Defending World Team Time Trial Champions Omega Pharma-Quick-Step ran a testing day in Zolder with Specialized in preparation for the September 22 event in Florence.
Sylvain Chavanel, Peter Velits, Michal Kwiatkowski, Julien Vermote, Kristof Vandewalle, and Niki Terpstra took part in the session with Tom Boonen also visiting. Individual Time Trial World Champion Tony Martin was not present as the German was preparing for the upcoming Vuelta a Espana.
"The idea was to understand a little bit better some mechanisms that usually happen during the team time trial," said Simone Toccafondi, head of the Specialized Road Racing Division. "We collected information with our data acquisition systems that was positioned on each rider's bike. We believe we've collected interesting and important data that will be analyzed and discussed with the team. We want to see what we learned and what can be used in future references."
In 2012, Omega Pharma-Quick-Step beat BMC into second place with Orica-GreenEdge finishing in third.
Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag said that the results of the TTT at the Tour de France, where the team was runner-up to Orica GreenEdge,a was the perfect illustration as to why such an exercise was required with just three seconds separating the top-three placings.
"The goal was to collect data and practice technique inside the team and really to learn for the future," he explained. "For example, what is the proper length for an individual lead, what is the right order for the team, and how do we really approach corners and accelerate out of them. That is like three massive things that make a difference in a TTT. They all will play an important role in the UCI World TTT Championship in Florence, where we will definitely try to defend our world title. That means we have to focus on it.
"You can win or lose it in two corners," he continued. "So, that is why it is important to work closely with our partners such as SRAM and Zipp, as well as Vermarc for our TTT clothing, to even improve the performance of last year."
Belgian time trial Champion, Kristof Vandewalle who will also take part in the individual event for his country, believed that the day was evidence of how seriously the team was treating its title defence.
"It shows there is a great team effort for the TTT, to be present in testing like this and really take a close look at all the important moments of a course," he said. "I think it also shows a commitment by the riders to practice together and get into the rhythm so we can best defend our UCI World TTT Championship. We are a strong group as individuals, but we want to make sure we work great together as teammates. We have to be in perfect sync all the way to the finish line, and I think testing like this will guide us in that direction."
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