How Remco Evenepoel changed his TT position before crushing the Algarve TT

Position tweaks from a day in Specialized's wind tunnel pay dividends in Algarve.

Remco Evenepoel dominated the Volta ao Algarve time trial to move into the overall lead at the Portuguese stage race using a new position on his Specialized Shiv TT. Last fall, Evenepoel visited the United States with team sponsor Specialized, where he participated in the Belgian Waffle Ride Kansas and then spent a full day in the wind tunnel at Specialized’s campus in Morgan Hill, California.

Both the team and Specialized have been somewhat guarded in the specific changes, but Evenepoel ended up with shorter cranks and elevated extensions on his Shiv TT cockpit.

In addition to the aerodynamic studies in the ‘Win Tunnel’, Specialized also offers the full Retül suite of fit products, which range from 3D data capture to flexibility testing to power measurement. For Evenepoel, Specialized also had metabolic testing done in the wind tunnel.

“Retül has worked with Remco ever since he was a junior rider to help optimize his position,” said Scott Jackson of Specialized Racing, the wing of the bike brand that liaises with pro teams. “Being such a young rider there are changes as his body matures and the racing and training shape him and make him more powerful.”

The most notable visual change was the elevation of his aero extensions, compared to the position he raced at the 2021 world championships. (Riders often want to get as low as possible, instinctively, but wind tunnels can give hard data to guide riders to the positions that are actually the fastest and most powerful.)

It has also been reported that his cranks are shorter than before. Pro triathletes often run short cranks to keep their knee and hip angles in the desired ranges while still getting a relatively low torso angle.

Evenepoel’s saddle is also slammed all the way forward. Shorter cranks plus a forward saddle would almost certainly result in a slightly higher saddle.

“In the Win Tunnel this year, Remco came in with a few thoughts on evolving his TT position,” Jackson said. “As he’s grown he felt together we could find even more speed. We spent an entire day adjusting his equipment, his bike, and his position. With Retül fit and metabolic testing on site, we can ensure any position or equipment changes aren’t reducing his ability to produce power.  The really cool thing about Remco is how open he is. Having such a long history of success together has developed real trust that allows us to try new things in a really open and exciting pursuit of performance. This year adjustments included crank length, saddle height, and handlebar position, but the exact changes and evolution of the position are Remco’s story to share – not ours!”

Our colleague Ronan McLaughlin at CyclingTips noted that Evenepoel was able to average 392w for just under 38 minutes, according to his Strava file, where his power data was briefly public before he hid it. (Strava allows users to make power and heart rate data public or private while still keeping the overall file public.) If Evenepoel weighs 134lb, that would put his power at an enormous 6.4w/kg for the effort.