore-aft positions. We look at the reach and drop of the bars. And the last piece is what we call the V-plane, which is the hip, knee and foot alignment, where there is a lot of work done with the shoes. We try to maximize their shoe fit and cleat positions."
Lastly, Dr. Pruitt documents the bike fit and the changes that were made, and then re-tests the riders to make any final adjustments. "We go through the whole bike fit process again, and then retake the data to confirm that the changes that we made were actually doing what we wanted them to do."
To view the Tinkoff-Saxo's Body Geometry Fit session, please click here.
Kirsten Frattini has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level all the way to the World Cup. She is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. Kirsten has worked in both print and digital publishing. She started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006, and was responsible for reporting from the US and Canadian racing scene. Now as a Production Editor, she produces international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits global news and writes features.
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