To get a perfect result, it does not suffice, however, to trim everything to maximum comfort. As with so many things, it is rather about finding the right balance. “If we put too much emphasis on the dampening, the rider needs too much power to keep his speed up on the cobblestones”, says Daniel Schade. Too little dampening in turn leads to harsher concussions and nervous riding characteristics of the bike: “In this case, the rider has to put a lot of energy into stabilizing the system.” Of course, one rider’s set-up cannot be transferred to another rider just like that. “There is a personal optimum between dampening and application of power for every athlete”, explains Schade. Decisive are among other things factors like riding style, distribution of power or posture at the handlebars.
The brute effects of speeding over cobblestones are even enhanced when muscles become increasingly tired during the race. The sports scientist knows exactly what this means:
“If you only save a few watts on Paterberg or in the woods of Arenberg thanks to the right set-up, they can be extremely important on the final kilometers leading to Oudenaare or Roubaix.”
Now we can only wait and see with excitement how much power John Degenkolb and team mate Jasper Stuyven will save with the elaborate cobblestone formula. On the merciless bumpy roads of Flanders and the North of France.