Shimano’s Bert Roesems is the go-to man for finding out about technology from the team’s drivetrain supplier.
“I’ve been working with the Deceuninck – Quick-Step guys since they made their move to Shimano in 2016 but I’ve known the backroom staff for many years. I used to race with a few of them during my racing career (ed - Bert hung up his racing wheels in 2009 and stepped into his role at Shimano soon afterwards) and having that longstanding relationship is a great help. These days I’m mostly in touch with Ricardo Scheidecker, Nicolas Coosemans and Alessandro Tegner.
“Basically, I’m on hand to explain how to use our products and to get feedback for product development. That ranges from relatively simple products such as pedals – and even then, we have options with longer axles, different cleat floats and adjustable spring tension – to more advanced products such as Di2 components, power meters and disc brakes.
“These items need a good understanding to get the maximum from them so we are regularly in touch with the performance team and mechanic team to arrange training sessions.
“This year we’re seeing the full team using Shimano’s Dura-Ace FC-R9100P power meters. This uses Bluetooth LE and ANT+ to transmit Power, Pedal smoothness, Torque effectiveness, Left/right power balance, Cadence and Battery level information so we need to make sure the performance team and the riders understand how to make full use of these features.
“We also offer the team Synchro Shift drivetrain options and Disc brake options for both Road bikes and TT bikes, plus PRO handlebars and stems with integrated cable routing, so we advise the mechanics about the best way to set these features up and why they help improve performance.
“Feedback and development are also important. We supply the team because we want our products tested and proved at the highest level. When a product works seamlessly for a pro rider, we know it’s going to be great for consumers too. Not only do we get to learn how the mechanics are using the products but we also learn about the way riders appreciate certain technologies, what their preferences are in setting up their bikes, and what they would like to have for the future. For example, we know that Evenepoel favours an unusually narrow PRO Vibe 38cm bar, which at a very basic level, gives us feedback about trends or stock levels we need. Of course, there’s much more the team are helping us to develop but I can’t say any more about that at the moment.
“During the off-season I tend to see the team at their Calpe training camps or their Wevelgem service course to give updates on stock delivery and take order information. Then during the season I’ll see the team at as many races as I can get to (ed – Bert clocks up an impressive tally of hotel nights per year). I like to call in to check that everything is running smoothly, which of course it usually is.
“For sure the season has taken a different trajectory to usual and gives us some new challenges to negotiate but I’m looking forward to seeing the team as soon as the racing calendar restarts.”
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